WhatTheyThink

Commentary & Analysis

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Print Service Providers: Redefining Business Blueprints

David Thomson’s book entitled Blueprint to a Billion: 7 Essentials to Achieve Exponential Growth researched all the American companies that went public after 1980 and grew to produce revenues of over $1 billion. Success in today’s market involves targeting customers with the right benefits bundle, delivering these benefits effectively, and delivering services that offer emotional as well as functional benefits. Citing recent research from InfoTrends, this article explores how print service providers are redefining their own business blueprints.

Postal Vision 2020; USPS at a Crossroads

A confluence of 150 innovative business thinkers and postal influencers gathered in Arlington, Virginia June 15 to consider and craft a bold vision for the American postal ecosystem looking ahead to 2020.

PSDA Revitalized Through New Management Arrangement

Last year, PSDA (Print Services & Distribution Association) announced it had entered into a management agreement with association management firm SmithBucklin, the same organization that manages Dscoop and the XMPie Users Group. WhatTheyThink checked in with PSDA Board President Bill Prettyman and Executive Vice President Matt Sanderson to see how things were proceeding.

Changing Our Mindset, Part 1 of 2

Dr. Joe takes a hard look at the nature of media, the costs and definition of journalism, and what cloud computing means. It's one of those eclectic mixes of data and information that the good Doctor has been known to conjure up. The brew is so big that it has to be spread over two columns! Watch for the next edition on July 11th.

Q and A: Sustainability in Print

Sustainability is very much in vogue for print corporations. But what sustainability actually means and its role in the industry is evolving and changing, so the directors of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Sustainable Print Systems Laboratory answered questions for WhatTheyThink’s Stacey Skotzko.

Market Transformation: Print Service Providers and In-Plants Step Up to the Challenge

Making the transformation from a print service provider into a cross-media and marketing service provider requires business repositioning, innovation, and redefinition of the overall value proposition. Service providers are working to gain a solid understanding of the next phase in the cross-media value chain as well as the implications for their businesses. Citing recent research, this article discusses how savvy service providers are reinventing themselves as they strive to meet marketers’ needs.

Deconstructing Deals That Didn’t Happen (Part 1)

M&A transactions sometimes fall through. Poor judgment, misinformation, adverse business developments, and personal antagonisms can drive principals apart despite the mutual advantages of deals that should bring them together. This two-part article examines how and why they fail.

Integration: What's It Really All About?

"Integration" is as common of a word in technology as "synergy" is in business. Integration may not mean much to you, but it should because it unlocks opportunities for workflow automation and optimization. Bryan Yeager tells us all about it.

Old Rules Still Apply: Getting Great Response from Your Communications

With all that has changed in commercial communications in the last 25 years…with email and the web…mobile technology…and social media…could direct response rules developed over 25 years ago still be relevant and useful today? In actuality, all the new media and messaging developments have INCREASED our opportunities to create, deliver and analyze measureable communications. Here is a fresh take on old rules of thumb that can dramatically improve response and engagement in prospect and customer communications.

Industry Veteran Joe Demharter Speaks About Current Role at Presstek

Joe Demharter retired from The Pitman Company about three years ago, where he was President for eight years. After two years of taking it easy, he decided to get back in the game. During this interview, he explains why, and offers advice to printers for a successful future.

Six Consecutive Profitable Quarters for U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses

The first quarter of 2011 continued a welcome continuation of profitability for the industry. The industry shakeout of unprofitable businesses, and the better management of healthier businesses continues to create an improved bottom line, but there are still great challenges ahead. The restructuring of the industry will be a continuing process in 2011 and beyond.

Océ and manroland, an update

Andy Tribute attended the recent Océ Production Printing Summit and he comments on new Océ inkjet presses, the offering of pigment inks for certain markets, and the strategic alliance between Océ and manroland.

Will We Be Pining for 2008 the Way We Miss 1998?

