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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.

Capacity Utilization: (Virtually) Meaningless

Dr. Joe has quite the capacity to cause an argument about most anything economic, especially capacity utilization. Perhaps the state of employment in our industry is showing an unexpected shift from the big printing enclaves to new areas of growth. This unusual finding deserves some further scrutiny. Magazines get a boost from the auto industry, which was a clunker until recently. The sideways movement of the economy is obvious again, but Dr. Joe was flying high on WiFi and gives it the thumbs up.

The new world of print buying

For the majority of us lay people print buying seems like a trick for the anointed few who can piece together a much larger puzzle of production parts. Frank Romano looks at the new world of the print buyer, how it has changed, how they do their jobs, and where congregate to share their secrets.

Lessons from a Visionary: An Interview with Mike Panaggio

A visionary leader anticipates challenges and growth opportunities before they happen, positioning people to produce extraordinary business results. Real visions can lift organizations into the higher realm of new possibilities. In some ways, true visionaries spread the seeds of their visions so that those possibilities might take root in their organizations. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview DME Founder Mike Panaggio. This article outlines Mike’s predictions about the future of the communications industry.

Charlie Ying 1946 - 2010

The print industry lost a legend last month. Charlie Ying, and his company Atex, revolutionized prepress and changed the industry forever. Andy Tribute offers these memories of one of the great innovators of our industry.

The Turning Point: Graph Expo as Watershed for Digital Production

As Graph Expo made abundantly clear, there’s no longer any segment of the industry that can’t be addressed by digital solutions that will work as least as well as conventional lithography, at least in shorter runs. The industry’s embrace of digital production is now complete, and all that’s left to debate is how long it will take the pockets of resistance to get on board or go away.

Change in Commercial Printing Segments 1997-2008

Dr. Joe updates his look at the recent trends in printing industry employment and the last five months of increased sales are playing out.

Marketing and Innovation: A Lesson from Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, stated that the business enterprise has only two basic functions—marketing and innovation. This article discusses how print service providers can leverage Drucker’s advice to improve their businesses. It also provides real-world examples from DME, Sandy Alexander, and the University of Iowa.

Value-Based Pricing: A New Business Transformation Model

The commoditization of our product is a risk we face every day. This essay by Joseph Truncale of the NAPL highlights the difference between just selling print and making the shift to being a strategic partner who can deliver unique value to his customers.

Looking Back at Graph Expo 2010

There have been mixed reviews about Graph Expo. A slow start on Sunday. Not much offset. Andy Tribute, as always, was right in the thick of things. In this article he wraps up his thoughts on the event, and looks forward to Graph Expo 2011.

Do You Live in the Future?

Looking for a good read? Check out this review of I Live in the Future and Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work and Brain are Being Creatively Disrupted, by Nick Bilton. Bilton calls it “a unique reading experience,” and it is. Each chapter begins with a QR Code! (And this from a “Gray Lady” reporter.) It even includes some history about how print was one of the original disruptive technologies. Read on!

I'm a printer…can I do this, or do I need a degree in programming?

In the seventh 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 new skills are required and obstacles likely to be encountered for printers to bring cross-media services into their businesses. It focuses on how to grow the talent, or where to find the talent, that is required to be successful.

Three Numbers, 30-60-100, Foreshadow What's Ahead

Dr. Joe explains what the numbers 30, 60, and 100 have to do with 2020 and our industry. Somehow, it all adds up. The unemployment report shows an “L” shaped recession, even though we are now in an extended recovery. See what 30, 60, and 100 have in store for us.

August U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +3.3%

August 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.3 billion, up $235 million (+3.3%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +2.2.

Too Many Trade Shows?

The last couple of years have been difficult for both printers and suppliers to our industry. While there are positive signs that indicate a path to recovery, and many companies are investing to better position themselves for a brighter future, many suppliers to the industry believe that we have too many trade shows and too many of them are too siloed for today’s diverse environment. Hear what they—and GASC—have to say.

The Attendee Perspective: Why They Were at Graph Expo

Over the past several years, trade show attendance has declined due to economic downturns. Organizations are trying to do more with fewer people, which makes it all the more difficult to get away from the office to attend an event. Much of the product information that we used to get from trade shows is now available at your fingertips via the Internet. Barb Pellow took the opportunity to ask a number of people why they were at Graph Expo 2010 and to determine their specific areas of interest. The message was that attendees came to learn, listen, and network.

