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.
In one of his first official acts since his election as pontiff, Pope Francis has unveiled a radically new strategy for proselytizing to the world: he’ll carry on the work of St. Peter through an international network of printing companies he intends the Church to acquire.
There has been much chaos and confusion in our industry in the past two decades. According to every credible source, collective industry sales are declining. Offset printing, which rode a 60 year wave of process dominance, has been declining since 2007. Digital print sales, as well as a variety of ancillary services, are growing but not fast enough to stem the tide of total industry revenue decline.
All customers are not alike; they have different demographic profiles, income levels, business requirements, and lifestyle choices. Marketers understand that they cannot ignore these differences, and they are creating customer communications that position their products and services to cater to individual preferences and characteristics. This article leverages recent research that highlights the importance of personalized messaging.
We have been previewing ISA’s International Sign Expo 2013. A fortnight ago, we looked at the educational opportunities to be had, and this week we will look at but the merest handful of the offerings on the show floor.
Although the ink is barely dry on the deal that has made Impika a unit of Xerox, the acquirer believes that bringing its target into the fold will give it the major-player status in inkjet that it has been seeking.
To help us introduce the various packaging sectors 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.
Billions of dollars a year are on the line for companies as they seek ways to ensure that the products sold with their logos and branding are authorized and authentic. The proliferation of counterfeiting requires brand owners and their converter/printer partners to work together to create a multi-layered protection plan so that their packaging and labels protect their brands and deter those trying to profit at their (and their reputation’s) expense.
In a move that is likely to cause a few ripples, Eric Hawkinson, who has been Executive Director of Dscoop, HP Indigo’s user group, will be departing to join Canon Solutions America, working for VP of Marketing Francis McMahon as Director of Marketing. Cary Sherburne speaks with several of the principals about this surprising move.
Loyalty programs have always been about treating your best customers better, but today’s marketers want to court their customers, engage them, and track their behaviors. This article discusses some of today’s techniques for connecting with customers and keeping them engaged.
Wide-format inkjet technology has become the “go to” technology for a number of traditional and non-traditional printing segments The purpose of this article is to define the differences between these segments, in general terms.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Steve Young, President of AICC, and asked him to share his thoughts around the mission of AICC, the role of AICC, and the opportunities and challenges facing their members.
The behavioral competencies and skills that we must look for in the next generation sales professional are quite different from what we have focused on in the past. The ability to engage clients in dialogue to uncover and define challenges is of utmost importance. It is also important that sales professionals be great listeners; listening 80% of the time. However, as buyers we usually don’t experience that behavior. So what can we do to change that dynamic? I believe we can dramatically improve our success in selecting the right people as well as coaching those with the necessary behavioral competencies to become great engagers.
Following Tom Vacchiano’s departure as President of X-Rite Pantone, WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with his successor, long-time Danaher veteran Ron Voigt, in this exclusive interview to learn more about Danaher business strategies and the future prospects of X-Rite Pantone under the Danaher banner.
There are many relationships in business today. One that is often not given enough weight is your vendor relationship. In the past, this relationship could be adversarial. Today, cooperation is needed more than ever. Looking at how you can get more out of your vendor relations can have a large positive effect on your bottom line.
Think Patented has embarked on a transition strategy to improve its competitive edge in today’s turbulent market. The company is broadening the set of production tools that it uses, embracing value-added services, and refocusing itself on becoming a marketing services provider. This article provides an overview of Think Patented’s growth strategy, which includes a shift to value-added services as well as strategic acquisitions.
The International Sign Expo, coming up April 3–6 will feature more than 500 exhibitors, more than 40 educational sessions, and ample networking opportunities, all related to the “on-premise” signage industry.
After What They Think published my article Survival of the Small and Mid-sized Printing Company in Today’s Chaotic Environment, Scott Johnson commented with some nice words and the question: Had I read the book The Rule of Three: Surviving and Thriving in Competitive Markets? I had not read it but out of curiosity I found it, bought it and read it.
With pieces of Kodak being lopped off as it works to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings, some are taking root as new businesses. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviewed one of the founders of Three Leaf Insights, born out of the ashes of Kodak’s MarketMover Managed Campaign Services, as well as a print service provider and an end customer, to offer a view of how these services are likely to evolve after being shed by Kodak.
Having just returned from Beijing where I attended the International Media Week, patterned after the drupa format, I can tell you that the Chinese are no longer the student and could be considered the teacher.
If silence is golden in most of the affairs of life, in M&A transactions, it’s pure platinum. Nothing assures a better outcome for a deal—or yields a worse one if it’s violated—than maintaining a policy of tight information control while negotiations are under way.
Selling a product or service requires a vision. A vision is a picture of the future that we seek to create, described in the present tense, as if it were happening now. It shows where we want to go, and what we will be like when we get there. This article provides a brief profile of Universal Wilde, which has developed a vision for its business and is using this vision to power its growth.
HP introduced its first latex-ink wide-format printer in 2008, targeting replacement of aggressive solvent printers. Since that time, HP has introduced multiple versions and the market has taken off a growth rates reflecting the beginnings of the aqueous WF industry back in 1992.
