There is a hidden pitfall most of us in the position of purchasing print software are very susceptible to. We are all human, and while we have the best of intentions to do thorough evaluations while making a new print software purchase, we quickly fall victim to the ‘feature trap.’
There has long been speculation among business owners and their advisors over how to place a value on privately held companies. Now, newly developed business valuation models which replicate historical buyer experience sheds some light on the topic and provides some very interesting insights into value creation opportunities for current business owners and potential buyers.
The order of the traditional sales funnel has typically been to discover a new opportunity, initiate communication, conduct fact finding, develop a solution, propose that solution, evaluate the solution, negotiate the details, create a purchase order, and maintain the account. This article explores how today’s empowered prospects have rendered this systematic approach obsolete.
If you are currently functioning on a legacy Print MIS system, you know better than anyone that you are going to have to make a move ‘soon.’ Maybe soon is in the next 2 months or the next 2 years, but you know that your system isn’t going to lead you into the future.
The results are in from SGIA’s annual Specialty Graphics Industry Survey (the full report will be released in June), and the data we’ve received shows the wide-format graphics community going strong. The information included here covers some of the “high-points” of our findings, and provides a bit of analysis, from my viewpoint.
Next week, O’Neil Data Systems (ODS) will be hosting an HP-sponsored event at their Plano, Tex, facility, which will bring together vendors, customers, and printers from all corners of the digital printing ecosystem to see the company’s high-powered “data-driven publishing” in action, as well as showcase their own contributions to this expanding print market segment.
Today’s hyper connected consumers are truly in control of the media that they consume. Today’s marketers must pursue media strategies that deliver holistic integrated communications to drive results. This article explores how printed communications are being combined with augmented reality to increase revenues and response rates.
US employment data has many cross-currents: the unemployment rate is down, but the labor participation rate is at 35-year lows. Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics published its JOLTS report, which shows they dynamic factors at play in the labor market. This chart shows the percentage of hires less the number of quits on a year-to-year basis. Note in the chart below the rapid rise in employment as the recession ended and the recovery began, and also how it has narrowed and turned negative in recent months. It's been mainly negative for about 18 months.
Web-to-Print is a sales and marketing project that happens to involve technology, yet most printers delegate the leadership of web-to-print projects to their technical resources. We are collectively as an industry putting too much emphasis on the technology and not enough emphasis on the sales and marketing aspects.
Although some companies only start looking at their brand image when things are not going well, successful firms are out in front of the market. This article discusses the importance of market dynamics and how they can be leveraged as key catalysts for change.
It was a Tale of Two Cities for sellers of printing companies in April. For some, it’s the best of times; they appear to have chosen wisely, believed in the power of the internet to transform the business of print, they saw the light and felt the hope of spring as they embarked on their journey. The market anoints these fortunate few with the ultimate reward – the high multiple.
In Part One of this two-part series, we discussed how printing companies are responding to changing market dynamics to future-proof their businesses, and offered some of the questions you may consider asking to stimulate new customer conversations. In Part Two, we look at people, processes and technology required to successfully and profitably change the conversation and deliver new services.
March 2013 US commercial printing shipments were down -$148 million (-2.2%) compared to 2012. The first quarter was down -$770 billion (-4%). On an inflation-adjusted basis, shipments were down -$270 million (-5.4%) and down -$1.05 billion (-5.4%) for the quarter.
Printing employment in April rose by 1,000 workers. It is always hard to determine if these were actual workers or if the changes were the result of issues with the estimation models of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Production workers were the greatest part of the increase (800).
There are several marriage mistakes that lead to divorce: cheating, dishonesty, addictions, and major changes in priorities. What does this have to do with your print management information system (Print MIS)? I am suggesting that your Print MIS is your most important business partner.
There is an assumption that as service provider there are very specific, almost predetermined ways that a workflow to support your business operations should be developed and deployed. However, sometimes, to use a somewhat overused term, you need to think out of the box.
While growing your client base is important, a strategic focus is essential for growing your business and setting yourself apart from the competition. This article describes how Sexton Printing is taking a strategic focus in the face of today’s changing industry.
The sales process sets up the critical transition period from lead to customer. Customers remember what was said in the sales process and they often use this to guide their approach to implementation. Don’t inadvertently focus your soon to be customers in the wrong direction.
Recently, WhatTheyThink joined more than 7,000 marketing professionals from more than 30 countries at the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City. This is the world’s largest digital marketing conference, according to Adobe. It was a great place to network with marketers, benefit from great content and learn what marketers are thinking about the future of business communications and where their challenges lie.
We read a lot of articles and company profiles in the packaging trades that describe companies who are growing their businesses by focusing on a specific niche of the market and developing specialized offerings to serve that niche. I recently interviewed Preston Herrin and Patrick Green of trade printer 4over headquartered in Glendale California who described for me their new offering 4over Packaging.
David Zwang takes a look at today's announcement by Xerox of their new Versant 2100 press and provides some insight into how the press was developed and what impact it will have on the mid-entry-level production market.
