Your print business has two kinds of challenges: the challenge of getting jobs out the door (tactical) and the business of continuing to strategically evolve so you maintain relevance and competitive advantage in the marketplace.
This article is a part of a series looking at production inkjet solutions leading up to and through drupa 2020. We will look at what’s new, how it’s being used, and how it’s transforming print service providers. In this article, we go to the front lines and we take a look at Mercury Printing of Rochester, N.Y., a perfect example of a digital technology and business transformation. And for all the right reasons…
The topic of technical textiles can be a bit geeky. But there are always new and interesting developments in this area. Take P&G’s new smart diapers, or the protective lava suit for geologists from the University of Missouri working in volcanic areas, for example. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne digs into these topics and more.
In June, overall printing employment grew +0.5% from May to June 2019. On a year-over-year basis, it is down -2.5%. Production employment was up +0.4% from May to June, but year-over-year was down -4.9%. Non-production employment was up +0.7% from May to June, and year-over-year was up +2.6%.
Chase replaces its copywriters with AI. What to wear when immersed in molten rock. “If only there were a way to determine when a diaper needed changing...” Look cool being cool. Creating organ models from maps of Zürich, for some reason. Sending messages via geomapping. The dictionary explains “fursona,” upsettingly. The stone carver job market heats up. New books for language nerds. “We will start boarding as soon as the plane has rebooted.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
TransPromo—bicapitalized with a T and P to emphasize the link between transactional and promotional communications—is experiencing a resurgence. Consumer-facing communicators are using TransPromo techniques in their printed and digital communications. This article explores why TransPromo is re-emerging as a talk track.
SAi’s new VirtualSign is an augmented reality (AR) app that lets signmakers show clients how a sign will look in situ before it is printed and installed. We spoke wth SAi’s Gudrun Bonte, Vice President of Product Management, who oversaw the development of the app.
We have been hearing for a while that 24% of Americans in rural areas still have no access to broadband, making print critical for marketers looking to reach those areas. This isn’t just a small pocket here and there. There are entire communities, even cities, without broadband access, where only traditional channels like print can reach.
Idealliance CEO Timothy Baechle identifies the five most critical issues that brands face today in terms of their global packaging and printing supply chain: finding qualified vendors, effective communication, evaluation, validation, and the need to never stop learning. This article looks at those five issues and how mastering them can help build an unbreakable supply chain.
In part 7 of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she puts together a print sample kit for a specific vertical market: banks. If you or your sales reps are trying to sell your services to a bank, what kinds of items should you include in your Bank Marketing Sample Kit?
Lectra offers solutions that give fashion, automotive, and furniture companies the means to embark on the Industry 4.0 journey. Its recent acquisition of data company Retviews is another arrow in the company’s quiver. We spoke with Maximilien Abadie, Chief Strategy Officer for Lectra, to learn more.
in 2016, there were 3,638 establishments in NAICS 3222 (Converted Paper Product Manufacturing). More than four out of 10 of these establishments (42%) have 50 or more employees and two-thirds (65%) have 20 or more employees.
Disney’s “Escape from the Haunted Mansion” papercraft. Tattoos that function as medical diagnostics. Etsy buys musical marketplace. What technology will be obsolete in your lifetime? Is the world’s steepest road really the steepest in the world? What is it with these cat filters? A long, but well-worth-it Twitter thread about slugs in Medieval manuscript illumination. Spend a night in the Wienermobile...if you dare. “Disruption has come for toilet paper.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Many businesses believe they’ve made the digital transformation, yet market shares of digitally printed pages are only in single digits. This article explores the disconnect between perceptions and reality in our industry’s digital transformation, and also discusses what must be done to help close this gap.
Automation for wide-format printing can encompass a lot of different processes, from automatic file processing, to robotics, even to database management. Where once wide format was deemed too “artisanal” or “craft-like” to be automated, the times are changing. After all, as competition in the wide-format segment continues to heat up, automation becomes a key element in controlling costs. We’ll take a look at the current state of automation for wide-format printing.
Whether it’s a print business or any other type of business (such as your customers’ businesses), retaining customers is critical. But knowing how important it is and being able to develop and execute an effective strategy are two different things. Here are five tips you can use to guide your customer retention strategy, as well as your customers’.