We wish April showers were dollars flowing into print businesses, but that did not seem to happen. Who would have thought that we would miss 2004-2008, looking at that period as a time of stability? One of our recovery indicators, the NASDAQ, seems to have relapsed and may be heading for rehab. Perhaps the wild and fun ride it had on Ben Bernanke's QE2 has now come to an end. It may not get another cruise until he pilots a brand new ship, QE3, but rumors of that cruise liner's voyage are just that-rumors. QE2's huge midnight buffet was nice, but the economic heartburn may take a while to pass.

Frank Thoughts

All communication will some day be reduced to tweets -- small bursts of information 140 characters in length. They are the bumper stickers of the 21st century. Here are some of mine.

The New Value-Add Equation

With today's generation of high-tech consumers, the use of a multi-media strategy is essential to better communication. In an environment where consumers are "always on," marketing executives must fashion advertising and marketing that is anchored firmly in relevance, interactivity, and measurability. This article provides a look into some of the firms that are stepping up to the challenge of becoming true cross-media partners.

April 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Down

April 2011 commercial printing shipments were $7.08 billion, down -$109 million (-1.5%) compared to 2010. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were down -$366 million (-4.5%).

What does the Groupon IPO have to do with print?

What does the Groupon IPO have to do with print? Or maybe we should say, what does print have to do with the Groupon IPO? In a word: Eric Lefkofsky. That would be the Eric Lefkofsky who founded Innerworkings.

Legacy Decisions and Facing Uncertainty

Every established business works with previous decisions, no matter their subject (technology, business strategies, or personnel), they all share a common challenge to change. You are faced with moving from a certain state (your legacy decision) to an uncertain state (the better results you seek).

Mobile’s Not Just About Marketing; It’s About Optimizing Production

Mobile technology is not only changing the ways companies market. It is fundamentally changing the way people conduct business, and the printing industry is no exception. Bryan Yeager highlights some recent mobile developments related to production workflow.

Business Development: How the Vendors Can Help

As printers continue to evolve their businesses to meet the new market realities, one of the challenges they face is how to optimize their operations and market their new products and services. This is an area where suppliers to the industry can provide significant help. This interview with Kodak's Deb Stranaghan outlines the new Kodak MarketMover program, designed to help printers transform their businesses.

QR Codes: A Reality for B2B Marketers

Although they first gained popularity overseas, QR codes are now becoming popular in the United States. This is particularly the case for marketing applications. As is the case in the business-to-consumer (B2C) market, QR codes can be used to bridge the gap between print and mobile in the business world. This article discusses how B2B marketers are leveraging QR codes to expand their reach and improve their return on investment.

BBH Anticipates Sale to Private Investment Firm; Readies for Rebranding

Historically a major player in the printing world, Böwe Bell and Howell is seeking to move beyond it's recent Chapter 11 filing and redefine itself. WhatTheyThink outlines the company's current situation and what lies ahead.

Web to Print – It is the Future for Print

I recently attended and spoke at the Xerox Forum, an event run in Berlin by Xerox Europe. I was speaking on a panel and was asked what I would recommend for printers to invest in within the next year. My answer was that I would recommend developing their Internet expertise in the area of web to print to make it easier for customers to work with them.

You Paid to Have it Printed & Mailed When?

Last Friday I received an advertisement in the mail from a dealership that has multiple locations within the Southeast. They were having an open house at all five of their facilities which included a hamburger or hotdog lunch and door prizes. I read the oversized tri-fold mailer as I walked from the mailbox into the house and then onto the back deck and sat down.

Consolidated Graphics emerge a Resounding Success

This is the second year for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) emerge conference. This is a truly unique event, which I had the pleasure of attending this year. The nearly 500 CGX customers who attended came to learn about new technology, new processes and stay current with the trends in a dynamic environment.

Data-Mail, Inc.: Success = Full Service Plus Innovation

Founded in 1971 by Andy and Joyce Mandell, Data-Mail has evolved into a full service print and mail processing company. One of the key principles in the establishment of the company was full service from a single source. This article provides an overview of Data-Mail’s capabilities, technological investments, and campaigns.

