Last week, the mainstream media were abuzz with the results of a new study—conducted by a 14-year-old-high school student—that found that the U.S. Government could save $400 million by switching typefaces from Times New Roman to Garamond. While the results of this study have not gone without legitimate criticism, that hasn’t stopped others from proposing initiatives that would save the government even more money through changes in typography.
On March 26th I attended an open house at Mark Andy’s global headquarters in Chesterfield, Missouri. The main reason I was invited was to be part of the formal introduction and “coming out” of the company’s Digital Series press.
The ISA International Sign Expo 2014 is coming to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center this April 23–26, with educational and networking sessions starting on the 23rd and the trade show itself starting on the 24th. (Each year, the Sign Expo alternates between Las Vegas and Orlando.) Some new features of the show debuted in Vegas last year, and will thus be new to an Orlando—and thus a largely Southeast U.S.— crowd.
The Forrester Report entitled Predictions 2014: Mobile Trends for Marketers offers advice that also applies to print service providers as they evolve their businesses and leverage cross-media communications. This article offers recommendations for reaching today’s on-the-go consumers.
In Part One of The Value Proposition for Digital Package Printing, we discussed the operations (material and operations planning) and marketing benefits relating to digital printing. Recognizing the reality of this operations and marketing dual purpose for digital, we break the compelling reasons for digital printing in packaging into two tracks.
Companies are continually exploring situations that transform their businesses. Leadership must embark on a personal transformation that results in new behaviors and builds a strong aligned team that requires serious-minded personnel decisions.
SGP is helping to define what it is for a printing company to be sustainable. Sponsoring organizations play a large part in guiding and supporting SGP. The following article looks at the reasons why some of the sponsors participate.
“Big Data” is a buzz-phrase that is tempting marketers with the promise of increasing customer engagement. While big data is part of the solution, the real power lies in using the right data. This article discusses the data challenge that today’s marketers face and explores how service providers can help them embrace data to deliver a relevant message.
Most decisions made by brand owners related to digital printing have a basis in their understanding of the value proposition that digital brings to their organizations. In our report; Is Digital Printing Part of Your Brand or Operational Strategy? we describe how this value proposition is directly tied to unmet needs.
Brand owners rely on packaging to not only carry their products to market, but to represent the quality and desirability of those products on store shelves. The package is typically the first interaction a consumer has with a product or brand, and from then on serves as a visual reminder of the experience.
Since the second quarter of 2007, the first quarter for which we can create four-quarter inflation-adjusted moving totals, ad agency revenues are up more than 13%. Publishing industries have note fared well at all.
Before you can hope to change your company’s fortunes, you must first change yourself. This article highlights advice from Suzanne Evans’ book entitled The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything and discusses how print service providers can use these insights to make better investment decisions.
For marketers and manufacturers of consumer products, true value lies not only in the products themselves but also in the recognition and reputation of the brand. Unfortunately, brand owners are facing more risks as counterfeiting and diversion activities increase around the globe.
It was a sunny morning Southern California. An ocean breeze was blowing in from nearby Redondo Beach, and as the freight train next door—the bane of our existence—clattered endlessly and rattled the building, we gathered in the first floor conference room of the Torrance offices of Micro Publishing News magazine to evaluate the hundred or so submissions to what, back in 1999, was our Seventh Annual Digital Art contest.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviews Celebrity Cruises about its first-ever set of digital vacation planning apps and what they mean for brochures and other printed materials. Most of what we have written about Adobe DPS and other publishing app makers has been focused on digital magazine issues. This story takes digital publishing deeper into print territory. Is it good news or bad for print?
In recent weeks, readers have asked for industry demographics and some prognostication about them. The data tables are below. But first, some information about the data and where they come from. Get a strong coffee.
Industry veteran Ramesh Ratan joined Bell and Howell as its CEO in January of 2014. He previously held executive positions with the DMA and Pitney Bowes, among others. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with him about Bell and Howell’s current state and it strategies for the future.
Any company can say they are environmentally responsible. But what does it really mean? Print buyers who have a mandate from their management to use environmentally responsible suppliers have a tough task sorting through the claims. The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) is an independent, non-profit organization providing a certification label for sustainability in the graphic communications industry.
As leaders that play formal and informal roles, you must continually develop your face-to-face communication skills. Whether you are motivating and influencing your team members or persuading and engaging clients, you must strengthen your interpersonal communication skills by assessing your competencies and developing a thoughtful action plan.
The days of one-way messaging through TV or print ads to appeal to consumers’ purchasing decisions have given way to “engagement marketing”. Two-dimensional (two-way) communication where consumers participate, share, and interact with a brand creates crucial interaction resulting in business and personal success. The bi-directional nature of social media enables a two-way marketing channel.