Learning is the most important part of software procurement decisions. The vendor needs to learn about you (to assess if you are a good fit for their solution) and you need to learn about the vendor. An RFP doesn’t facilitate any learning.
Production inkjet solutions are proliferating at an ever-increasing rate. The quality of many of the solutions has finally reached that of offset, and the productivity has surpassed that of toner. There are also a lot more options and opportunities. Perhaps it is time to step back and take stock of where we are and where things could be going?
As part of our coverage of textiles and apparel, we look for interesting developments, both in the more conventional textiles and apparel market as it transitions to a more digital approach, as well as developments in technical textiles. In this article, we present the work being done at the MIT Media Lab to use knitting to embed conductive fibers in fabric in order to add functionality.
Starbucks stops selling newspapers. Pearson switches to etextbooks. All about the semicolon. Coder Margaret Hamilton saved the Apollo 11 mission. The inventor of the computer password is ******. What is TikTok? IBM patents a smartwatch that unfolds into a tablet. Whatever happened to all those Bob Ross paintings? F. Scott Fitzgerald and “cocktail” as a verb. Heavy metal knitting. Twinkies for Breakfast. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
There are lessons that PSPs can learn in watching how the general public interacts with video games—a roughly $140 billion dollar industry that exists simply because people like to have fun. By bringing elements of game design into their companies and products, PSPs can create better, stronger training practices for their employees while also developing more engaging versions of their products. All of this can be accomplished through a process called gamification.
Do you use your monthly profit and loss (P&L) statement to its fullest? Although few do more with it than quickly glance at—and perhaps lament—the bottom line, the P&L can offer valuable information about how your business is performing. In this latest installment of his Pricing series, Robert Lindgren explains how.
Last week, I posted a list of links to neuroscience studies showing the power of print over digital in many areas, including content retention, recall, and willingness to buy. One of those resources contains a reference to a 2015 study that is often overlooked. The study looks not just at print vs. digital, but the weight of the paper, as well. If you are not familiar with this study, you should be.
A learning event vs. a selling event—that is the event the print industry needs. An event where you go to solve your challenges through active collaboration, open-minded because nobody is trying to sell you anything.
Cary Sherburne talks with Thayer Long, the current president of the Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech), about the evolution of APTech, the upcoming PRINT 19 show, and a look ahead to the new Brand Print Americas 2020, the result of a strategic alliance with the Tarsus Group, owner and organizer of Labelexpo and Brand Print Global Series, which will replace PRINT 2020.
The impression is dead—long live the impression! Long live printing that is integrated alongside other communication channels. This is the way forward and to get it right, you need to make two changes: throw away the old baggage you’ve carried for so long and embrace a change of mentality. You must swap the old habits of traditional printing for digital ones!
In the textiles and apparel industry, color management has historically been a given. Now with the introduction of digital textile printing into the mix, new color management challenges have arisen. In this article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne takes a look at the current state of color management in the textiles and apparel industry, and where it goes from here.
The MIT Media Lab develops knitted sensors. Microsoft discontinues its ebooks—and erases everyone’s libraries. Venice and the dawn of book publishing. Most of product searches on Amazon are brand-free. Sea-level rise may adversely affect the Internet. An AR application to identify street artists. Working for the [Robot] Man. Use AI to keep your prey-toting pet out of the house. Levitating turntables. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Sales objections can be daunting for even the most seasoned salespeople, creating a feeling of disapproval or opposition. Objections can come in many forms. This article explores how all salespeople, regardless of experience or tenure, can properly prepare for them.
You know how it is: You’re looking to fill a position in your company. You find a prospect who has a great resume and interviews like a pro. They know the job and have the requisite experience, so you hire them, only to find their actual job performance lacking. What happened? Chances are, you only evaluated basic technical qualifications rather than behavioral traits that could determine if that employee was a good for for your company. In this article, Wayne Lynn explains why you should look beyond the resume.
Internal communication deserves better tools than email. Real collaboration happens best when more, not fewer, people are involved. Taking internal communication out of email reduces the cognitive overhead of deciding whom to communicate with.
