Most print service providers are serving the business-to-business market space. These B2B marketers need to target specific audiences with significant sales cycles and price preferences. This article discusses how service providers are evaluating content marketing in their go-to-market strategies.
The challenge of attracting, recruiting, hiring and the on-boarding of talented employees continues to be high on the priority list. How we determine who the most talented candidates are, where we find them, engage them and motivate them to seriously consider our industry for their career path requires a well-executed strategy. And as the workforce transitions from the Baby Boomer generation this process is becoming even more complex.
We collectively make a lot of poor software decisions, according to my very bias and unscientific research we make way more mistakes in this area than we do with other business decisions. What is it about technology that causes a collective brain freeze when it comes to making good decisions?
The HP Indigo 10000 B2 press caused a bit of a stir at drupa 2012. Now, more than a year later, the first sold units are making their way into the marketplace. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne takes a look at two very different installs to see how this new press is fitting in and the impact it might be having on conventional printing technologies.
Dscoop, the Digital Solutions Cooperative, recently appointed Mike Fogarty as its new Global Executive Director to replace long-time Executive Director Eric Hawkinson, now at Canon. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Fogarty to learn more about why he joined the organization and what he expects to achieve there.
In a rapidly changing industry, traditional printers must view the dynamics surrounding the offset-to-digital transition and new media as opportunities for much-needed growth. This article provides an overview of how Snyder Printer, Inc. leveraged digital color technology to improve its market opportunities.
With Print 2013 rapidly approaching, ‘tis the season for product updates, many of which were shown as technology demos or prototypes at drupa 2012. Delphax Elan is one of those products. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Delphax CEO Dieter Schilling to see what’s new.
Signage and wide format graphics have become an integral part of the marketing mix. This article highlights recent InfoTrends research and also explores how PIP Printing (Peoria, IL) is leveraging wide format to expand its own business opportunities.
Now in its fifth full-year since its introduction, the continuous-feed inkjet printer market shows no signs of maturity. There are few other markets in either the printer segment or consumer electronic segments that continue to show growth after five years. This doesn’t mean that the path forward is lined with rose petals.
With the adoption by Procter & Gamble of PantoneLIVE to better control its iconic library of brand colors throughout the production process, we wondered what that means for the packaging supply chain as a whole. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks to Pantone’s Cheryl Johnson to learn more.
AT&T Mobile now features personalized video explaining bills for new customers or those who change their plans. In addition to reducing the call volume at AT&T call centers (a significant reduction in bill-related calls, according to a company blog), it has a real WOW factor, with almost 80% of recipients watching the video all the way through. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne explains.
A couple weeks ago, a source informed Senior Editor Cary Sherburne that HP was in the process of pulling the plug on its Hiflex MIS and web-to-print offerings. While there has been no official public announcement from HP, this article summarizes what customers are being told and includes an official statement from HP.
Marketers face the challenge of getting their messages out in a way that breaks through the clutter and encourages desired behaviors in recipients. Although TransPromo communications can address this challenge, adoption has been spotty to date. This article uses recent InfoTrends research to discuss the opportunities that TransPromo can bring in today’s market.
HP may have its share of problems in its overall business, but its maniacal focus on expanding its footprint among existing analog wide-format graphics print applications is not affected. At FESPA, it introduced two new high-volume wide-format printers, its most productive latex and UV-curable ink jet printers to date aimed at expanding HP’s footprint among wide-format analog graphics print applications.
On July 10th, Xeikon conducted a web briefing for journalists and industry analysts to provide an update on developments with its Trillium liquid toner technology shown as a technology demonstration at drupa. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne shares some of the highlights.
In business and in our personal lives our ability to negotiate effectively is constantly being tested. Whether we are focused on selling, buying, hiring, team building or any personal relationship, the ability to negotiate always comes into play.
With the recent announcement of a bankruptcy filing by National Envelope, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne took a closer look at the envelope market. Is it a doomed and declining market or are there bright spots that signal a viable market moving forward?
WhatTheyThink's Eric Vessels made a short trip from his home in Ohio down to the xpedx headquarters in Cincinnati for one of fourteen Wide Format Summits being put on by the company in 2013. This piece gives his impressions as well as thoughts from those who attended the event.
The DLR (Docklands Light Rail) train wended its way through London’s East End and the Docklands and pulled into the station for London’s ExCel Centre. The conductor announced, “Customs House for the ExCel Centre. If you’re going to FESPA 2013, please alight here.”