In this article, David continues the discussion of the business infrastructure by looking at some of the packaged MIS and ERP systems, and how they are structured, with an eye toward building a flexible platform with which to grow.
It is amazing to me how many of us get a “deer in headlights” reaction to changes going on around us. The leaders of a business can take a business on the downside of its life cycle and reinvent it and create something new causing it to grow again.
New buying trends in the printing industry are driving Colson Printing to launch an extension of its website to enable 24/7 click ‘n print functionality for its clients. Expected to go live in the first half of 2013, the new website capabilities will enable Colson to broaden its market nationally and appeal to locals who prefer to order online.
I recently returned from Beijing where I attended the International Media Week at which more than 20 overseas media representatives from the U.S., UK, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Russia, India, Korea, UAE, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau spent their time learning about the great strides of the China printing industry and the upcoming CHINAPRINT.
During Dscoop8, Barb Pellow moderated a panel entitled “Building a Strategic Marketing Plan.” She was joined by three service providers who have developed strategic marketing plans to transform their businesses. This article discusses best practices for thriving in the printing industry, even during tough economic times.
Recently I was in Las Vegas for PODi’s AppForum. Our team arrived on the weekend prior to the conference, which was at the Planet Hollywood. It was Sunday and time for lunch so five of us headed down to casino area where the restaurants are scattered about. Looking for a casual, inexpensive and quick lunch we settled on Burgr, a new restaurant owned by Gordon Ramsay, the chef from the TV show Hell’s Kitchen.
WhatTheyThink has become aware of a number of major changes at Mimeo.com over the last few months. With the recent decision by CEO Adam Slutsky to step down, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked with Co-Founder and new CEO John Delbridge to get the inside scoop.
The role that sales professionals play within our organizations continues to evolve. As clients demand more and technology changes the buying process, we need to rethink our pre-conceived paradigms regarding what we look for in top performing sales professionals, what their job is and how we will compensate them in the future.
Dscoop, the Digital Solutions Cooperative, just held its 8th annual conference. The group, comprised primarily of HP Indigo and HP Scitex users in the graphic arts industry, has continued to add member value since its inception. At Dscoop8, which concluded last week in Nashville, Tennessee, Dscoop raised the bar once again with new member value.
How does a printing company with more than a century of history and success step out of the box and reinvent itself for another century of success? Hire the right people! WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke to industry veteran Tom Clifford to find out how he and his team have made a difference at HCMiller.
Rumors were circulating earlier this week about the reported closure of Ferrostaal Equipment Solutions North America Inc., but the facts don’t bear them out. WhatTheyThink has learned that the Houston, TX based print equipment and services provider remains in operation, albeit with a new president, a smaller staff, and a reduced portfolio.
First introduced nearly a decade ago, near field communications (NFC) technology is entering the consumer mass market. Statistics indicate that hundreds of millions of smartphones and portable personal information devices will be NFC-enabled in the near future, creating a tremendous opportunity for integration with print applications. This article provides examples of how NFC might take hold in tomorrow’s market.
A recent press release from Tukaiz, an early adopter in color digital printing, caught the eye of Senior Editor Cary Sherburne. This interview with Frank Defino, Sr. and Frank Defino Jr. provides more “color” to the story!
As companies continue to focus on cost reduction, it gets harder and harder to locate ways to accomplish this. Freight and recycled waste are two areas where you may still be able to find some savings.
Welcome to the inaugural post for WhatTheyThink’s Labels & Packaging website. The folks at WTT and I have been speaking for quite some time on the need a version of WTT that focused on the needs of those in the packaging supply chain. I am honored to be the Managing Editor of this new endeavor and will strive to bring meaningful and timely content to those in the packaging supply chain who are looking for information and intelligence in order to do their jobs better.
Sometimes, sheer embarrassment can kill a merger—the shock of suddenly having to account for issues that ought to have been dealt with earlier in the process. Privately held printing companies can be prone to the kinds of errors that embarrass sellers and thwart M&As.
As the digital transformation of the packaging industry continues to present new challenges and opportunities for both brand owners and converters, WhatTheyThink Senior Editor checked in with Aviv Ratzman, CEO of Highcon, to see what progress the company has made relative to Euclid, its market entry for laser die cutting and creasing. Read more.
NFC is set of technology standards designed to enable short-range, "contactless" communication among phones, as well as other types of targets. Very few of today’s smartphones include embedded NFC technology, but this is expected to change over the next couple of years as more phones with the technology become available and marketers look to integrate NFC into their marketing efforts.
Having navigated the wide-format digital printing world for more than 20 years, Lynn Krinsky, president of Stella Color (Seattle, WA), knows a thing or two about growing and prospering in this innovative and competitive area.
Many in the industry are still speculating about where B2-format digital presses fit into the scope of commercial print production. Sandy Alexander is weighing the merits of B2 digital printing for itself by beta-testing one of the most advanced examples of the technology.