Print and digital communications both have their strengths, but when it comes to comprehension and recall, studies consistently show that information communicated in print is more deeply embedded, recalled with more detail, and creates a more powerful emotional engagement than digital. Here is a compiled list of links on studies on the neuroscience of print, or how our brains respond to print vs. digital communications, listed in chronological order of publication.
Benny Landa first introduced the concept of “Nanography” at drupa 2012. There was a reaffirmation of the introduction at drupa 2016, and since then, lots of quiet. It turns out the quiet was self-imposed, and in the interim Landa has been very busy building an organization and shipping presses.
Digital technologies, innovation and sustainability were key elements that drew a great deal of attention at the recent ITMA 2019 show in Barcelona. In this second ITMA article, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne highlights some of the advances she noticed during the show. This just scratches the surface of ITMA announcements but provides a feel for the speed with which the industry is adopting digital technologies that affect the entire supply chain.
Industry profits data came out earlier this month, and overall profits slipped a little. Annualized profits for Q1 2019 were $3.58 billion, down slightly from $3.66 billion in Q4 of last year. Again, it’s the large printers that are dragging down overall industry profitability.
Mary Meeker Slide Roulette. Brands harness online outrage. How can an Albany antiquarian bookstore outlast its owner? Core77 roasts bad industrial design. Fake businesses on Google Maps. Celebrating the original six ENIAC programmers—women all. Country Time is on your side. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
During LIGNA 2019, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends caught up with José Luis Ramón Moreno of EFI and Olaf Rohrbeck of Bürkle/LIGNA to learn more about the recently announced partnership between EFI and Robert Bürkle GmbH. This article provides a transcription of the interview.
To help vehicle wrap installers better help customers with color change vehicle wraps, Avery Dennison has launched an online Car Wrap Visualizer that shows how a particular vinyl film color looks on a representative sample of vehicle types. We spoke with Avery Dennison’s Abby Monnot, who helped develop the tool.
How are small businesses implementing multichannel marketing? What role does direct mail play in those strategies? Taradel decided to find out. This article takes a look at some key findings and takeaways.
Your print sales team has to evolve to understand and be able to sell the value of the software that enables print demand from business processes. Every printer should have a direct revenue line for their software.
Esko held its 28th EskoWorld in Nashville with an audience of over 550 attendees. Since its inception, this has been a go-to event for those in packaging production and signage, although the audience is now growing with about 25% of which were brand owners. This plays nicely into the theme “Packaging Connected.”
ITMA 2019 Textile and Garment Technology Exhibition, the world’s largest trade fair for the textiles industry, is taking place in Barcelona from June 20 to 26. For our printing industry readers, this is like the drupa of textiles. Here are some of the highlights from the show, with a focus on how companies are addressing the growing need for an ecosystem approach to digital textile printing.
Mary Meeker Slide Roulette. 3D Fashion Editor. An app-controlled animatronic tail. A N.H. highway historical marker commemorates the creation of BASIC. Note to press briefers: turn off the kitten filter. The USPS combats postal box fishing. A look at Laurence Sterne’s classic “Tristram Shandy.” Who wouldn’t want a Marie Curie birthday cake? Internet-transmitting lights. Crocheted body parts. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
The buying criteria within the printing industry are no different than any other—they come down to quality, service, and price. This article provides a brief overview of these three key buying criteria and explores how print service providers can shift away from a commodity conversation while still respecting customers’ inherent preferences.
Long an industry trendsetter, North Carolina-based ImageMark recently announced the addition of promotional products to its portfolio of offerings in order to increase its value to customers as a one-stop shop for everything marketing. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with CEO Walter Payne to find out what drove this decision.
Research from Pebble Post/Murphy Research finds that direct mail shoppers are highly engaged and spend, research, and evangelize more than non-direct mail shoppers. What’s behind this behavior? A look at the data from Pebble Post, as well as others.
The level of trust you have in the data in your Print MIS impacts all aspects of your business. When printers get their Print MIS to be “trustworthy,” they can move a whole lot faster, with less labor costs, and be more responsive to the never-ending request for more data from all stakeholders in your business.