The importance of a strategic business approach is becoming increasingly common as today’s technology-charged environment demands rapid change from us all. This article pulls ideas from Erika Andersen’s book entitled Being Strategic and describes how IMS, Inc. is serving as a role model to the industry by performing true strategic thinking.
Circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers recorded a second consecutive year of growth, rising 3.7% to $10.87 billion in 2013 according to figures released by the Newspaper Association of America. Total revenue was $37.59 billion in 2013, a loss of 2.6 percent over 2012.
Below is the latest set of multipliers based on the Consumer Price Index. Multiply your historical financial statements by the figures below to adjust data to the CPI for the first quarter of this year.
The traditional divide between commercial and packaging printers continues to blur as commercial printers seek opportunities in packaging where they can apply their talents, utilize their capital equipment investments, and transition to the packaging industry.
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. Here is what certification means to four printers.
For the year, profits were $4.34 billion. On an inflation-adjusted basis, that was the highest level of industry profits since 2007. This is despite there being $28 billion less printing shipments, 8,000 fewer printing establishments, and 73,000 fewer employees. It was the best profits per establishment ($173,000) since 2000.
The concept of re-evaluating your strategic business plan often gets pushed to the wayside as you get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business. Erika Andersen’s book entitled Being Strategic provides a step-by-step model that business owners can use to build out their strategies. This article provides an overview of the book’s key points of advice.
Profits per employee increased to higher levels since 2000. Industry consolidation is a big factor in this report. It is not just mergers and acquisitions, but also plant closures and bankruptcies, and the opening of new businesses that absorb the best and most appropriate resources of the closed plants, and also the strategic changes that surviving companies make as they respond and anticipate marketplace changes, absorbing the sales volume of departed competitors.
On a recent visit to Salt Lake City, I had the pleasure of spending time at Hudson Printing. The company’s tagline is Reinvent Print, and it boasts a Director of Innovation. Read more about my visit and the great things happening at Hudson Printing.
All members of the packaging supply chain are under pressure to better address the needs of their customers and offer more efficient products and services. This has led to the development of systems that are classified as “disruptive” to address “areas of need” or “pain points” in the process.
Results are determined by our words as well as our actions. This article explores Bill McGowan’s book entitled Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time can help you achieve the results that you want. It also highlights the key principles for effective communication that are highlighted in the book.
Three weeks into his new job as Kodak’s Chief Executive Officer and a member of its Board of Directors, Jeffrey L. Clarke conducted a briefing with the printing trade media. WhatTheyThink’s Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was on the line and shares some of the thoughts and insights from the call.
One of the measures of the health of the labor market is the comparison of the total population to civilian employment. This measure has yet to approach levels achieved prior to the recession. This measure is important because it follows the growth in population. The number of workers is now nearly what it was at the start of the recession, but population has grown about 6% since that time. In rough terms, this means that the economy is short about 5.6 million jobs.
Industrial printing is a massive industry, serving vertical markets from aerospace to electronics, and from medical to interior design. What makes industrial printing (for the most part) unique (and mostly hidden from view) is that most industrial printing companies are not “print for pay” enterprises.
Reaching target audiences typically means connecting with these consumers on their desktops, laptops, tablets, and/or smartphones. This article explores how GTxcel is working with its customers to turn a printed document into a browser-based digital edition that can be enjoyed by readers on a desktop/laptop, tablet, smartphone, or any web-enabled device.
In preparation for this article, David spoke with a wide format print service provider with a portfolio of disparate equipment that implemented the first phase of a production workflow system to automate and optimize some of his processes. The results were quite impressive.
Andy Tribute reviews the nanography printing process and where Landa is with commercial availability of its Nanographic presses. How the claimed advantages of Nanographic presses compare to modern sheetfed offset and liquid toner technology and inkjet systems from Canon/Océ, Xeikon and Konica Minolta.
The Ipex 2014 event in London was not one for major product introductions. The size of the event was much smaller than originally planned due to the withdrawal of many of the major suppliers. Highlights include Konica Minolta, FFEI, LumeJet, Scodix, Riso and others.
At Dscoop9, the organization debuted Dscoop University, a member educational initiative announced last year that has come to fruition in a big way. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne provides insight for our readers into the competitive advantage that this offering provides for Dscoop members.
In Part One of this Two-Part series, learn how to “up your game” in sales by changing the customer conversation. Are you “talking the talk” and “walking the walk” in a way that reflects the way marketers approach their day? In Part Two, we will look at the people, process and technology required to successfully and profitably change customer relationship dynamics.
Ipex 2014, which moved from Birmingham to London, was anticipated to be the key event for availability of the raft of new digital presses announced at drupa 2012. Unfortunately Ipex was hit with two major difficulties. First the printing industry did not appear to be recovering from the recession, and second almost none of the new products announced at drupa were going to be ready for release by March 2014.
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.
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.