WhatTheyThink

Commentary & Analysis

Displaying 3401-3500 of thousands of articles

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.

Océ Print Business Forum Envisions the Future

Océ’s Envision the Future Forum, held last week in Houston, TX, drew on keynote presentations, strategy sessions, networking opportunities, and a print shop tour to help printers understand which aspects of print are growing, get a sneak peak at some cutting-edge “interactive print” applications, and develop business strategies for success.

Is Your Print Business Effectively Leveraging IT?

Print businesses are actively diversifying their services to include marketing services, online print ordering, and more. To enable quicker time-to-market and offer greater differentiation, printers are shifting the roles of their IT departments away from administration and closer to development. This article discusses why this shift is occurring and how your business can effectively deal with it.

The Employment Disappearing Act: Where Did 500,000 Jobs Go?

Sometimes you see a lot by looking, according to famed economist Yogi Berra. Somehow, the labor statisticians’ “whoops” factor involves over-counting the number of employed people by a mere half million. Then they say unemployment got better, except, of course, for the parts that got worse. At least there was exceptionally good news from the Institute of Supply Management reports, the best in quite a while. Dr. Joe explains what printers should assume in their planning, saying that skill really matters, and that luck will have nothing to do with it.

2010 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Finish at $86.7 Billion, +0.9% Versus 2009

December 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.48 billion, up $347 million (+4.9%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +3.3%. This brought the year's shipments to $86.7 billion.

Tribute looks at Océ

Andy Tribute looks at how the agreement between Océ and manroland is about more than just distribution but an opportunity for these two companies to leverage their strengths. And Andy tells us what's the big deal about Kodak entering the consulting business for the printing and publishing markets.

PrintChina Trade Show Scheduled for April 9-13, 2011 in DongGuan City

In mid-January, show organizers for PrintChina 2011 hosted more than 40 journalists from around the world to raise awareness about the importance of PrintChina and to encourage foreign visitors to attend the show. WhatTheyThink represented North America at this event, which featured presentations from government, industry and supplier representatives as well as a visit to a Chinese printing factory. Interesting data, and some thoughts about the future of print in China. Read more.

Inside Scoop on the EFI/Heidelberg Deal

Last week, EFI and Heidelberg announced an agreement under which Heidelberg will distribute the VUTEk GS series of superwide format digital printers to the commercial print market across the U.S. WhatTheyThink spoke with both Heidelberg and EFI to get the inside scoop on this deal.

Allegra: Retooling its franchise network with Marketing Central

This article provides a case history of the Allegra Network, a Michigan-based company that began franchising in 1977 and launched its franchise brand name in 1996. The Allegra Network is embarking on an aggressive plan to help its members evolve into cross-media specialists and marketing service providers who also excel at the delivery of print.

Visions of Vistaprint: Will Strong Financials Continue?

Vistaprint has been a unique model of success within the printing industry – particularly during financial downswings. Here is a closer look at the company as it seeks to stay ahead with new product lines and capitalizing on the Asia-Pacific market.

Printers Get Social: Industry Utilization Trends

As social media become more and more popular for personal use, it is becoming an increasingly common tool in the corporate world. Companies utilize social media in a number of ways to accomplish a variety of tasks. The print industry is not immune. Learn how they’re finding value in posting, updating and tweeting online.

In an M&A Deal, Time Is on Your Side—Until It Isn’t

Knowing when to do the deal is probably the trickiest judgment call in any merger of printing companies. Correct timing is a must for both parties, but choosing the right moment to step forward into the M&A marketplace rests with the seller. It’s a decision that calls for introspective as well as strategic thinking.

We’ve Moved: From Offline Print Business to PRIMARILY Online Print Business

Where does your business transition start? Changing WHAT you do or HOW you do it? The first step to evolving your business in the digital economy is to transition your existing business from an offline business to a primarily online business (HOW you do your business is leveraging the digital infrastructure).

What Are You REALLY Good At?

As communications channels and tools undergo seismic changes…and as sourcing options continue to expand…it has never been more vital to understand, build upon and expand your core competencies and company strengths. Here are some tools, techniques and elements that can help you discover and take maximum advantage of what your company really does best.