As Graph Expo Goes Digital, Where Exactly Is It Taking Us?

We’ll be happy to stand corrected if our count is wrong, but, after prowling the show floor of Graph Expo 2010 in search of lithographic printing equipment, we came up with only four fully assembled offset presses. Where did the heavy iron go? That’s not all that makes this year’s event seem a bit eerie when contrasted with the Graph Expo and Print shows of years past.

Graph Expo 2010: Back to the Future

Bo Jackson (yes, THAT Bo Jackson) was a keynote speaker. Offset presses seemed completely absent. Throngs of passionate spectators showed up at a time when some experts say the industry is perched for the second half of the double dip. Richard Romano reports on a Graph Expo that, so far, is full of pleasant surprises.

Technology's Role in Print Partnerships: Mimeo-FSI Alliance

These days software companies are building products that they know will get used in larger “mashup” solutions. The trend in software has moved towards simpler, interchangeable apps with fewer features but better functionality. The recent Mimeo-FSI partnership highlights a great example of an existing company getting dragged into the present to make the adjustments necessary to be competitive.

ISM Manufacturing Index - Selected Components Since December 2007

Dr. Joe explains the latest Institute for Supply Management manufacturing report in terms of its key components of new orders, prices paid, employment, and imports. The manufacturing side of the economy is still growing, but it looks like it's slowing down, and inflation is starting to creep into the system.

Peter Williams Discusses Ricoh’s European Business

In this interview with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, Ricoh Europe Executive Vice President Peter Williams talks about the company’s IPEX experience, European distribution strategies, and the progress being made with integration of IKON and InfoPrint Solutions into the customer experience. Read the full interview.

HP's Inkjet Presses Succeed in Book Printing

The most successful print supplier into the book printing market has been HP with their T300 press. Andy Tribute looks at the success of HP in this market. He also visits the first installation of the new HP T200 "entry-level" continuous feed color press at O'Neil Data Systems where it will operate alongside the O'Neil's T300 press.

Chris Lyons at Kodak: The importance of an application focus

Chris Lyons, Kodak’s Global Market Segment Director, talks about his role at Kodak, what to expect from Kodak at Graph Expo, and his goals and challenges in this new role. Read the full article.

Graph Expo: Seek the Solutions that Deliver Change

Graph Expo 2010 (October 3-6 at McCormick Place South in Chicago, IL) represents an opportunity for print service providers to re-evaluate and re-assess their businesses. While this year’s event will certainly feature exciting equipment upgrades, enhancements, and new digital and traditional devices, savvy service providers will focus on solutions. This article provides an overview of just a few of the announcements that are designed to help service providers reduce their costs or grow their businesses.

Need a new way to make money?  Think Business Models

You'll find the phrase "business model" mentioned in magazine articles, obsessed over by venture capitalists and overheard in thousands of conference rooms daily. Yet, it is a concept that is often ill-defined, misunderstood, or completely ignored. Research shows that a good business model is the best predictor of a company's success. This resource and link-filled article is your guide to definitions, tools, examples and out-of-the-box, business model ideas.

How Valuation Answers the Question, "What Is Your Printing Company Worth?"

What is your printing company worth? Emotionally speaking, everything. But, owners contemplating the sale of their companies have to answer this tough question in an objective and a financially realistic way. Here are three common approaches to business valuation.

Xerox - A New Business Again

Consultants in the print industry keep talking about the need for print companies to reinvent themselves. Andy Tribute takes a look at how Xerox has come back from the brink of bankruptcy to reposition themselves, and remain a power in the industry.

Dr. Joe at Graph Expo

The educational aspects of the show floor at Graph Expo are an under-utilized opportunity that companies can use to better educate their staff. The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research certainly has taken its time in informing us when the recession ended and might soon be telling us the recovery is over. Dr. Joe explains it all, and even offers a review of Warren Werbitt's latest opus.

File Formats and Standards: Important keys to success

In the sixth 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 file formats and standards, two crucial components in cross-media production workflows. It will focus on what the important ones are, and how to keep up with them.

HP Seeds the “Cloud” at IPG Innovation Summit

HP is convinced that locked inside smart phones, tablets, and other web-connected devices are billions of pages yearning to be printed. On September 20, HP’s Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) showcased its latest solutions for liberating personal and business printing at an “innovation summit” in New York City.