As the Media Mix Evolves, Print Remains Important

Today, digital technologies and applications largely dominate the buzz generated in the worlds of media and marketing. Does that mean that print will fall by the wayside, or is print evolving with the general media mix? Bryan Yeager explores the relevancy and importance of print in a growing world of digital media.

Urgency Gets No Summer Vacation This Year

What do Social Security checks, grandchildren, bedtime and doctors have in common? Dr. Joe explains it all, and has some suggestions about what the industry should be thinking about during summer vacations and summer shutdowns. He's on the "it's 1994 again" rant once more, so you've been warned.

Millions of books, one at a time

In 2008, the production of non-traditional print-on-demand books exceeded traditional book publishing for the first time. Since then, its growth has been overwhelming. The market is now closing in on 10 times the output of traditional titles. What is more amazing is that this growth has been one book at a time.

Democratization of Professional Printed SMB Marketing Materials

Innovation can increase the size of existing markets by expanding the addressable market size. While many printers are looking to expand outside of print, there is still room to expand the print market into previously unaddressable segments by leveraging technology.

Is Memjet a Disruptive Technology? Let's Ask Delphax

WhatTheyThink has published various pieces about Memjet over the last several months, but most of it has been focused on the label and office markets. At the end of last month, Memjet's latest partner was announced-Delphax Technologies, a provider of high-speed digital monochrome printing. The strategy is that the Memjet collaboration will jumpstart them as a player in the color digital market. Article

Printing Industry Suppliers Work to be Green

Printing industry suppliers have worked hard to introduce products to be more environmentally friendly. A number of suppliers are also working to lessen their environmental impact in manufacturing and distribution. Here are a few of the many examples of how industry suppliers are practicing good environmental stewardship.

Reaching the Next-Generation CMO

During the second quarter of 2011, executive search firm Russel Reynolds highlighted the emergence of next-generation marketers who are expanding beyond traditional marketing to span areas such as digital, mobile, and social marketing. This article outlines how executives in the printing industry can support tomorrow's marketing executives and help ensure their own success in the future.

Solving Marketers' Problems with Data-Driven Solutions

To successfully build out marketing services and solutions, companies need to ask what problems they're trying to solve. Data remains a sticking point for marketers; a problem for service providers to solve. Bryan Yeager explores these data-related issues and how they can be addressed.

Standard Register: A Transformation Story

Standard Register is nearly 100 years old, but with its recent rebranding and the transformation efforts being driven by President & CEO Joseph P. Morgan, Jr., the company is placing itself squarely in the 21st Century. It has reported three quarters in a row of profit and has a positive cash flow, a sign that Morgan’s transformation strategy is working.

The L-Shaped Recovery Rolls On

Unemployment went up, but the headlines were happy. Commodities prices drop sharply, but how far they have risen seems to be forgotten. The Fed feels rewarded for its inaction, and Dr. Joe finds a silver lining.

EFI Connect Continues to Grow

EFI held its 12th annual Connect users' conference April 26th through 29th at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Attended by approximately 1,000 customers and a record number of partner sponsors, along with an international group of journalists, Connect was a success by anyone's measure.

March 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up; Twelve Months of Increases

March printing shipments were up, resulting in 12 consecutive months of increase. Dr. Webb explains how the easy comparisons to the prior year are about to end, and that the balance of 2011 will be about the same as 2010. He reviews the upcoming data revisions from the Commerce Department on May 13, the importance of inflation adjusting company financial data, and the shipment rates of Canada's commercial printing industry.

QR Codes Are Everywhere!

Statistics from Mobio Identity Systems, Inc. show that QR code scanning is becoming increasingly popular among U.S. consumers. Magazines, retail establishments, and industry vendors are also beginning to adopt QR codes to entice people into using their mobile phones to interact more deeply with advertising. This article provides compelling statistics and discusses how companies of all sizes are leveraging QR codes to expand their reach.