November U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.2%

November 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.48 billion, up $303 million (+4.2%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +4.2%. “This was a very encouraging month, and continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for eight months,” explained Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.

Where do Printers Get Their Information?

It’s no secret that the methods companies use to communicate with the public have begun shifting to electronic media. As printers shift to electronic media services and print e-commerce storefronts, the sources they use to obtain industry information are also changing. Recent research gives us a glimpse into the top sources that printers are leveraging to stay informed.

When Will Digital Printing Take Over from Offset Printing?

The recent study by PRIMIR showed the changes in the printing market for offset and digital and looked at when the “tipping point” when digital would be of more value than offset would take place. This article looks at the PRIMIR projections and compares them with figures generated by Heidelberg. The assessment shows that the “tipping point” is still years away and that there is a good future for offset printing.

Upcoming FESPA Americas 2011 to Offer Unique Hands-On Events for Screen, Textile, and Wide-Format Printers

FESPA Americas 2011 comes to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, in February, and offers business strategies, market trends, new technologies, and unique hands-on workshops for commercial printers, wide-format specialists, and screen printers. The Wrap Cup Masters is an open competition where contestants vie to wrap a variety of vehicles right at the show.

We Three Things of Disorientation Are

Dr. Joe digs into the details of the economy now that it's three years since the recession started, and eighteen months since the recovery started. Does it really feel like a recovery? The headlines of the various economic news stories seem to be quite different than reality, so Dr. Joe explains what's happening behind the scenes as he starts his ninth year with WhatTheyThink. And they said it wouldn't last.

Tips for Improving Operations in the New Year

This article includes tips for saving money and improving your operational excellence by using all your resources – especially your vendors. Areas covered include: consumables, freight, paper, and recycled waste. By picking one or two of these ideas you can improve your operation and lower your costs.

Eleven New Year’s Resolutions for 2011 to Add Value (and Profit)

It's a New Year, and we all know what that means... resolutions! Deciding what we want to achieve is easy, but actually reaching our objectives can be quite challenging. This article outlines eleven value-added strategies that graphic communications service providers can consider for additional success in the year ahead.

Former HP Executive Bill McGlynn Talks About New Role at Memjet

Bill McGlynn was well-known to many of our readers during his 25 years with HP, where he helped accelerate the company’s printing business from $150 million to $24 billion in annual sales, including his role in the Indigo acquisition which led HP’s entry into the commercial printing space.  Now McGlynn is building Memjet’s Home & Office Business as its President.  Read more…

Pitney Bowes Launches Digital Mail Initiative

Mailing giant Pitney Bowes has announced a new secure online mailbox initiative.  Volly is a secure repository for bills, promotional mail and even household documents that attempts to solve many of the issues that have been barriers to more rapid adoption of online billing.  Read more...

Hunkeler CEO Stefan Hunkeler Discusses Hunkeler Innovationdays

As the WhatTheyThink team prepares to head for Lucerne, Switzerland in February to attend the Hunkeler Innovationdays, we talked with Hunkeler CEO Stefan Hunkeler to gain insight into what to expect at this unique event. We also asked Hunkeler to share his thoughts about the current state of the industry.

CGX CEO Joe Davis Shares Latest CGX Strategies, Industry Insight

What better way to end the year than by having a conversation with Joe Davis, CEO of Consolidated Graphics and WhatTheyThink’s Print CEO of the Year.  Davis tells us what’s new at Consolidated Graphics, talks about acquisition strategy, and shares valuable insight into the strategies that have delivered business success for the company.

Deck the Halls with... New Year’s Resolutions for the M&A-Minded

In the time-honored tradition of ending the present year with resolutions for improvement in the year to come, New Direction Partners offers guidance for print company owners who may find themselves on one side or the other of an M&A transaction in 2011.

Employment Trends to Propel Business Success

Press headlines and reported hiring trends in both the U.S. and Canada indicate a modest increase over the past few months. PrintLink believed employment would start to moderately improve at the end of Q3/beginning of Q4 2010... and our stats demonstrate this is indeed the case. See how this should impact the way your thinking about hiring.

Just in case you didn’t get it…

In the twelfth and last article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang finishes his discussion about cross-media communications and production basics, this time with a review of what you should be doing and why you should be doing it.

