Over the past five years, my columns have espoused the value of variable data and integrated campaign management. While I continue to be a firm believer in relevant messaging and cross-media communications, I am quickly learning that in today’s wired and social media world, the market has taken yet another turn. Marketers are focusing on the importance of social media, and they will start seeking partners that go beyond integrated marketing campaign management. These marketers are hoping to tap into the conversations that are taking place via social networks as they move from a monologue to a true dialogue with customers. As we move into 2010, the rise of social media will require solutions providers to deliver and support a new concept: Integrated multi-channel conversation management™.
If you have decided to add mailing and/or fulfillment services to your offerings, remember that you will not be alone in this dynamic market. Mailing and fulfillment service providers have been around for years, some producing the same types of work they always have, while others recognize the changes wrought by the digital age. Your closest competitors will be:
In the previous article on the Kodak event in Dayton I concentrated on the Kodak Stream continuous inkjet technology and the new Kodak Prosper Press platform. At this event Kodak also spent time on covering the Kodak Versamark VL series continuous feed inkjet color presses and the Kodak Nexpress SE and Digimaster EX300 sheet fed digital presses.
Following the drupa event last year the major question that was being asked was what impact the new continuous feed color inkjet presses would have on the offset printing market. The vendors of these new presses took different positions in the areas of the market where they felt their presses were most appropriate. Most of them certainly saw their presses impacting in certain areas of the offset market where moderate quality on uncoated paper was a requirement, for example for newspapers and books.
On August 3, Advertising Age columnist Bob Garfield's book, Chaos Scenario, will be released. The content has been previewed for a quite a while, and I cited it a few years back. Since the time of his first column about it, titled “A Look at the Marketing Industry's Coming Disaster,” much of what he projected has come to pass.
A year ago at drupa, HP announced an OEM relationship with Press-sense to bring to market HP’s SmartStream Director Web-to-fulfillment workflow solution, citing key benefits, components and features including:
Digital press technology for packaging printing and graphics has been around for more than a decade, but momentum is currently building behind end-user investments and hardware developments by technology providers. In today’s market, it is clear that digital package printing represents a recession-proof and profitable market opportunity. With today’s available technologies, the emergence of inkjet, and the needs of brand owners, short run digital technology is truly poised to take off.
Occasionally there are developments within this industry, often referred to as disruptive technology, that have the potential for fundamentally changing the market. The arrival of thermally imaged non-ablative CtP plates that came to market in 1995 is an example of such a disruptive technology. I have just come across another such disruptive technology that could have a similar impact to that of thermal CtP in changing the industry.
That's the basic law of economics when the supply of a good or service is constant. There's been some discussion of late about the scarcity of print workers and the need for many thousands of them. One of the clues as to whether or not there is true demand for or a shortage of workers is the change in wage levels that the marketplace offers. If wages are up, there is greater demand for workers; and if wages are down, there is obviously not. Wages are the prices set by the interaction of workers and employers in a marketplace for long-term work. Higher wages attract workers who had previously been outside the industry; lower wages inside one industry send discouraged workers elsewhere.
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