Is Consolidation the Future? (Part Two)

In a recent article I covered the acquisition of part of St Ives Group, one of the largest web offset printing operations in Europe by a competitor, Walstead Investments, to create the largest magazine web offset printer in the UK. Since then there have been significant developments among Walstead’s competitors that are likely to change the structure of magazine printing in Europe. This article covers the latest developments in this market area

Five Big Picture Trends to Consider as you Position Your Business for the Future

As you consider how to position your business for the future, one important step is to look “outside in”. This means looking beyond your core strengths, even looking beyond the needs of your customers. This involves an understanding of big, broad, macro trends that will influence how people will live and work, as well as where opportunities will exist for businesses like yours in the years to come.

Wrapping Your Head Around Analytics

The term “analytics” is now a common part of the business and technology lexicons due to the increasing importance and ubiquity of data. You may have heard of analytics, but what’s it all about and why does it matter to your print business? Bryan Yeager helps you wrap your head around analytics.

Mercury Print Productions – Learning Lessons about Educational Publishing

Digital technology has disrupted and transformed the established teaching and learning paradigm. Today’s students are captivated by the personalization and socialization of online tools - the ability to build large networks of friends; share their thoughts, feelings, and goals; and communicate as they wish. Digital tools are having a tremendous impact on the educational publishing market. This article discusses how Mercury Print Productions is addressing today’s changing market dynamics.

InnerWorkings Continues its Quest to be a Big Player

Since 2001, InnerWorkings has been swiftly growing and trying to position itself to overhaul the print procurement world. The future does appear bright for the Chicago-based company; however, it still has to work against established trends in printing and angle itself to be different - even revolutionary - from its competition.

Cyril Scott, a CGX Company, Invests More than $10 Million Despite Economic Downturn

Lancaster, Ohio, based Cyril Scott, a CGX company, has invested some $10 million in equipment, technology and people over the past two years, despite a difficult economic climate. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Cyril Scott President Matt Coltharp to find out more.

No Time for Social Media? There are options... (Part Four of Four)

In this final part of a four-part series, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviews two more printing firms about their social media experiences. Part One examined the reasons why printing firms need to be engaged in social media and reviewed offerings by MarketingIdeasForPrinters that make social media as easy as a click of the mouse. Part Two reviewed the Grow Socially offering for Social Media services. And Part Three looks at the experiences of a supplier, Komori and a printer, Quad/Graphics.

Shocking News! Gas is One-Fifth the Price it Was in 1980: Here's Why

Things are never what they seem in economics, like how we paid $10.78 per gallon for gas in 1980. Dr. Joe explains the strange math that reminds us about the distortions of inflation and the wonder of ingenuity, and how news reporters unaware of them. Pepsi made a huge blunder with social media, but we should be encouraged by their mistake because it should inspire print business executives that they are just as smart as those Ivy League execs with all their market research reports. We may have the ultimate weapon: common sense.

Frank looks at recent industry events

We’ve asked if the print industry can still support multiple trade shows. Now Frank is wondering about trade associations. He went to a couple recent events and he’s reported back to us on what kind of year we’re having on the event circuit.

Devil in the Details: Issues and Answers in M&As

A successful M&A transaction is the sum of many carefully fashioned parts. This month, New Direction Partners and Margolis Becker delve into the details with comments on how deals can be influenced by client concentration; plant ownership; non-compete agreements with salespeople; acquired management teams; post-acquisition price increases; and personally guaranteed debt.

Q and A with former Xerox and Vertis Exec, Michael Kucharski

Michael Kucharski is a longtime printing executive boasting a career at Xerox where he became senior Vice-President of Graphic Communications Business. He was also General Manager of Integrated Media Solutions with Vertis Communications. WhatTheyThink caught up with him picked his brain about where he sees the print industry going.

No Time for Social Media? There are options... (Part Three of Four)

In this third part of a four-part series, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviews one printing firm and one supplier to the industry about their social media experiences. Part Four will contain the final two printer interviews. Part One examined the reasons why printing firms need to be engaged in social media. Part Two reviewed Grow Socially’s offering for Social Media services.