Recent technological innovations have led to an expansion of capabilities in digital printing services. This article discusses the ways in which digital printing output can be moved beyond four colors so that print service providers can increase the value of their offerings.
David speaks with a print service provider with a variety of disparate equipment that implemented a business and production workflow system to handle it all, and his only complaint is that he wishes he had done it sooner.
Canon Solutions America recently hosted 28 members of the media and analyst community in Southern Florida to share results of the integration of parts of Canon USA with Océ post-acquisition into a new organization: Canon Solutions America. It has been one year since the acquisition was finalized and the new organization was formed. WhatTheyThink contributors Richard Romano and Cary Sherburne were among the attendees at this event and both share their perspectives in this article.
When effective, loyalty programs can bring significant business opportunities to marketers and service providers alike. This article discusses the new media technologies that enable a connection with customers, while also exploring how loyalty programs can be used to engage existing customers.
Sean Smyth of Digital Demand World, the publication for the digital print industry, looks at the progress of 3D printing and the momentum being built that promises an emerging technology that commercial printers can profit from.
Since its launch in March of 2011, Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite has captured a significant market share of digital magazine issues (Adobe claims 80% of top 100 magazines on iTunes) and we have followed its progress both in terms of added features and results for publishers. This article by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne takes a look at another option for digital magazine publishing. Mag+ launched in 2010. Mag+ premiered on the first iPads in April 2010 with PopularScience and has recently attracted former MPA Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy & Initiatives Ethan Grey as its Director of Product Strategy.
In today’s market, you must align your sales organization with your overall business strategy while also accommodating the changing demands of your customer base. This article discusses how taking a specialist approach can help you meet these objectives.
About 1,500 people descended on the Wynn Las Vegas for Connect 2014 at the end of January. WhatTheyThink captured lots of video interviews (watch for them!) and had an opportunity to participate in the event as well. Here are a few Connect 2014 thoughts, including an interview with Benny Landa, who joined EFI CEO Guy Gecht in making an exciting announcement re: Landa Digital Printing.
In Part Three of our Dscoop series, WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with John Tenwinkel, Director of Dscoop University, for a sneak peek into its debut at the upcoming Dscoop9 conference and what it will mean for Dscoop members worldwide.
IDEAlliance and TAGA are closest things that the industry has to “brain trusts”: trade associations that have taken upon themselves the daunting task of curating the industry’s practical intellectual capital.
The major news in the data update is that employment in advertising agencies surpassed that of the printing industry in July 2013. For 2013, printing employment was down by -12,600 (-2.8%). The biggest change was in employees outside of production who were -8,400 of that decline (-5.7%). Graphic design employment was down slightly for the year, but these data do not include freelancers, which are an essential part of that business. Inside the advertising agency employment data are public relations employees, the main area of employment growth in this sector.
Companies that were disappointed with their 2013 results may be hoping that the year ahead will bring better things, but creating a winning sales process involves more than just hope. This article discusses 8 steps that businesses can take to improve their sales processes in 2014.
Chris Petro is an innovator and thought leader in the digital printing industry and has given selflessly of his time to Dscoop over the past several years, currently serving as the Chairman of the Global Board of Directors as well as running his own multinational business, GlobalSoft Digital Solutions. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently spoke with Petro to learn more about what is happening with Dscoop on a global basis, and new developments he expects for the future.
The Department of Commerce released December 2013 and revised November data. December shipments were $6.271B (-3.7% vs. Dec. 2012). On a current dollar basis, the total for the year was $77.6B, -3.8%. After adjusting for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, shipments were down -5.1%. The chart below shows current dollar and inflation-adjusted shipments starting with 2007
If all politics is local, the same is true of the work done by the printing industry’s regional trade associations. The executive directors of three PIA regional affiliates discuss how they bring grass-roots insight to the universal challenges of trade association management.
Marketing industry pundits have been analyzing today’s trends and are making recommendations about how to do things differently in the New Year. This article summarizes the insight that is being delivered to your customers and prospects from a variety of sources.
Our own Dr. Joe Webb has just published the results of his latest survey of commercial printers and their planned investments for 2014—Strategies for Management’s 2014 U.S. Commercial Printers Capital Investment Survey and Forecast.
It’s hard to believe that we are already in the 9th year of the Dscoop conference, the highly successful annual event for the Dscoop independent HP user group. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with both the Executive Director of Dscoop Mike Fogarty and Conference Chair Gary Garner, Chairman & CEO of GLS Companies, to find out why Dscoop9 is being positioned as the “Best Ever” and what the organization has done to keep its momentum going.
Paper has always been critical to the printing process. After all, paper is both the raw material and the end product. Nowhere is that more apparent than when transitioning to production inkjet printing. Paper selection will have a tremendous impact on the production quality and profitability of your inkjet solution.