There’s no denying how much the inkjet market has changed in the last few years. It has come so far, so fast that it’s probably an appropriate time to step back and ask: Is it a cost effective printing solution? Does it deliver ROI?
Recently I had the chance to attend HP’s Print Your Future event, held near the HP inkjet labs in San Diego. The event was hosted by HP’s IHPS division which makes the high speed continuous feed inkjet presses (T2xx, T3xx, T4xx series). I was able to tour the labs and see each of the three press models in operation.
In a world where content is king, service providers must assess how they are differentiating their businesses by offering valuable insight to clients and prospects. Service providers have a number of options for delivering content to clients, and this article discusses just a few.
I had the privilege last week of attending the Smithers Pira Conference in Atlanta on the topic of Digital Printing for Packaging. Having been on the advisory board for the conference it was rewarding to see the fruits of our labor being so well received by those in attendance.
Signage is becoming an increasingly important marketing component for attracting on-the-go consumers. Wide format graphics represent a major opportunity for print service providers. This article explores how retailers can use wide format graphics to increase their marketing presence in today’s cross-media world.
Neenah Paper is “running towards new media,” not running from it, with its The Beauty of Engraving and The Beauty of Letterpress sites. They are also leveraging this presence to financially support two worthy causes: preservation of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum and support for victims of the Moore OK tornado tragedy. Read more.
The number one best answer to any question posed by a prospect during the sales process is a clarifying question (hopefully several of them). The two best clarifying questions are, “what business challenge are you trying to solve?” and “how would you define wild success?”
David looks at some of the packaged workflow systems that are now being offered, either with hardware products or as standalone solutions. He will look at them as primary support for a device as well as how they work in the context of a broader plant workflow.
With today’s challenging economy and technological advances, graphic communications service providers continually need to reassess what they are doing and how they are doing it. This article provides recommendations on how to set up a “self university” for yourself, while simultaneously building the right infrastructure for your employees.
Following Ricoh’s announcement that it would not be participating in Ipex 2014, WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reached out to Ricoh Europe’s Graham Moore to learn more about this decision and Ricoh’s overall customer engagement strategy.
It is universally accepted that one’s interpersonal skills will have a direct effect on their ability to interact and get along with others, build critical relationships and function as a productive member of a team. Whether we consider their communication effectiveness or the way they approach and solve problems the soft skills they possess will either inhibit or contribute to their success.
Successfully integrating digital printing into your manufacturing process requires more than a digital press. Prepress and post press workflow changes and equipment are often required. Most printers have inline coating on their offset presses. Offline coating may be a new area with the addition of digital presses. What is right for you depends on your customer’s needs.
Everyone with a printing company to sell dreams of making a deal with full payment in cash at closing. That’s an achievable outcome for some sellers, but not for others. Two case studies provide a helpful dose of realism.
Today’s in-plants are continually re-inventing themselves to remain competitive. This article provides examples of a variety of organizations that are stepping up to today’s challenges by evaluating their offerings and making changes based on customers’ demands and market shifts.
Greater revenue utilization and lower labor costs will drive the slow but steady growth of electronic billboards—despite public and government opposition—but print billboards will still account for more than 96% of all billboards by 2015.
Although a number of the initial AR marketing techniques have been a bit gimmicky, practical applications are beginning to emerge. This article provides some examples of how the technology is being effectively used today.
In part I of this feature, we took a broad look at the different categories of inks available for wide-format inks. This week, we’ll take a closer look at how inks handle different applications (or perhaps vice versa) and, more importantly, how to think about ink in the context of choosing wide-format equipment, and how to measure and evaluate estimates of things like “cost per square foot.”
The High-Velocity Edge, a reissued edition of five-time Shingo Prize winner Steven J. Spear’s book entitled Chasing the Rabbit, describes the things that set market-dominating companies apart. This article provides examples of companies that are leveraging critical success factors to set themselves apart from the competition.
Dan provides a summary and his take on some of the results from a recently conducted SGIA Survey. The full survey results will be published in the SGIA report " Equipment & Financial Outlook Benchmarking Report".
A commitment to real change requires real risk because you have to be all-in for it to work. Too many technology projects fail because nobody was committed to bring forth the change necessary for success.