Have You Had “The Talk” Yet?

If you don’t have an up-to-date view of the needs of your key customers – at a deep level – it can be hard to expand your key customer relationships today. If you are looking to move “upstream” and get more involved with customers in terms of marketing services, creative work, mission critical applications and business processes, the question is: Have you had “The Talk” with your customers?

No Time for Social Media? There are options... (Part Two of Four)

In this second part of a Four-part series, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reviews another option for printing firms to get into the social media game, from Grow Socially. She spoke with CEO John Foley to learn more about the kind of value they’re offering their clients.

Paper is Getting a Bad Rap Part 2; What can you do?

This is a follow up to last month’s article, “Paper is Getting a Bad Rap”. It focuses on what individuals and organizations are doing to help clear up some of the misinformation surrounding paper and print.

Workflow Automation Priorities and Efficiency Initiatives Revealed

While printers have been pursuing workflow automation to increase efficiency for a number of years, there is always room for improvement. Bryan Yeager provides the latest data to highlight trends on printers’ workflow priorities & initiatives.

Heidelberg - Looking Good for the Future!

Things are looking great for Heidelberg. Andy Tribute looks at the recent moves the company has made to position itself financially and strategically and discusses how its relationship with Ricoh could influence its future.

Still Trudging Through and Trudging Some More

Today's economic conditions make economists wish they had more hands and while making the common people more frustrated in their attempts to figure it out. Oil and food are rising in price, but the economy seems better in some ways with some reports of improving employment. GDP is still rising, but some industries are still suffering. Dr. Joe explains why just staying busy is not enough and that it's what you're doing that really matters.

Stories from the Farthest Shores of Sheetfed: Five Printers Share Their Experiences with KBA’s Mighty Rapida 205 (Part II)

Five printers representing nearly half the installed base of KBA Rapida 205s in the U.S. say that the performance of this 59.5" x 81" press is as impressive as sheet size. They speak assuredly of the big improvements that the industry’s biggest press has made, or is fully expected to make, to the foundations of their businesses.

Sales: Resisting the “Yes” Temptation

Sales isn’t just about being able to meet the stated needs of the prospect. Sales is a dance that starts with a gut feeling. First gain trust and show respect. Only then will your prospect be tuned into your intellectual pitch.

Books are Not Dead… The Digital Print Opportunity Abounds!

There is a new value chain for book publishing. Instead of trying to guess about print runs (especially in the face of e-books), major publishers are simply printing books on demand. Authors are using this model and selling their creations directly to the public. This has caused the market to become considerably more unpredictable.

Stories from the Farthest Shores of Sheetfed: Five Printers Share Their Experiences with KBA’s Mighty Rapida 205 (Part I)

The smallest format it can print is a bigger piece of paper than most sheetfed plants have ever handled. It’s hard to avoid superlatives when describing KBA’s 59.5" x 81" Rapida 205, the world’s largest sheetfed offset press—especially when five printers representing nearly half of its installed base in the U.S. say that its performance is every bit as impressive as its sheet size.

U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses Produce Estimated $1.11 Billion in Profits in Fourth Quarter 2010

Dr. Joe Webb has compiled reports on US commercial printing profits going back to 1995, and brings it all current to Q4 2010. This report examines the latest trends in shipments, profits and capacity for the industry, of which the Federal Reserve just made revisions going back almost 25 years. How does Joe recommend printers steer the course? What will it take to get the print industry out of the hole? Dr. Webb has insights that can help.

No Time for Social Media? There are options...

In this first part of a three-part series, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne looks at options for printing firms to get into the social media game. This article examines offerings by MarketingIdeasForPrinters that make social media as easy as a click of the mouse.

February 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.4%, Eleven Months of Y-O-Y Increases

Dr. Webb looks at February's shipments, Canada's January shipments, and updated forecasts for the North American printing industry to 2017. There's an updated GDP Forecast model and commentary on why that model is not totally reliable for forecasting the print industry. Will the rest of 2011 be as positive as January and February? Dr. Joe discusses.