In Part two of this two part article, David looks at some of the current solution offerings that are designed to bring your client’s jobs into your plant to see if and how they are meeting the challenges of today’s service provider.
The communications world is changing, and printers of all sizes are realizing that it’s time to reposition their businesses. This article is the third in a three-part series on the top trends of 2014 that can help you grow revenues and profitability. It evaluates the options for transforming your business model.
Because they mirror the industry they serve, the printing industry’s two principal trade associations are seeing a picture they may sometimes have trouble recognizing. But, the groups say they have adapted to circumstances, learned from mistakes, and committed themselves to strategies for stability.
In the world of label production, finishing or converting a label is as important as the accuracy and quality of the printing process itself. The decision whether to use inline or offline finishing/converting solutions depends on the make-up of incoming orders and the specific market needs of the customer.
Kodak’s renewed self-confidence as a B2B company focused on imaging for business was on full display as the company grandly relisted its common stock at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on January 8.
Service providers must support their customers with strategies that integrate print, mobile, online, and social media. This article is the second in a three-part series on the top trends of 2014 that can help you grow revenues and profitability. It discusses the implementation of emerging technologies to effectively engage customers and showcases new capabilities/applications that can open new revenue streams for your business.
Xerox announced a significant organizational change, creating a new position as Chief Operating Officer for its Technology (versus Services) Business for industry veteran Jeff Jacobson, who joined Xerox in 2012 as President of Xerox’s Graphic Communications Operation. Andrew Copley, who joined Xerox 18 months ago, will step into the role vacated by Jacobson. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Copley in an exclusive WhatTheyThink interview to get the inside scoop.
This chart shows the inflation-adjusted revenue trends for selected content-creation businesses. Note how advertising revenues have increased despite the declines in the revenues to publishers. Agencies have shifted much of their efforts to developing “earned media” (a/k/a search engines, social media, e-marketing and numerous other digital formats), and the production of it.
Sometimes waste is something to get rid of. Other times, it can make money. Depending on your situation it can be your choice. With a bit of time and effort as well as assigning responsibility it can pay you dividends.
The return of Ipex to London in March 2014 is adding up to be a welcome capital gain for exhibitors and visitors alike. In this guest article by Trevor Crawford (Event Director, Ipex 2014), we get the rundown on what to expect.
The most successful firms in today’s graphic communications market have taken strong traditional printing businesses with a solid customer base and evolved into multi-channel companies that are equally focused on print and integrated offerings. This article is the first in a three-part series on the top trends of 2014 that can help you grow revenues and profitability. It focuses on the opportunities that exist for service providers of all types and sizes.
How are you described by your family, friends, colleagues and your clients? It should be pretty obvious that each of has a “personal brand”; a brand that should define your unique value to those around you. The real issue is whether or not you are pleased with your brand and how you manage it.
Predicting the future is easy; predicting what will happen next month is almost impossible. Prediction is especially difficult in the printing industry because we adapt technologies from other disciplines.
The explosive proliferation of social media is the hottest topic in marketing today. For print service providers (PSPs), it brings both intrigue and confusion: “Should our business be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram? My kids are on Pinterest, Vine, Tumblr and Foursqure, so should my business be there, too? What am I supposed to do with Google+?”
Over the last decade digital printing has moved from a niche market to a high growth segment embraced by a large number of print service providers (PSPs) that acknowledge the added value and higher profits of digital. One of the results of the proliferation of digital technologies is a convergence of once separate activities.
With a rapidly growing number of customers expecting their communication experiences to be tailored to their specific needs and wants, it’s more important than ever for companies to segment and personalize their marketing efforts. This article discusses how personalization tactics like data mining, audience segmentation, and predictive modeling now play a prominent role in driving e-mail marketing, content marketing, and online advertising.
The number of transaction statement in-plant printers has been in decline for some time, due mainly to a decline in print volumes caused by suppression and more recently the effect of electronic bill presentment, which has become a default option for many who open a new financial or insurance account.
Those who have been around the packaging industry can tell you that no one can predict its future. From experiments gone awry – like Jacques E. Brandenberger’s failed attempts at transparent tablecloths that ultimately resulted in the invention of cellophane in 1908.
My first exposure to digital printing for Corrugated Packaging occurred when I joined Inland Container. This occurred in late 2000, and Inland was in the process of developing a prototype digital press to evaluate the potential for digital printing in Packaging.
From so simple a beginning. Avondale, Ariz.’s AZ Pro Signs and Graphics, based just outside Phoenix, started nine years ago with a 21-inch plotter—and has seen no less than double-digit growth every year, even during the recession years.
Companies are always looking for ways to save money or reduce costs. The more you do the harder it is to find ways to improve the bottom line. Looking at your trash may not be the first area you investigate but it does offer the opportunity to reduce costs. The concept is to recycle/reuse/repurpose and reprocess all materials which had been “thrown into the dumpster”. This takes some time and effort as well as the cooperation of your employees. Done properly not only can it reduce your costs and lessen your environmental impact, it can increase your sales as well.