This series of articles by David L. Zwang focuses on the processes and products that can lead to the transformation of your current workflows and business, to prepare you for the new challenges ahead. In this article, David moves the discussion forward, now focusing on ‘workflow systems,’ what that encompasses, and some of the things you need to pay attention to as you review them. All of this done with an eye toward building a flexible platform upon which to grow.
I am naturally curious. I have always enjoyed learning and early in my career made a point of immersing myself in the work of some of the best thinkers in the business world. First, it was Peter Drucker whose writings are the foundation of what I know about management.
JoAnn is a syndicated packaging writer who is arguably the most prolific “packaging person” on social media. I have been following her for years and thought it extremely appropriate to have her featured here for the WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging audience. Following are the highlights from an interview with “The Packaging Diva”.
Bruce H. Rogers and Russ Alan Prince co-authored a book entitled Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Service Firms Become Thought Leaders. This book identifies three key criteria for success in becoming a thought leader. This article provides examples of industry players that are already following this advice.
There is, in some ways, a fundamental paradox when it comes to wide-format inks. There are more ink choices than ever, and yet for any given piece of equipment, you are generally stuck in a “one-cartridge-fits-all” situation.
I frequently hear that incumbent sales people are inhibiting a company’s ability to introduce new products and services and are increasingly resistant to prospecting for new business opportunities. As the role of the sales professional continues to evolve we need to rethink our pre-conceived paradigms regarding what top performing sales professionals look like. A carefully designed strategy for attracting, recruiting and selecting sales talent is an essential component to building a sustainable business.
In this guest article, Xerox’s Dustin Graupman talks about why choice is good, sheds some light on the Xerox acquisition of Impika, and expands the discussion of the value of choice beyond simply choosing among technologies to a discussion about why choice is important for the business as a whole.
There are many ways to structure a deal. One way is to bundle other services, equipment or consumables together to alleviate upfront costs. This type of deal can be very beneficial for the printer and the vendor. It does make it harder to do comparison shopping and evaluate true costs. Make sure you make an informed decision before agreeing to this type of deal.
A combination of media types==online, mobile, social, and print—is critical to today’s overall communication process. Industry firms are playing a significant role in serving customers across all forms of communication. This article explores how print is being used in conjunction with other channels to improve communications with customers.
The profitability gap between the best-performing and the weakest printing firms is wider than ever. It reflects the difference between the “haves”—firms with effective strategies for competitive differentiation—and the “have nots,” which lack them.
German Sacristan is ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) Developer for Kodak and the author of The Digital and Direct Marketing Goose: 16 Tips and Real-life Examples That Will Help You Lay More Golden Eggs. His work is focused on helping marketers gain increased ROI through the use of data and effective marketing techniques. We spoke to him recently to learn more.
Technology and consumer expectations related to communications will continue to force marketing experiences to evolve. This article explores how successful service providers are re-evaluating their services to help clients succeed in today’s “on demand” marketing era.
Perched on the northern quay of the Royal Victoria Dock in the Docklands of London is the ExCel Centre, an exhibit space constructed in 2000 but retooled and overhauled for the 2012 Olympic Games, where weightlifters, fencers, boxers, and wrestlers grappled for the gold. Next month, the Centre will host competitors of a different sort.
To help us introduce the various packaging sectors to the growing WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging readership we asked PRIMIR if we could pull excerpts from their 2012 study that Karstedt Partners was commissioned to write titled Packaging: Evaluation of Vertical Markets & Key Applications.
Although it may be difficult for traditionalists to imagine, “printing” can be done in more dimensions than two. The Inside Printing 3D Conference and Expo made clear why this high-touch manufacturing process is gaining increased attention both as an emerging technology and as an investment opportunity.
I recently had the chance to attend PIA’s annual Continuous Improvement Conference, and among the many kernels of information I left Indianapolis with was the concept that innovation and efficiency go hand-in-hand.
To keep their products and services top-of-mind, marketers must offer highly personalized communications that are relevant to each recipient and communicated via the right channel. Personalization has finally gone mainstream, and marketers must consider individual needs and preferences to drive consumers to take action.
Last month, Blurb announced a global partnership with Samsung for auto-creating photo books and magazines on the company’s new GALAXY S 4 smartphone, available today from T-Mobile and later this week from other carriers. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Blurb SVP Bruce Watermann who shared details about the app and his thoughts about mobile and print in general.