Marketing Automation: Adding Science to the Art of Marketing

Marketers of all sizes are seeking providers that can create automated programs to welcome new customers, cross-sell and up-sell to existing customers, nurture new leads, increase customer satisfaction, and win back customers. Fundamentally, these marketers want to add science to the art of marketing. This article provides examples of companies that are currently focused on driving marketing automation.

Is Consolidation the Future?

The planned sale of St Ives Web to Walstead creates the largest magazine printer in the UK. Is this trend for consolidation a key for bringing the magazine market under control with capacity geared more at publishers needs, and also bringing production prices back to realistic levels? Will this consolidation trend continue in other print markets?

PublishingXchange Conference New at On Demand 2011; Mobile and Cloud Hot Topics

Yesterday saw the conclusion of On Demand 2011, which also ran in conjunction with info360 (formerly AIIM) and a new conference, PublishingXchange, at the Washington D.C. convention center. Two key digital printing players, Xerox and Kodak, were absent. What's in store for next year when the show(s) move to New York's Javits Center in June of 2012?

Print plus mobile brings awareness and engagement

Brands, agencies, and traditional media marketers are finding innovative ways to utilize mobile barcodes as an effective means of passing product information in-store, bringing static ads to life, and engaging customers through contests or loyalty reward systems. This article considers some of the things that successful marketers are doing to optimize the print/mobile customer experience.

Despite Increased Competition, Opportunities Abound with Personalized Communications

We’ve all heard about the promise that personalized communications can deliver, and many service providers have gotten in the game, creating more competition than ever before. While there is substantial opportunity, service providers need to expand capabilities, differentiate offerings, and meet marketers’ needs to remain competitive.

“I Can’t Eat an iPad”

While he loves computers, when it comes to dinnertime, Dr. Joe still prefers food. Seems the Fed would prefer we think otherwise. As far as understanding inflation at its core, a good meal can go a long way if you have the money for it. He takes a new look at a dead French economist. And considers the print execs you won’t see in San Francisco mid-April.

Paper is Getting a Bad Rap

We have all seen the words at the bottom of the email “Save a tree – Don’t print this”. Paper is getting a bad rap and it is important that we communicate the positive aspects of paper. Domtar and other industry members have been working to educate the public on paper use and its impact. This article summarizes some of the key issues.

HP and O'Neil Data Systems Showcase Brand-New T400 Color Inkjet Web Press

HP is upping the ante in the inkjet game with the new T400 Color Inkjet Web Press announced today during a press event being held at Los Angeles based O'Neil Data Systems. With a 42” web width, the T400 offers more than just raw speed, promising to be a game changer for several target markets.

Target Your Sales Team or Accept Chaos

Sales is the start of every business process, this is where expectations are set. The temptation to say “yes” to everything has repercussions downstream especially with technology sales.

Pouring Another “Cup O Joe”: the Essentials of M&A Valuation

"What's my company worth to a buyer?" Easy to ask, but not so easy to answer correctly. This month, New Direction Partners and Margolis Becker explain the multiple-of-EBITDA formula that's used to determine pricing in many conventional acquisitions. They also discuss asset-based valuation for tuck-ins and note the commission structures that sellers can expect to receive in M&As of this type.

Hybrid Printing – The Future of Direct Mail?

Andy hadn’t heard much reporting on the process of adding inkjet printing heads to existing equipment - so he went out looking for it. He’s covered the latest and greatest on inkjet finshing , and he visited one of the largest UK direct mail printers to see how they’re utilizing the technology.

DG3 acquires the Ace Group: What does it all mean?

On Friday, March 4th, DG3 North America announced the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of The Ace Group of Manhattan. DG3 touted its ability to expand its Interactive Services group through this acquisition. This interview with Ace Group’s Val DiGiacinto and DG3’s Tom Saggiomo digs deeper into the transaction and what it holds for the future of both firms.