I thought it appropriate for the first post to WhatTheyThink Labels & Packaging to be an interview with the founder of WhatTheyThink.com, Randy Davidson to get his thoughts on the new venture. So on a snowy Saturday morning with a fresh cup of coffee in front of me, Randy and I had a chat.
The printing industry is undergoing rapid changes. How do you discuss the industry and its future with high school students who are considering various careers? Coming up with a pitch provided a lot of food for thought and speculation about our future.
No trade show has taken more lumps lately than Ipex, the quadrennial print and graphic media expo in the UK. But its owner has declared that when Ipex opens for a six-day run in London on March 24, 2014, it will be a new show with a sharper focus and greater value for exhibitors and attendees alike.
Industry pundits have long been discussing the value of Web-to-Print. Firms that have developed easy-to-use Web-based services are successful because customers of all sizes are seeking convenience. This article uses data from a recent InfoTrends study to show how Web-to-print has become an essential ingredient when serving the enterprise market.
Wide format graphics ink jet printing is entering its second decade of commercialization and is belatedly being discovered by commercial print-service-providers. The ubiquitous availability of wide format output at the consumer level is opening the door to promote wide format graphics print as an alternative to traditional advertising for small businesses.
This new series 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. This series runs once a month over the course of the year, with the first article appearing in January 2013. Zwang looks at process transformation and automation, and the steps you need to take to be successful. He will also look at some of the current product offerings and how they are being, or could be, used to help you transform your business and strengthen your customer relationships.
Technology is driving changes in all aspects of our business; the way we manufacture, the way we go to market, the way we engage our clients as well as our employees. So why not expand the use of technology to the way we attract, recruit, hire and on-board our next generation work force?
Please excuse this article coming after my retirement last year and my statement that you had seen my last article. I am taking the opportunity given to me by Randy Davidson to write the occasional guest editorial if I see a subject that I feel needs my own ‘unique’ take.
There has been lots of press about the struggles of traditional publishers in making the transition to a more digitally-enabled business model, but less attention has been paid to the impact of digital on catalogs and other retail-oriented pieces that typically have been produced in print. Printers take note: There is significant change coming your way if you are in the business of producing print for retail.
During EFI’s recent 2013 Connect user conference in Las Vegas, CEO Guy Gecht took time out to talk to Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, followed by a discussion after EFI released its financial results on January 24th.
Some marketers are taking funds out of their print budgets and investing in online, while others are cutting back on direct mail to focus on e-mail. In a recent InfoTrends study entitled Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprise Communications Requirements, InfoTrends surveyed more than 1,000 enterprises with 500+ employees. The results confirmed that marketers are planning to shift more dollars to alternate media. This article discusses how print and digital channels will be linked for success in 2013.
A walk down the street, a drive on the highway, or a trip on mass transit today provides ample opportunities to experience one of the hottest specialty graphics growth areas: vehicle graphics. From personal vehicles with custom graphics, to commercial vans and tractor-trailers, to buses, rail cars, and even planes, fleets of all kinds are becoming more picture-esque than ever.
As the publishing market continues to seek ways to innovate and to take advantage of the opportunities extent in digital publications, Adobe continues to support their efforts with ongoing enhancements to its Digital Publishing Suite and a growing number of publications on board with the solution. And the executive editor of Fast Company magazine shares his thoughts on the digital transformation.
Don’t look for exhibits by Eastman Kodak Co. at Print 13 in Chicago this year, at IPEX 14 in the U.K next year, or at most other graphic communications trade shows after that. In a statement published last Friday, the company announced it would significantly reduce its participation in conventional trade shows and turn to other means of engaging with its customers.
Over the weekend, those blazing a virtual trail in the industry relative to digital printing and its applications will be blazing a different kind of trail on their way to Las Vegas to attend the 2013 PODi AppForum. WhatTheyThink will be there as a long time supporter of the event and here’s what to expect.
During the fourth quarter of 2012, InfoTrends published its most recent research on The True Cost of Business Communications. This report examined the entire document lifecycle for an array of different applications including manuals, brochures, sell-sheets, and presentations. This article provides a brief overview of the survey’s findings and explores strategies for success among service providers.
Using information from a number of surveys conducted by SGIA during 2012, I’ve put together a snapshot of a “typical” specialty imaging company. While the specialty imaging industry is highly diverse, with lots of companies doing lots of things, it is both interesting and thought-provoking to create a typical company using trends and high points from the data we’ve received.
As you attempt to execute your thoughtfully designed strategies, the greater the value your employees can add to your internal and external clients' lives, the easier it will be to differentiate your offering and gain a competitive advantage
For the last several conferences, a highlight at EFI Connect has been the fireside chat between CEO Guy Gecht and an industry luminary. This year’s “luminary” was Benny Landa, and the fireside chat was a highlight of the event. Read more EFI Connect highlights.
There is no shortage of talk about web-to-print technologies; there is too little talk about printer’s online strategies. Printers can talk for hours about how this or that web technology has failed them or this or that technology is what made all the difference.
WhatTheyThink recently visited two German printing houses that provide an aspirational lesson for printers everywhere who want to know how far investments in production technologies can take growth-minded companies.
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.