Reaching Consumers in the "Always On" Era

The number one challenge that today’s marketers face is reaching consumers. Seismic shifts have dramatically altered the landscape, and marketing executives are entrenched in an industry that is markedly different from what it was just a few years ago. Shifts have occurred in how, where, and even if customers are receiving specific messages. This article considers how communication has evolved and discusses the cross-media marketing opportunity.

Printing in Colombia: Views from Andigraf's Grafica 2010

Colombia's printing industry association, Andigraf, held its annual meeting in Santa Marta, Colombia, in early September. WhatTheyThink's Senior Editor Cary Sherburne participated in the event as an attendee and speaker, joined via video by WhatTheyThink's Dr. Joe Webb, Director of the Economics and Research Center. Sherburne shares her thoughts about the Colombian experience.

Presstek's Jeff Jacobson Discusses IPEX, Graph Expo, the Presstek 75DI and the State of the Industry

In a recent WhatTheyThink webinar, both listeners and industry experts commented on the potential offered by the new Presstek 75DI digital offset press, which was debuted at IPEX and will be on display at Graph Expo 2010. WhatTheyThink checked in with Presstek Chairman, CEO & President, Jeff Jacobson, to get his take on what the 75DI means to Presstek and its customers, as well as his opinion on the state of the industry, and more.

Catching The Cloud: The Future of Printing and Publishing

Working from “The Cloud” is changing the way we use software applications. HP and Google are leading the charge, and it promises major changes in the print and publishing industry. Andy Tribute examines the trend and discusses how the industry can get ahead of it.

It’s More Than Keeping Score

The process of managing a printing sales staff has become much more complicated than comparing compensation with business brought in. Matching the right rep with the client has become more important than ever. Mike Philie of the NAPL offers some insights on giving your team the best chance to succeed.

Major Investment Areas Commerical Sheetfed vs. Commercial Digital Color

As we head into GraphExpo, what does our latest survey show that commercial sheetfed and commercial color digital printers are looking for? Dr. Joe explains it all

Quad/Graphics’ Joel Quadracci Speaks about Worldcolor Acquisition

As Quad/Graphics has begun to integrate its recent mammoth acquisition of Worldcolor, WhatTheyThink checked in with Joel Quadracci, the company's Chairman, President & CEO to get the latest update and his view of the state of the industry.

Digital Packaging... When Quality Counts

Few management philosophies have influenced the business world as widely as quality management. Quality management is designed to tap the potential, abilities, skills, and knowledge of the workforce. The quality revolution claimed many names in its heyday, including Total Quality Management (TQM) and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). The most widely known quality expert at the time was Dr. W. Edwards Deming. This article discusses how Mid-York press evolved by embracing Dr. Deming’s quality management philosophy.

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

The second quarter of 2010 continued a welcome continuation of mild profitability for the industry. Much of the industry is still recovering from a very difficult 2009, and two quarters of profits can't really make up for that. But we're on the right track, even though there are still challenges ahead.

In first joint showing, Canon and Océ offer glimpse of their integrated capabilities

Canon Expo was the first opportunity since their recent merger for Canon and Océ to show their new team face. Patrick Henry was there to report back on just how well the two companies are working together and leveraging each other's strengths.

Triple Benefits for Triple A (AAA) in Transpromo Implementation

AAA, the premier association of regional auto clubs, produces 160,000 statements annually at its headquarters location. Its TransPromo implementation with DocPath has saved the organization more than $110,000 annually, streamlined the invoice-to-cash process and resulted in a more attractive statement design. This story demonstrates that TransPromo is not just for the big guys! Find out more.

Metadata: Can I get that in a Greek salad?

In his 5th article on cross-media communications, David Zwang discusses metadata and its role in cross-media production workflows. He looks at the basics of metadata and examines what you need need to know to work in an integrated environment.

What? Printers are Making Capital Investments?

The only thing certain is confusion. If business is so bad, why does our recent survey of commercial printers show they are planning to invest? Newspapers announce plans to keep their print edition - but we learned of it in non-print media! Things are certainly confusing, and this column might raise the confusion to an even higher level of sophistication.

Where has all the toxic waste gone?

Our increasingly ravenous hunger for new technology, ie. smart phones, flat screens, iPads, grows by the day. Frank Romano looks at the environmental cost of all this new stuff and considers how it compares to technologies of the past and the effect on the environment

Books Are Going Mobile!