Making Ideas Happen… It’s About Leadership!

In 2010, Scott Belsky published a book entitled Making Ideas Happen. In last week’s article, Barb Pellow discussed how the recent Dscoop6 conference provided a demonstration of Belsky’s ideas in action. This article explains the dynamics required to make ideas happen. It also details how executives from companies like Tukaiz and Frecklebox are leading by example.

Print UV Conference Keeps Printers, Vendors All On the Same Wavelength

The Fourth Annual Print UV Conference brought printers and vendors together to pool their knowledge, share tips, techniques, and processes, and solve problems. Two days’ worth of sessions showcased new ink and substrate developments, case studies, and a plethora of panel discussions and interactive Q&As.

January 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.1%, Good Start to New Year

Dr. Webb comments on what the forecasting models are projecting for shipments out to 2017. The podcast also includes an analysis of how the industry has changed between 2000 and 2009 based on the latest data from the Commerce Department.

Web Enablement and Engagement: We’re Just Getting Started

Over the course of the last decade, Web-enabled printing has grown from 3% of overall print shipments to 15%, and that number is expected to double over the next five years. It is clearly time for print businesses to overcome the technological, cultural, and educational barriers of Web enablement and engagement to capture this growing opportunity.

The Frosting Looks Great, But the Cake is Awful

Reading past the headlines seems to be Dr. Joe's specialty since no one else is doing it, especially with last Friday's unemployment report. Printing shipments were up in 2010, and January was a strong month, but printing employment seems to tell a different tale. Beware of academics bearing jargon: Dr. Joe explains why “Ph.D.” sometimes, as the old joke goes, means “piled higher and deeper.”

Making Ideas Happen… It’s About Community!

In 2010, Scott Belsky published a book entitled Making Ideas Happen. The premise for this book is that anyone can develop the capacity to make ideas happen. In this article, Barb Pellow discusses her experiences from the recent Dscoop6 conference and explains how the event provided a demonstration of Belsky’s ideas in action.

After bankruptcy, Vertis moves forward

Baltimore-based Vertis Communications exited from its second bankruptcy in two years just before the start of 2011. As Gerald Sokol Jr. replaces former Xerox executive Quincy L. Allen as chief executive officer, the company now hopes to make big changes and advance into new partnerships.

Graphics of the Americas Keynote Speaker, Session Presenters Look to Future of Media

Knight Foundation director of digital media John Bracken gave the keynote address at Graphics of the Americas last week in which he discussed the future of media and journalism in the age of social media. Other sessions focused on traditional print business issues, as well as integrating new and social media initiatives.

Xerox Comments on Inkjet, Heidelberg Digital Deal

One of the more important announcements at Hunkeler Innovationdays was the Xerox waterless production inkjet engine; Xerox updates its positioning. Soon after this event was the long-awaited announcement by Heidelberg of its digital partner—Ricoh. Sherburne highlights pros and cons of this arrangement and shares a prepared statement from Xerox along with some interview comments about the deal.

FESPA’s Global Business Forum “Green Day” Takes the Long View of Sustainability

The FESPA Americas’ Global Business Forum devoted a half-day suite of sessions to sustainability in the printing industry, offering perspectives from equipment vendors, commercial printers, certification organizations, and independent consultants—as well as a keynote address from Nike.

Integrated Print Workflows: Overlapping Technologies

The business process of print spans the needs of several technology solutions. Whenever multiple technologies exist, there is potential overlap and the need for integration. Get clear on what each technology’s core purpose is and then determine your source of master data throughout your workflow.

Mobile Barcode Campaigns: It’s All About the Experience

Two-dimensional barcodes have become the hot new response mechanism to use in marketing campaigns. While they add interactivity to print by connecting it directly to mobile devices, mobile barcodes can easily be misused and abused. By delivering a seamless, engaging experience, print and marketing service providers can achieve mobile marketing success and repeatable business.