What’s in a name? Does the term “wide format” mean anything to today’s print buyers? Avoiding industry jargon in sales and marketing efforts—and especially in one’s online presence—can help attract potential customers who may not be hip to our jive.
Once again, market research firm SmithersPira hosted Digital Print Week, with two conferences back to back: Digital Print for Packaging U.S. and Digital Textile Printing U.S. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne attended both sessions. The WhatTheyThink team also captured some great video content during the conferences, which will be run on the site over the next few weeks.
Data nerds rejoice: Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report is out. The Japanese art of kirie. Robotaxies to take flight. Barnes & Noble sold to a hedge fund. Fujifilm resumes making black-and-white film. Light up your brain, ostensibly. “The queen of eating shellfish online.” A Stephen Hawking-esque voice synthesizer performs “Ice Ice Baby.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
New technologies, new equipment, and new applications can play havoc with traditional pricing. In the third installment of his series on pricing, Robert Lindgren looks at how to price new capabilities such as digital printing and VDP, wide-format printing on unique substrates, and more.
As part of its coverage of the customer communications market, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducts annual research of enterprises and consumers. This article provides a brief overview of recent survey findings and also highlights the data points that will be uncovered in upcoming research.
In concert with Pebble Post, Murphy Research released a study that puts data to what we intuitively know but can’t always document: that direct mail drives purchase consideration and plays a central role in the path to purchase. These are good numbers to have!
Idealliance’s Ron Ellis and Tim Baechle provide an update on the Print Properties and Colorimetric Council (PPC), a global think tank in which the top color scientists, consultants, OEMs, brands, service providers, creatives, educators, and global innovators that develops standards, specifications, datasets, profiles, targets, research, and the globally leading practices in order to propel the industry forward.
Adobe, Datacolor, and Color Solutions International (CSI), have teamed up to continue the enhancement of Adobe Textile Designer for Photoshop by making it easier for designers to seamlessly capture inspiration colors, sending them directly into Photoshop. Adobe’s Mike Scrutton explains the details.
David Zwang reports from Interact 2019, Ricoh’s annual customer event comprising nearly 60 sessions which covered a wide range of topics, both high-level and highly detailed. It also provided an opportunity to meet some of the new Ricoh leadership team.
What does it take to be successful as the leader of a business? It’s not enough just to be qualified to do the job. Are you behaviorally suited? Do you have the strong key traits that distinguish high-performing CEOs from everyone else? Determining how you stack up against the “best and the brightest” can identify areas in which improving yourself can help improve your business. Wayne Lynn of Lynn Consulting explains how.
FESPA 2019 in Munich was, by all accounts, its most successful show yet. The WhatTheyThink team walked all six halls, attended lots of press events, and did video interviews with a number of exhibitors that will be running over the next few weeks. Here are our key takeaways from the show.
Quantifying fashion’s environmental footprint. Transforming the bookstore into a “cultural department store.” A profile of revolutionary designer Cipe Peneles. Buy your own Follows and Likes. Caution: Correlation vs. Causation. Using hyphens in academic paper titles adversely affects citations stats. Nuclear tests can help spot art forgeries. An AR-enabled book about the history of rocket launches. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
May 2019 saw a variety of important trade events on a global scale, including the National Postal Forum, the Fiserv Forum, Xeikon Café, and FESPA. This article provides a brief synopsis of the major trade events that occurred during the past month.
More than 200 in-plant “Frontrunners” raced to Louisville, Ky., this week for the In-Plant Printing & Mailing Association’s (IPMA) Annual Conference, four days of sessions, networking events, and technology exhibits.
Everyday, most of us choose the most important thing to work on. The employees in the carpeted area of your print business are making these decisions everyday. Do you know what they are prioritizing? Do you know how they are spending their time? You should measure time just like you measure revenues, profits, and costs.
Spunlace nonwovens have a compelling commercial future in expanding end-uses—including adult and infant wipes, home care, and industrial applications—according to the latest research from Smithers Pira.
FESPA Munich was an amazing show. If you didn’t attend this year, you should definitely consider attending next year in March in Madrid. There is something for everyone, regardless of which segment of the industry in which you play. Of particular note are the special features FESPA has organized to add to its educational value. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reviews them here.