Although there has been a lot of buzz about devices like the Kindle and the iPad displacing printed books, savvy publishers have identified opportunities for making printed books more interactive. This article discusses the concept of incorporating QR (quick response) codes in books, provides examples of publishers that have already begun doing so, and highlights the market opportunity.

July U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +0.3%

July 2010 commercial printing shipments were $6.87 billion, up $18 million (+0.3%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were down -1%. This continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for four months, the first time we have had a period of that extent since November 2007.

Google, HP, & FedEx Office – Cloud Printing Pioneers

We hear a lot about cloud computing being the next big thing. WhatTheyThink’s Jennifer Matt explores how this new platform is impacting printing, and how three major players are planning to use it to change how you get your printing done.

Standard Register’s Brad Cates discusses healthcare business

Standard Register recently made the decision to establish a focus on the healthcare industry. Cary Sherburne recently sat down with President of the company’s Healthcare Business, Brad Cates, and Business Director of Document and Information Management Ann B. Scales, to learn about the transition to all healthcare, EMR reform and the future of printing in the health care space.

Mobile Meets Outdoor Advertising and Signage

Thanks to the internet and smart phones, as well as tools like QR codes and text messaging, one of the oldest ad media is becoming interactive. In her current article, Barb Pellow explores the interactive features that many companies are using to enhance their billboards and outdoor signage. She provides many real world examples that range from educational to purely promotional.

Changing the Printer’s Mindset

We keep hearing that the future for print shops is to become “integrated communications providers”, but making the transition can seem like a daunting task to printers who are still stuck in the old print world. This week, Andy Tribute examines the adjustments printers need to make to survive.

So what do I need to know? Print + eMedia Part 4

In the fourth article of the series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications and production, this time with a high level look at what you need to know to begin implementing eMedia production workflows. This overview will act as an executive summary for future articles that will delve into the specific issues and requirements.

Consumer Packaged Goods - Blending Mobile and Print to Drive Business

Due to the growing significance of electronic media, packaging is being integrated with mobile technology to drive sales. Consumer Product Goods manufacturers are beginning to incorporate mobile messaging into their packaging graphics and print advertisements to engage consumers. This article discusses why it makes sense for marketers to incorporate mobile messaging into packages. It also provides examples of companies that are currently engaging in this practice.

Show Me the Money? Don’t Look at Us, Say the Banks

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. By now, the economy should have picked up, printers’ prospects should have improved, and the banks should have responded by letting some sunlight into their vaults when borrowers from the industry came calling. What happened? Although the nation’s general banking crisis may be over, says Tom Williams, partner, New Direction Partners, there’s been little improvement in the availability of credit for business and equipment financing.

Questioning Common Wisdom is Important to Strategy

How often have we heard that print is a trusted medium, that awareness and familiarity are goals of advertising communications, or that print is key to touching prospects or customers? The new communications market is filled with opportunities for print entrepreneurs, but going against the common wisdom of industry myths is an important aspect of the entrepreneurial spirit. If you believe it's important to embrace change to be successful, then start by questioning commonly-held beliefs about the medium of print.

Use Managed Liquidation As Bankruptcy Alternative

Print owners are often looking for ways to escape companies with balance sheets that are deep in the red. Typically there’s a strategic acquirer who’s only taking on the general intangibles. Asset values are often less than debt levels. And timing between payments might not always match up with debt obligations. Bankruptcy might seem like an obvious solution, but the NAPL’s John Hyde explores the many advantages of Managed Liquidation.

New Media... More than Hype!

Marketing has evolved, and today’s marketers must use both new and traditional media channels to effectively engage their customers and prospects. It’s time to get rid of the gimmicks and utilize technology effectively. This analysis discusses how Hotels.com leveraged new and traditional media to drive results and improve its bottom line.

Living with My iPad

Andy Tribute didn’t anticipate becoming an iPad evangelist, but now he’s hooked. He wrote a few months back that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with it, but now he has seen the light. In his latest article he sings the iPad’s praises, and explains why it might just be the most important tool in your arsenal.

How magazine circulation, ad pages and mailed by piece has changed since 2000

How have magazines changed over the last 10 years? Dr. Joe looks at subscription circulation, ad pages, postal shipments and weight, and what they tell us about this critical segment of our industry.