Commercial printers are increasingly examining the label and packaging market—and they like what they see. As digital technology lowers both the cost of entry and the learning curve for excellent execution, particularly in the area of special effects, the business benefits can be substantial.
Technological advances have drastically changed the way people consume information. Today’s businesses must facilitate the movement between print and mobile formats to add value to communication. This article highlights how Roberts Communications is supporting consumers in the move toward mobile channels while still supporting print.
Consolidation looks like the obvious play in a shrinking industry space: put two friendly competitors together, eliminate redundant / duplicative activities, pocket the savings and move along happily. Sounds simple and neat. Uh oh.
Recent data published by Adobe sheds light on what’s happening with digital magazine publications. Since the launch of Adobe DPS less than three years ago, more than 150 million Adobe-DPS powered digital publications have been downloaded and read on mobile devices. (Adobe DPS has 80% market share in digital magazine publishing). And more time is being spent with publications in digital form than in print. This is a trend our readers should be watching and looking for ways to capitalize on.
Ricoh commissioned an I.T. Strategies study titled The Evolution of the Book Industry: Implications for U.S. Book Manufacturers and Printers. The study looks at the impact of ebooks on printed book volumes, reader preferences for print versus electronic formats and more. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with I.T. Strategies VP Marco Boer and Ricoh’s Worldwide Manager Inkjet Technologies, Mike Herold, to learn more.
The potential of digital print is broadening, and packaging companies are only just beginning to realise the benefits on offer in terms of personalisation, customer engagement and integration with online campaigns.
Since the highly-successful SGIA Expo, which took place a little more than a month ago, I’ve been putting some new thought into wide-format digital printing, trying to come up with a new way to describe the industry to those who are new to it, or have simply put a toe in our wide-format pool.
B2B customers are more connected than ever, and this brings increased opportunities to reach prospective buyers with relevant, targeted information when they need it. This article discusses three areas of focus for service providers that are striving to make a good first impression.
While the commercial printing industry has seen an overall decline in demand for print over the last 15 years, the demand for wide-format printed graphics is actually increasing. As a result, more and more commercial printers are looking at adding wide-format to their offerings.
Technology promises great potential to create leverage in our business. Leverage isn’t created in the purchase of technology; real leverage comes from how the use of the technology changes the behavior of the people who use it.
Last month, I had the opportunity to visit HP’s Boise offices along with other members of the media. While the session focused on print solutions for small to mid-sized businesses, many of the solutions we saw have implications for commercial printers.
Traditional print sales professionals continue to struggle with the business development process and companies of all sizes are trying to figure out their next moves. Building a next generation sales team doesn’t have to be that difficult if you design an effective work flow process.
Pinpointing the characteristics that make some printing companies more economically attractive than others is the short version of the mission of New Direction Partners (NDP), a consultancy specializing in mergers and acquisitions in the graphic communications industry. Some of these earmarks are classic indicators of the health of a business: cash flow, accounts receivable, EBITDA, and so on. Others, however, stem from emerging trends that NDP monitors as M&A influencers for the industry as a whole.
Last week, with no public announcement, the Printing Industries of America dismissed 15 employees with little or no notice, according to sources. Some had over 30 years of service to GATF, with whom PIA merged in the late 1990s.
Elli Cloots, formerly Director of Product Marketing at Enfocus, recently joined EFI as Senior Product Marketing Manager in EPS, the company’s software group. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks with her about her new role and the importance of workflow and automation in the graphic arts industry.
Industries worldwide are moving rapidly toward “green” operations, seeking to reduce environmental emissions, hazardous materials and waste streams, while at the same time striving to conserve energy and materials. In line with this trend, printing industry leaders have focused on improving the environmental aspects of their supply chain and operations to reduce waste and improve efficiency.
In today’s printing industry, uncertainty is the rule rather than the exception. Citing Eric Ries’ New York Times Bestseller entitled The Lean Startup, this article explores how print service providers can leverage the advice in this book.
At the SGIA Expo in Orlando several weeks ago, EFI garnered a Product of the Year award for its GS Pro-TF thermoforming system. Interstate Graphics Inc. (IGI), based in Machesney Park, Ill.—just outside Rockford—was the first company to install the GS Pro-TF.
Graphics Canada is held every two years and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To mark this milestone, says Dan Mustata, show manager for Graphics Canada, “we’ve brought together more features, more conferences, and more colocated events than ever.”
Minneapolis-based John Roberts has installed the first 7-color HP Indigo 10000 digital press in North America. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with CEO Michael Keene to delve into why the company made this decision and what they expect to achieve going forward.
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.