UV Printing Comes Alive at Upcoming Print UV Conference

The upcoming Print UV Conference in Las Vegas will offer a wealth of information and resources about the technological, environmental, and business opportunities to be had with UV printing. Sessions run the gamut from new inks and substrates to selling and marketing UV-printed products.

Heidelberg – A Strategy for Succeeding in Digital Printing

As Heidelberg announces its plans to partner with Ricoh on a digital printing venture, Andy Tribute sees that Heidelberg has learned its lesson from its last foray into digital. He looks at the features of the press, its place in the pressroom and Heidelberg’s new relationship with Ricoh.

Hunkeler Innovationdays 2011 Draws Record Crowd

This year’s Hunkeler Innovationdays, held in Switzerland every other year, was a resounding success by anyone’s measure.  More than 5,000 attendees descended on Lucerne, Switzerland, taking up just about every available hotel room, to benefit from this highly focused digital printing event. Several suppliers chose this venue to make important announcements and to discuss future and planned digital printing/finishing innovations.

Caution: Risks of Economic Disappointment are Rising

Just as the economy seems to be improving, Dr. Joe is back with his Dr. Doom persona. He thinks it's justified based on the latest inflation and wage data, and makes the case accordingly. The pace of technological change seems to be independent of the economic situation, and while Dr. Joe suggests that caution is the economic watchword, he says that the continued rapid rate of technological change should lead to urgent and direct management action in print businesses.

Graphics of the Americas 2011 Heads North to Orlando; Increases Focus on Wide-Format

Next week’s 36th annual Graphics of the Americas show, colocated with FESPA Americas, increases its focus on educational programs for present and prospective wide-format service providers. The show also retains its focus on traditional printing, as well as content creation via the colocated Cre8 Conference targeted to graphic designers and publishers.

Seeking Inspiration from Outside Our Industry

Being in a rapidly evolving industry is always challenging. As you decide where to focus your business for the future, think about looking outside the industry for inspiration and new ideas. Here are two very different industries that bear an uncanny resemblance to printing/graphic arts – and offer lessons you can use in your own business.

Seize the Data and be Relevant!

Generating relevant marketing communications generally means creating personalization or customization for potential customers. Print and marketing service providers that are successfully participating in the more lucrative data-driven marketing value chain have four common traits—culture, people and processes, data, and technology. This article discusses the importance of these traits and includes examples of companies that are profiting from data-driven marketing.

Differentiation through large format presses

This article examines how to differentiate your printing company through the use of large format press equipment. It looks at how large format presses can create a competitive advantage for your company. Costs associated with moving to large format press equipment are also considered.

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee: Straight Talk about M&As in A “Cup O Joe”

The partners at New Direction Partners join financial management firm Margolis Becker for the monthly Cup O Joe, a conference call with printers on a selected topic. With the help of NDP partners Peter Schaefer and Jim Russell, Cup O Joe tackled the topic “Acquiring A Company from an Owner’s Perspective.” Some excerpts are presented here.

Hunkeler Innovationdays - Where It All Happens

Hunkeler Innovationdays running this week in Switzerland will cover trends and developments in digital printing and print finishing for digital printing. The following is a brief outline of the event, identifying some major announcements being made. WhatTheyThink will report on the event, keeping up to date with the latest news.

Xerox enters production inkjet game

Xerox chose Hunkeler Innovationdays 2011 in Lucerne, Switzerland as its platform to make its long-awaited production inkjet announcement.  The company has been showing technology concepts, beginning with drupa 2008, and speculation was it would be some time before they were able to get a product to market.  That time has come, with an innovative waterless printing process that can use virtually any type of uncoated substrate without pretreatment.

Cross-Media Services… Beyond Personalization

Customers are clearly in control of the media they consume. Mobile devices, iPods, DVRs, and the Internet have changed marketing forever. Effectively utilizing cross-media communication and giving prospects a variety of ways to respond can have a dramatic impact. Media dynamics are changing and we’ve covered how businesses are taking advantage of this evolution.