Were we sleeping or just too busy Googling our life away?…

In the third article of a series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications with some thoughts on how we got where we are and where we are going. This is important background that will help enable print providers and marketing services providers to stay ahead of the curve.

Old media, new media, and now newer media

There’s a new report out predicting significant growth in US media and communications spending over the next four years. Is it time to start the presses running again? Frank Romano examines what impact new media is continuing to have on media budgets.

SMS Text and Print… Reaching On-the-Go Consumers

SMS text messaging has emerged as an effective and measurable engagement tactic that marketers can use to power a variety of programs targeting sales, loyalty, and brand awareness. The nearly universal reach of text messaging makes it a tremendous platform for reaching and engaging on-the-go consumers. This article provides examples of marketers that are using a mobile call to action to establish a digital opt-in relationship with their existing customers and prospects.

Printer’s Survival Kit: Understand & Participate in the Digital Economy

The modern marketing budget has many more choices beyond print, and some of these choices are essentially free to implement. What are the roots of this massive change and how does it relate to the print industry?

The Unsatisfying L-Shaped Recovery Continues

Remember when people used to argue about a V-shaped recovery, or a U-shaped one, or even a W-shaped one? Dr. Joe kept saying the recovery was a lot earlier in the alphabet, and that letter was “L.” Recent economic data seem to be playing out exactly that way, with employment virtually the same as it was last year and GDP growth declining to levels that are indicative more of recession than recovery. Don't say you weren't warned. Yet despite all of the market pessimism, the printing industry seems to be righting itself and showing some signs of vitality.

How Do You Handle Change?

Change is something everyone in business (and in life) has to face. With the economy still fragile and the graphic arts industry in transformation, it’s likely you, your company and your customers are in some state of significant change. You might be changing your go-to-market strategy…your business model… the services you offer…or a cutback in staff or capabilities. Read on to understand how managing change more deliberately could make the difference between success and failure.

Print and Mobile… Better Together

Mobile media devices have become a primary source of portable media from which we can obtain information and communicate. This article highlights some recent examples of companies that are combining print and mobile technologies to create added value.

Email Marketing: Does it still work?

Does email marketing still work, or is it beset by too many problems with mailbox clutter, spam and more? A recent study and a specific example indicate there is plenty of life left in this medium. Is it part of your service mix?

Second Quarter U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +2.8%

June 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.2 billion, up +2.4% compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +1.3%. “This is the first three month gain in shipments on an inflation-adjusted basis since the period of October 2006 through April 2007.

All these new channels: and no Lucy…you still can’t be in the show.

In the second article of a series, industry expert and WhatTheyThink contributor David Zwang continues his discussion about cross-media communications with details about the new communications channels that print service providers/marketing services providers should be considering as they lay out their cross-media strategies.

More printers interested in buying than selling books of business customer base

Who's buying and who's selling? The print business has been consolidating, and we're certain there is more to go, especially with the popularity of "tuck-ins." Dr. Joe explains why "tuck-ins" are not about what you should do with your shirt, but how it has slowly been creating a more efficient industry.

Committed to Internal Growth, Sandy Alexander Adds Capacity and Capability

We hear it constantly: the industry won't return to normal until printers start investing in their businesses again. But at one printing company in New Jersey, they never got the memo about capital investment being on hold. Sandy Alexander of Clifton isn't waiting for economists to tell it that the time finally is right to add capacity and services. The company - with a staff of 230, one of the largest printing employers in the state - has already spent $7 million on new production machinery this year, and its quest to equip itself for growth isn't over yet.

Lean and Mean: A Case Study in Remaining Competitive

Today’s printing environment is seeing shorter production cycles, diminishing run lengths, and an increased emphasis on versioning and variable data. The ability to respond quickly to varying customer demands requires the use of manufacturing production techniques and systems that can be reconfigured on the fly. This article discusses the lean manufacturing techniques that printers might utilize in today’s marketplace. It also provides background on RT Associates, who implemented lean manufacturing in 2008.

Inkjet Printing – Technology to Make a Change

The rise of inkjet printing is making its mark on the print industry. Andy Tribute has been following this trend, and he’s noticed some unexpected changes in short run book printing, shrinks sleeves production, label printing and localized news print production.