Christmas is Coming and So is Mobile Marketing… Get Ready!

Retailers are working to combine the power of mobile and print as they attempt to convince consumers to shop with them. They can get the word out about holiday sales via print, SMS, the mobile Web, and branded applications, while brands can use various forms of mobile advertising to achieve their holiday-specific goals. This article provides examples of several retailers that are using mobile marketing to increase their reach.

Kodak Puts in A Good Word for Print Before, During and After the Advertising Age “Media Evolved” Conference

In the minds of media professionals whose the icon is the iPad, how much attention can print and other traditional channels expect to command? Speakers at this high-level event indicated that no matter what media are used, the quality of the content is what spells the difference between virality and oblivion for the brand message.

What Business Are You In?

In a recent article titled “How Well Is Your Business Positioned for the Future”, we posed a series of six strategic questions designed to prompt some reflection.  In this article we elaborate on the question: What Business Are You In?

Pearson Leads the Switch to Color Digital Book Printing

This past year several publishers realized they could increase their print runs for digital books beyond what was previously thought profitable. The key was high-speed, continuous inkjet printing. WhatTheyThink caught up with Pearson Publishing to explore their thoughts on this new format.

Countdown to FESPA Americas 2011

Set to open February 24th, FESPA Americas 2011 is the best opportunity the print industry gets to bring its international community together. We’ve highlighted six special features of the show that promise to entertain and enlighten.

U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses Produce Estimated $1.1 Billion in Profits in Third Quarter 2010

The third quarter of 2010 continued a welcome continuation of profitability for the industry. It has had seven consecutive months of increased sales, but it's clear that the profits trend is increasing, but the long term sales trend is flat.

Evaluating the Total Cost of Ownership

Even if you know the price of new equipment, do you really know the total cost? We show you the questions you should be asking to get a comprehensive picture of what your total cost of ownership looks like.

Cross-Media Communication: It’s Not Just Buzz, It’s Your Future!

The formerly manageable world of marketing that primarily used print and mass media has exploded into countless choices related to cross-media communications. Marketers can now successfully engage their customers to achieve higher brand awareness and consumer ownership of their brands.

How Well Is Your Business Positioned for the Future?

Six strategic questions designed to prompt reflection and introspection. All are designed to get you thinking about positioning your business with more clarity.

OK… I get it, but where do I start?

David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of how you should begin your new voyage into Cross-Media Production.

October U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +1.4%

October 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.61 billion, up $108 million (+1.4%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +0.3%.

A Short Course in the Fundamentals of M&A

New Direction Partners has taken its M&A consulting on the road in a series of presentations. In these briefings, NDP offers an overview of the business climate for mergers and acquisitions, along with practical advice for owners pondering the next step in the life cycles of their companies.

Deinking… What Does It Mean to the Environment?

Recovered paper is currently one of the most important raw materials in paper and paperboard production. To keep products other than cardboard and packing paper lightweight, the ink must be removed during recycling. As such, most recovered paper undergoes the deinking process. In October 2010, INGEDE News reported issues with HP’s deinking processes. WTT Contributor, Barb Pellow, had the opportunity to interview Nils Miller of HP. This article discusses the specifics of the interview and provides HP’s perspective on the INGEDE piece.

The “Right Size” is the Same Size: Heidelberg Offers Another 40" Press in the Speedmaster CX 102

Believing that there’s room in the 40" market for an addition to its Speedmaster line, Heidelberg rolled out the Speedmaster CX 102 in a customer event at its U.S. headquarters earlier this month. This newly engineered machine is said to transfer the best features of Heidelberg’s XL-series presses to the 102 format, its most successful product category.

X-Rite – The Color Company

X-Rite has long been a leading supplier of color measurement tools, and with their recent acquisition Pantone they’re in the business ink color specifications. Now X-Rite is looking to move beyond the print world to become “The Color Company” for all your color needs.

To Prepare for 2011, Imagine It Is 1994 Again

Dr. Joe must have a time machine, because all he wants to talk about is 1994. He wonders why the planning process used by companies large and small always seems to miss critical market shifts and reinforce the status quo, actually constraining the ability to change. What can make the planning process more effective and our companies more adept when the marketplace takes an unexpected turn?