The challenges that we face when transforming a business are substantial and require the involvement of the entire organization. Each member of the team plays a different role but without the involvement of the CEO the chances of success are drastically reduced. In many situations there are multiple strategies in play; while the legacy business must be maintained and expanded the transition team must define and create the future. Under these circumstances, the CEO’s role must be carefully examined and defined.
In this article, David continues the infrastructure discussion, now focusing on the current state of the DFE (Digital Front End, aka RIPs) in the market, covering Digital Print DFEs as well as CTP DFEs, and the beginning of the plant production workflow. All of this done with an eye toward building a flexible platform upon which to grow.
For the past 84 years, the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) has been the leading industry association serving suppliers and converters of all forms of paperboard packaging. We spoke with Ben Markens, President of PPC, about the current state of the folding carton industry and the opportunities and challenges faced by its members.
Graphic communications service providers of all sizes need to “future-proof” their businesses in terms of services, solutions, and data capabilities to deliver relevant information and optimize customer service. This article discusses how First Edge Solutions has expanded its multi-channel communications to stay ahead of the competition.
WhatTheyThink was saddened to learn of the passing of innovator and entrepreneur Efi Arazi on Sunday. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with EFI CEO Guy Gecht and Landa Nanographics CEO Benny Landa who share their thoughts about Arazi’s contributions to the industry and the world, and she invites our readers to chime in with their own remembrances and thoughts about this great man.
At Graph Expo, we reported on some interesting software additions to the Konica Minolta family of products. WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne followed up with Gavin Jordan-Smith, Vice President for Solutions and Production Planning, to see what else is new at the company.
On March 19th Océ (part of the Canon Group) hosted an International Inkjet Days event at its site in Poing Germany (just east of Munich). Océ invited a group of industry analysts to see the latest enhancements to its impressive inkjet product portfolio and it offered educational sessions on inkjet technology, document security and color perception.
Following the acquisition of GMC Software Technology by Neopost last summer, long-time Chairman and CEO Dr. René Müller has ceded the CEO position to Henri Dura, retaining the position of President of the Board for the time being. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Dura to learn more about his background, the status of the integration process post-acquisition, and his strategic view of the future.
SMBs have a wide range of communication needs, including corporate identity, marketing collateral, direct marketing, point-of-sales materials, transactional documents, and publications. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to uncover the priorities and challenges for SMBs, and also discusses how QuantumDigital can make a difference for small businesses.
I caught up with Jay Willie, Executive Director of the Independent Carton Group (ICG) just before he struck out for one of the groups quarterly meetings. The ICG has an interesting business model and long history.
In October of 2012, Presstek announced the completion of its sale to American Industrial Partners Capital Fund, taking the company private. WhatTheyThink has learned that the company is in the process of undergoing a significant restructuring. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with David Savage, Presstek’s new CEO, to get the details.
Senior Editor has been having ongoing conversations with Adobe’s Lynly Schambers-Lenox, Group Product Marketing Manager, Digital Publishing, about the impact adoption of digital publishing is having on magazinepublishers, especially for users of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite. In this article, Schambers-Lenox shares new data that is beginning to show real results in revenue, advertising and subscribership for publishers.
Business-to-business commerce may not be getting the headlines in the print industry, yet across all industries in the US it’s nearly twice the size of the business-to-consumer market. It’s vital that printers understand the B2B opportunity and not confuse it with jumping into a price war with retailers online.
Last month, WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne joined a group of journalists, industry analysts and customers for a visit to Canon’s Poing Customer Experience Center located on the outskirts of Munich, Germany.
The role of the Sales Leader is to manage your system and coach your people. They must provide Structure, Support and Accountability for your sales program and as you continue your journey towards re-inventing your business, this function will take on much greater significance. Adhering to unsuccessful, past practices will only hold back your efforts as you continue to recruit, hire and develop your next generation sales team.
Recent technological investments suggests that technology leaders are expecting augmented reality (AR) to play a much larger role in how consumers access various types of content. This article provides just a few AR examples that have recently hit the headlines.
IT Strategies has just completed its 19th wide-format graphics inkjet forecast, wrapping up nearly two decades’ worth of experience into a single large Excel spreadsheet. The trends year-over-year aren’t surprising. Growth continues.
David continues the discussion, now focusing on the production infrastructure by looking at the role of the DFE (Digital Front End, aka RIP), and how that has changed as a result of digital press technology and the changing demands of the marketplace. In keeping with the series theme, he looks at it with an eye toward building a flexible platform upon which to grow.
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.