The Profitable Survivors

The printing industry may be through the worst of its restructuring efforts, but we know there is still more work to do. Dr. Joe explains how the corner may have been turned about a year ago, creating a class of surviving businesses that are claiming revenue increases. Then he puts on the green eyeshades and discusses "bonus depreciation." Of course, his take on the issue is different than what you might have heard elsewhere. (Again?)

Report from the future: The printer in 2020

None of us know what the future holds for the print industry, but Frank Romano looks into his crystal ball and sees a bright future for a trimmed down industry, run more by computers and technicians that printers, better integration between products and packaging, and a few other surprises.

Hitting the Bulls-eye with Target Marketing

Today’s successful print service providers are finding was to target the consumers that truly need and want their services. Your target market is the bulls-eye at which you want to aim all of your marketing efforts. This article discusses the benefits of target marketing, considers different strategies, and highlights a few companies that are successfully targeting certain markets.

Preparing to acquire: the basics of due diligence (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this primer on evaluating acquisition targets, Paul Reilly and Peter Schaefer of New Direction Partners reviewed the questions a prospective buyer should ask about the things that make the seller's company productive: its plant, its equipment, and the state of its relations with employees. Their discussion continues with advice for assessing the outcomes of that productivity: the quality of the financial results; the condition of the customer base; and the nature of the relationships that the seller has with its suppliers.

Change in Commerical Printing Segments 1997-2008

Dr. Joe discusses how commercial printing segments have changed their share of industry shipments from 1997 through 2008, and why digital printing's share might be even larger than the data indicate.

So you want to be a Marketing Services Provider?

David Zwang has a new series for WhatTheyThink readers called “Print + eMedia: the path to success.” David will take readers through the variety of channels printers now have to reach potential customers. This first article goes through the basics of what it means to be a marketing services provider.

Washington Post picks up Boarman story

New evidence has surfaced in relation to the nomination of William Boarman for the post of U.S. Public Printer. WhatTheyThink has been covering this story since the nomination was announced through posts on the Print CEO blog. Most recently, we learned that Boarman had received—and cashed—a check for a “gain sharing” payment in 2010—33 years after he left active employment with the GPO.

Agfa Graphics Acquires The Pitman Company

The July 15th announcement of Agfa’s Pitman acquisition had been rumored for some time. Agfa expects the acquisition to strengthen its presence in the U.S. printing market, including an expanded growth opportunity for Agfa’s industrial inkjet and prepress solutions. The company held a press conference to discuss the acquisition.

Market Positioning (or Re-Positioning) in a New Media World

Print service providers have historically not spent a lot of time positioning—much less re-positioning—their firms. During a prolonged recession, however, the business approaches that worked during a healthy economy will often become ineffective. When this happens, it becomes necessary for a firm to change its positioning. This article offers an overview of the strategies that print service providers can use to reposition themselves and also provides key examples of vendors that have effectively transformed their businesses.

The Chinese Challenge

The print industry is yet another area where the Chinese are making enormous strides. How will American printers compete? Andy Tribute might not have all the answers, but he has the perfect vantage point for providing key insights about what the Chinese are doing so right.

AlphaGraphics Unveils Bold Plan for Network Growth

AlphaGraphics has recognized the importance of keeping up with the changes in the marketing services industry. At the their recent annual owners conference, CEO Kevin Cushing announced to franchisees the major strategic changes they’re planning for the network. Cary Sherbune caught up with Cushing to find out how they’re staying on top.

Dr. Joe reviews the "recovery", USPS rate hikes and our latest & greatest tax policies

Months ago, Dr. Joe said we would have an L-shaped recovery, and indeed that seems to be the case. 2011 taxes are already playing into today's economy and creating unintended consequences. And then there's the Postal Service request for emergency price increases. Is it as out of touch with the marketplace as it seems, or is that just the way bureaucrats cry out for help?

HP Adds Director of Marketing for the Americas to Graphic Solutions Business

With a little more than a week in his new position, HP’s Director of Marketing for the Americas, Graphic Solutions Business, took time out to speak exclusively with WhatTheyThink about his goals and objectives in his first 100 days.

What’s Hot, What Should Stay Hot (Some Light Summer Reading)

Here are five trends that will remain hot for the foreseeable future. As you think about how to sustain and grow your business over the next few years, consider making some big bets in these areas.