Enter the Dragon: A Chinese Press Manufacturer Probes the Market at Graph Expo 2010

By bringing just one offset press to Graph Expo 2010, it accounted for one-sixth of all offset presses at the show and one-third of the conventional (non-DI) printing machines on the floor of McCormick Place. That would be an unusual distinction for any exhibitor of press equipment, but it seems to have worked out well for Gronhi Graphics International, the U.S. arm of a Chinese vendor seeking a reputation and a toehold in the American market.

Having the Capability to Personalize Communications is Not Enough Today

The concept of personalized communications – in the way we all think of it today – has been around for well over thirty years. And, acquiring the capability to create and produce personalized communications is still a hot topic in our industry. Yet, for each communication you’re involved in, can you answer the question: Am I contributing to “communications pollution” or am I compelling enough to survive in our world that has become an electronic messaging free-for-all?

Analytics: What am I doing and can I prove it?

In the tenth article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of you need to do to get audience attention, and what tools and services you need to prove you are succeeding.

FESPA Brings Global Wide-Format Printing Expertise to the U.S.

For the first time ever FESPA Americas will be held in the United States. FESPA has existed for almost 50 years, and this years’ event promises not to disappoint. Richard Romano has laid out all the details you need to learn more about the organization, the event and its history.

Googled: A Book Review

Google is arguably one of the most fascinating companies of our times. Founded in 1998, the typical Silicon Valley “two guys in a garage,” the company quickly skyrocketed to prominence as the preferred search engine for many as well as a premier advertising platform. In his book, Ken Auletta does an outstanding job of documenting the company’s history and accomplishments to date.

Building an Innovation Platform

This article discusses how Apple’s iPad has created a scalable technology platform for growth where the end customer becomes loyal and continues to invest in new applications. It also strikes a comparison to Mail Print’s Web services platform, which has created new ways of doing business and a growth platform for new offerings, applications, and services.

Océ's New Strategy for the Future

Océ is already the leader in continuous feed inkjet presses. If things are working so well, it seems unlikely they would make a drastic change. At the recent Canon Expo though, they made an announcement that Andy Tribute claims will dramatically shift their strategy.

Sharp Decrease in Layoffs Due to Bankruptcy Reflect Industry Improvement

Even something that sounds bad, like the number of printing industry layoffs due to bankruptcy, can be good if they're declining. Dr. Joe explains the sharp decline in the last four quarters and why it's very good news.

Conventional Print at the GASC Shows: What Was, Isn’t, and Will Be

The Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) events were due to reach an inflection point, and it seems clear that at Graph Expo 2010, they reached one from which there will be no turning back. The break in the connection between showing heavy printing equipment and selling it made Graph Expo 2010 a watershed event. No longer do press manufacturers makers need elaborate displays of machinery at the GASC shows in order to achieve the marketing impact they desire.

Personalized Packaging Brings Sweet Success

Irongate Digital of Derby, U.K. has used its Web-to-print and digital color printing expertise to develop personalized chocolate boxes to catapult its clients’ candy sales. Irongate leveraged its existing technologies to enhance the value of print for its customers. WhatTheyThink.com caught up with them and assembled some recommendations for print service providers that are hoping to expand their Web-to-print offerings into packaging applications.

The Three-Letter Problem!

Why are so many companies in the print industry choosing three-initial names that prove completely indistinguishable from the next three-initial name. Whether it’s ABC or XYZ, Andy Tribute tries to sort out the confusion.

Reading Past the Employment Headline: Someone's Got to Do It

Sometimes you actually have to read past the first paragraph to find out what's going on, and looking at the tables of statistical reports with the real data leads to conclusions that are quite different than the headlines. Dr. Joe does the statistical equivalent of going into the kitchen to see how clean it is before believing a restaurant's reviews. You may have heard that there were elections last week, and that they might have been important. Keep it all in perspective, and don't get ahead of things. There's political chaos ahead that may only increase the uncertainty.

What are the required and available tools for Print + eMedia

In the ninth article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of what tools you need for your new workflows. It will cover the options you have for Design and Workflow tools to help you determine what will work most effectively for you.