In our annual Print Business Outlook Survey, we found that the top opportunities for print businesses included some newer, proactive items, with some of the old chestnuts falling off the tree. As we saw with recent Business Challenges, could this reflect a “changing of the guard” of print business management?
The clamor to keep print books in academic libraries. 10 reasons to get a New York Public Library card. NYC opens first poster museum. Fry your brain with this new optical illusion. $9500 for a dress that doesn’t actually exist. Meredith sells Sports Illustrated...but not the magazine. The mysterious origin of the dollar sign. Let us proclaim the mystery of tape. Hockey pucks for the blind. For sale: one Wienermobile. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Memjet’s second-generation technology, DuraLink, achieved its first commercial placements from a few OEMs, and is now expanding into industrial applications. This article provides an overview of DuraLink technology, explores how it compares to VersaPass, and considers how Memjet’s offering may compare to more established industrial jetting technologies.
Printers have become accustomed to incentivizing customers to use environmentally friendly consumables by minimizing the cost difference from non-green versions. But a new research study shows that this approach may be counter-productive. Would charging more for a “green marketing package” actually increase your customers’ green purchasing intent? This study suggests that the answer is yes.
Being strategic about print software is nearly impossible when you are in a crisis. Too many print software decisions are made under duress. When you have the discipline to plan before the crisis, you are being strategic.
Keypoint Intelligence – Infotrends’ Ralf Schlozer reports from last week’s open house at Germany’s Edelmann Group, where the company was demonstrating its Landa S10 for folding carton production. Landa aims to step up its press installations through the rest of 2019.
In Part 2 of “Rebirth of Flexo,” David Zwang looks at an example of a flexo solution and its components that provides a significant deterrent to the onslaught of production inkjet in packaging production.
in 2016, there were 37,875 establishments in NAICS 5418 (Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services). Two-thirds of these establishments (65%) have under four employees, 79% have under 10 employees, and 88% have under 20 employees. The largest agencies (100 or more employees) only account for 2% of all establishments.
Sex weasels of classical portraiture. Times Square billboard under fire. Fanatics becomes the Amazon of sports apparel. The West Wing Weekly podcast looks at campaign design and typography. Using QR codes to assist dementia patients. Is there money in art? The tragedy of AirPods. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Timothy Baechle of Idealliance identifies five steps that will help establish a process control culture in your print business. Creating an environment based on equipment measurement and monitoring, combined with continued investment in employee education, will lead to more satisfied and productive employees, better and more consistently performing equipment, and, ultimately, more satisfied customers.
In a recent survey, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends examined the behaviors of different types of print service providers (PSPs). We determined that the most successful PSPs possess unique qualities that separate them from their competitors. One such quality that enables this group to be successful is their use of data analytics to process and leverage the marketing information they obtain for self-promotion.
Doing good has become good business practice. We not only see it in action, but the research bears it out, too. Fortunately, we are seeing printers taking up the mantle and investing in various areas of social responsibility, cementing customer relationships and (hopefully) creating positive peer pressure to do the same.
During new printing technology introductions there has usually been displacement and realignment of the existing print technology roles. During those transformational times, there are many old and new options. Packaging production is now going through one of these periods, raising the question: what type of print technology is best? In packaging production, this decision is getting harder, as a result of the rebirth of flexo printing.
Kevin Karstedt reports from last week’s Xeikon Café, two days of forward-thinking presentations, nearly 40 solutions partners, and some new “killer apps” that are pushing far more than envelopes in today’s digital printing environment.
In the world of interior design, finding the exact fabric needed for a commercial or residential interior design project can be difficult. But why not have the exact fabrics you need, designed and printed on demand in the exact quantity you need? That’s the concept behind Design Pool.
Last week, the Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech) announced that it has joined forces with Tarsus Group, the owner and organizer of the Labelexpo and Brand Print Global trade shows, to launch a new show called Brand Print Americas. We spoke with APTech president Thayer Long about what the new alliance means for the future of APTech—and for the industry.
The value of printing shipments for March were up from February. However, at $6.66 billion, March 2019 shipments came in below March 2018’s $6.74 billion. That’s not a huge disappointment, but we were hoping for a better month.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.