After 17 Years, Kevin Joyce Swaps Print for TV

Last month, Kodak’s Vice President of Worldwide Sales & Marketing for Digital Printing, Kevin Joyce, announced he would be leaving Kodak—and the industry—for a different media opportunity. Among other things, Joyce looks forward to taking some lessons learned from print into broadcast. Read the whole story in this exclusive WhatTheyThink interview.

It’s Time to Revisit your Marketing Plan

Rather than focusing on cost cutting measures, aggressive firms are now seeking revenue growth opportunities to improve their bottom lines. The starting point in this process is the creation of a good strategic marketing plan. This document outlines strategies for revisiting your marketing plan and also explains why now is the perfect time to make a change.

May U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +3.6%

May's shipments were up compared to 2009, and April's were revised significantly upward. This is the first time since early 2008 that the industry produced two consecutive months with shipment increases. For complete details see this month's printing shipments report.

Marketing Services, 2010-Style

As consumer media consumption patterns continue to change, marketers are shifting their budgets from traditional to new media at a rapid pace. As the budget shift continues to digital media channels, marketers will be seeking partners that can provide expertise in execution. With limited resources, outsourcing is the only choice for many. This article discusses how marketing service providers can capitalize on this opportunity.

PSDA Opts for Professional Association Management Firm SmithBucklin

PSDA, formerly DMIA, has made a decision that is likely to have a major positive impact on its future. The association has chosen to work with professional association management firm SmithBucklin rather than continue to operate as a standalone entity. WhatTheyThink spoke with several stakeholders to gain an understanding of what this move means for the association.

Disrupting the Future of Books

I recently read a Wall Street Journal article entitled “’Vanity’ Press Goes Digital.” It featured author Karen McQuestion, who had spent nearly a decade trying to persuade a variety of New York publishers to print one of her books. Failing to get their attention, she decided to self-publish. Although enabling technology has been available for more than a decade, many publishers have only recently begun to understand the value of print on demand in the book life cycle. Now they are faced with an even greater challenge—how to deal with e-books within the publishing framework. Karen McQuestion’s experiences are a great example of the disruptive process of self-publishing at work.

What Would Get the Economy Moving Again?

Dr. Joe wants to start the economy booming again, and he offers a prescription he knows no one will heed. He also explains how small business owners make hiring decisions and some of the financial factors that roll through their minds as they do so. Just what we need... medicine no one wants to take, and a lesson in finance. The July 4th weekend can't come soon enough.

Indexx, Inc., of South Carolina Expands Marketing Services Offerings

Indexx, Inc., serving upstate South Carolina, including Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg, as well as customers throughout North America, has taken an aggressive approach to migrating its business from traditional commercial print to a marketing services business that includes print among its offerings. Owner Jordan Finn talks about his transition in this interview.

Preparing to acquire: the basics of due diligence

If you’re acquiring a company, you better do your due diligence. But what does that involve? Patrick Henry spoke to two M&A experts to get the lowdown on how to ask the right questions. This is the first of a two part series; this one deals with inspecting the facilities and determining what kind of team you’re inheriting.

Selling to SMBs…Process Automation, Not Print

The small and medium-sized business (SMB) market provides an exciting sales opportunity for print service providers. For those interested in capitalizing on this opportunity, however, SMB marketing requires a unique selling approach. Treating the non-homogenous SMB market as a single entity will result in failure. This document discusses some strategies that services and solutions providers can implement to successfully reach this complex market.

GPO Celebrates 150th Anniversary

The Government Printing Office (GPO) was established on June 23, 1860, when President Buchanan signed the Congressional Resolution creating the agency. It opened its doors several months later on the day of Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration. Surprisingly, the only sitting President to ever visit the agency was Lincoln, but that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of the employees at this $1 billion agency, some of whom have several generations of family who have worked for the GPO.

Maximizing Your Recycled Waste Revenue

The print industry keeps growing more competitive, and finding new revenue streams can be difficult to find. An often-overlooked area to increase your profits is recycled waste. John Braceland takes you through a thorough review of your recycling process to help you determine if you can’t squeeze a little more revenue out of the trash.

Dr. Joe reviews the latest economic data

Dr. Joe reviews the latest economic data and explains where we're headed for the third and fourth quarters and why.

Viva direct mail!

Recent innovations in variable data printing have created huge opportunities in direct mail. Are you taking advantage of it? If not, Frank Romano lists a variety of reasons why you should be.