Sales Strategies: Sell Print and More by Connecting the Dots

How do you wring more out of the sponge? How do you provide your clients with greater benefit? How do you match your services to your clients needs? Mike Philie of the NAPL has some advice on how to “hear” what your customer is really asking for.

Pulling the Trigger: Marketing Service Providers Are Stepping Up to the Challenge

To send timely messages, marketers must have a clear understanding of the customer’s situation so they can generate the best event-based marketing activity. This is where something called trigger-based marketing comes into play. Trigger-based marketing works on the premise that you communicate with your customers at the precise time when they have a high propensity to purchase. This article provides information on two companies (RT Associates and Associates International) that are stepping up to the challenge of trigger-based marketing.

September U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +3.4%; Six Consecutive Months of Growth Versus 2009

September 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.58 billion, up $248 million (+3.4%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +2.2%. “This continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for six months, a welcome change for commercial printers,” explained Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.

Thinking Creatively: It’s Time to Revisit the Basics of “Conversation”

In a world where text messages outnumber mobile phone calls...and social network usage eclipses email…and customer service has turned into self service… the nature of conversation is being revolutionized. Specifically, this means “the commercial conversation”.

That Book of Business You’ve Acquired: Could It Be Missing Some Pages?

How do you know that business you just bought is going to keep earning what you’ve been promised? What questions should you be asking, what contingency plans should you be building, and what hang-ups should you be looking out for? The partners at New Direction Partners have some answers for us.

Memjet: Bringing disruptive change to packaging and labeling?

Memjet may be a new name to many of our readers.  The company was founded in 2002 and designs and manufactures low-cost high quality inkjet printheads, print controllers and inks designed for use in printers for packaging and mailing applications.  Although OEMs have only had product components for 60 days, Memjet has been busy—five shows in the last six months in North America and Europe.  Read more about this potentially disruptive technology.

Q3 2010 Real GDP on Quarter/Quarter and Year/Year Basis

Dr. Joe looks at the advance report for GDP in 2010's third quarter and explains what it means, what it doesn't, and why it might be worth ignoring.

Former HP Executive Bill McGlynn Talks About New Role at Memjet

Bill McGlynn was well-known to many of our readers during his 25 years with HP, where he helped accelerate the company’s printing business from $150 million to $24 billion in annual sales, including his role in the Indigo acquisition which led HP’s entry into the commercial printing space.  Now McGlynn is building Memjet’s Home & Office Business as its President.  Read more…

The Paper Chase

Planning for paper is one of the most important factors when running a print shop. Getting a read on the current state of the printing industry though, can feel like firing at a moving target. John Braceland tries to simplify your paper planning process and point your team in the right direction.

Pulling the Trigger: Bringing the Right Message to the Right Person at the Right Time

While marketers are doing a better job at getting the right message to the right person, it is becoming increasingly important to send that message at the right time. Sending timely messages requires marketers to have a clear understanding of the customer’s situation so they can generate the best event-based marketing activity. This article discusses the concept of trigger-based marketing and also provides some examples of common triggers.

EFI CEO Bullish About Future of Industry, Company

EFI released positive quarterly earnings last week with 28% revenue growth. CEO Guy Gecht indicated that EFI’s transformation is complete. EFI has gone from a single family of products (Fiery) to a broad portfolio of products, including VUTEk, Rastek, and Jetrion inkjet printers as well as APPS. They’ve aimed their efforts at key growth areas of the print industry: short run digital printing for documents, signage, packaging and software that automates business processes, with multiple channel strategies. WhatTheyThink spoke with Gecht following the earnings call to learn more.

King Printing - The Birthplace of Digital Book Printing?

Digital book printing is one of the hottest areas in the print industry today. Andy Tribute went to visit King Printing – a medium sized printer of modest origins - that may have been the first to provide digitally printed books. He discovered a ridiculously innovative family–run shop that has kept itself on the edge of new print technologies.

Building the Infrastructure… Managing both the content and the process

In the eighth article of this series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a discussion of what you need to build a good infrastructure for your new workflows. It will cover Content Management as well as other options you have to determine what will work most effectively for you.