As marketers scramble to increase the depth of their knowledge about every aspect of their customers’ habits, preferences, and patterns, there may be a simple data point that is getting overlooked—the weather. Weather has a direct effect on the sales of 30% of all products and services and is the second biggest influence on consumer behavior. Are your customers taking advantage?
A print business that learns is one that has a foundation for tracking its business processes and improving on them. From a cultural standpoint, a learning organization has to be able to talk openly about mistakes made from all levels of the organization.
Our European correspondent Morten Reitoft recently visited Athens, Greece, to shoot a video of a Greek packaging company. It was his first time in that country, and he took the opportunity to talk to some of the people and companies that lived through the country’s recent economic crisis.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently traveled to Miami Beach to join more than 300 people at the Gerber Technology Ideation event, the company’s software users’ group. This educational and networking event is in its 20th year. The enthusiasm among the more than 240 customers and prospects in attendance reflects the efforts the company has made to listen to customers and stay ahead of the trends.
Gibsonton, Fla.’s Rocken Graphics has carved out a unique niche among print service providers: signage and tent graphics for traveling carnivals. We spoke with Kenny Smith, founder of Rocken Graphics, about how he got into this market, as well as how his product offerings extend beyond simple printed graphics.
A new book identifies flowers by color. An old movie poster to sell at auction for $1+ million. Closed captioning glasses for live theater. Christmas comestibles: mac and cheese candy canes and Christmas tree-flavored potato chips. Is the Internet of Things trouble waiting to happen? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Shifting consumer expectations are increasing the demand for relevant and personalized communications, so it is becoming ever more vital for print service providers to offer their clients the tools and expertise they need to compete via all channels. This article cites recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends to explore how communication practices are changing.
There are a lot of ways to personalize a document. What if something as simple as location could nearly double response rates? It can. By personalizing maps based on this single data point, response rates can be outstanding. The question is why?
The implementation of print software is as important as the software itself. With every software tool there is a foundational knowledge that will help you be more self-sufficient. Those printers who understand their software tools succeed in spite of lack of support from print software vendors.
Labelexpo 2018 in Rosemont (Chicago area) is over, and it was an exciting show. The crowds were enthusiastic and, from early indications, buying. In this first of two parts, I will look at interesting press hardware trends.
Microban recently released Scentry Revive, the second generation of a unique odor control fabric finish that was developed in response to brands seeking a more innovative approach to odor control. This approach could reduce the number of times a piece of clothing needs to be washed, its primary environmental benefit.
For over 10 years BERGSTEIN has been developing and delivering industrial printers. Their first flatbed printers were based on solvent inks, already printing products with a height up to 30 cm. They put significant investments and developments into small flatbed printers, which are suitable for a huge range of industrial products using UV or LED inks and direct to shape. And in the last 5 years Bergstein is selling solutions for customer in Industrial Single Pass printing.
Print advertising success stories. Sans Forgetica, a font designed for memory retention. Young people are deleting their Facebook app. Social media users expect news to be inaccurate. WiFi 6 is coming; this may not be good news. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
In the printing industry, production dashboards provide critical and timely information for owners, managers, and operators so they can control the production chaos. This article provides a brief overview of available production dashboards and explores how they can simplify the production process.
Thinking about adding mail tracking to your roster of services? It takes extra cost and effort, so how would you pitch the value to your clients? Case studies from Pitney Bowes show that mail tracking can benefit more than just high-volume mailers looking to tweak in-home delivery dates. It can solve problems and save your clients from major marketing disasters.
A great deal is being written about graphene, in textiles and other industries. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked to Vorbeck Materials Corp. President & CEO Dr. John Lettow to learn more about what many are characterizing as a miracle material.
PRINT has not traditionally been a top venue for wide-format or specialty printing equipment announcements, but does showcase the latest technologies and the applications that can be produced on them, giving commercial printers concrete ideas for exploring new business opportunities.
Last summer, we took a look at the state of industry associationswith the goal of reminding our members about the many resources available to them to help move their businesses forward. By popular demand, we are now presenting Part Two in order to cover additional organizations that were not included in Part One. I’m sure there are still more!
Seth Godin’s keynote encouraged print service providers to eschew commodity printing and focus on selling products that are “remarkable.” “You don’t sell paper and ink,” he said, “you sell a feeling.” It was a fitting theme with which to open PRINT 18.
Hillside, Ill.’s Darwill, Inc., is a 57-year-old direct mail and multi-channel marketing agency. From humble beginnings, the company has grown to be at the forefront of the industry—and one of the early adopters of production inkjet printing technology.
PRINT18 offers the opportunity for attendees to get their own copy of a unique publication that will be distributed at the show. Not only does it feature stunning variable covers, but it contains a wealth of original thought leadership content that will benefit attendees during the show and long afterward. WhatTheyThink President Eric Vessels explains.
Research has identified down to the Pantone number the least attractive color. Merriam-Webster adds 300 new words to the Official Scrabble Dictionary. A nine-year-old dachshund is helped by 3D printing. The pen is still mightier. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Ongoing research and forecast data from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends shows that the digital textile printing market continues to grow. As the industry develops new manufacturing methods to meet this continued growth in demand, it is important to consider the environmental impact of these developments. This analysis explores some recent innovations in digital textile printing and considers the effect that these innovations may have on the environment.
Trish talks with Scott Engle of Graphic Visual Solutions of Greensboro, NC, about the power—and the pressure—of making visually striking (and costly) print capabilities brochures to inspire, educate, and motivate today’s customers.
The ability to make data-driven decisions is critical to your business success. The various software systems (Print MIS, web-to-print) are your primary tools for managing this data. When you do integrations make sure you keep the control of right data in the right hands.
The logjam on postal promotions and price increases may be broken with confirmation of two members to the USPS Board of Governors…Postal Service proposals could require more stringent requirements for hazardous liquids packaging and limits on marketing mail content...Deadline for new EPS accounts just days away.
In this next in the series of articles about technical textiles, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Smithers Pira Associate Consultant for Nonwovens Phillip Mango to learn more about nonwovens—what are they, how is the market categorized, and what are some of their uses.
The Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech) is announcing a new print service provider membership category just in time for PRINT 18. If you are going to PRINT, you can get the first year of membership free! We spoke with APTech to find out more.
The biannual International Woodworking Fair, which took place August 21-25 in Atlanta, Ga., held its inaugural Digital Printing Symposium. While this symposium is new, digital printing has actually been part of the woodworking industry for some time. That said, the need to short-run cost-effective decorative surfaces, as well as ongoing development in digital inkjet printing sector, is creating a perfect storm for the technology to meet woodworking’s market needs.
New odor-capturing fabric finishes. Cheat on your homework with a variant of Times New Roman. New documentary on a prominent “coffin artist.” Turn any object into a robot. Turn 2D videos into 3D objects. The pen is mightier than the packaging. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Consumer demand and technological innovations continue to drive growth within the apparel and home décor industries. This article outlines the key components of the digital textile printing industry and highlights how mass customization is fueling the adoption of various technologies.
The process of getting your Print MIS into a “trusted state” can be difficult, but the effort is well worth it. Printers who 100% trust the data in their Print MIS move faster and are more profitable than those who are constantly questioning the data.
Value in the world inkjet market will rise at 9.4% across the next five years according to the latest market report The Future of Inkjet Printing to 2023 from Smithers Pira. As the worldwide print market transforms, shifts in buyer demands—short runs, versioned and personalized products—and higher quality are aligning with the capabilities of inkjet. This is making it a key focus for technology developers. Smithers’ analysis shows that across the next five years inkjet will grow, both by deepening its penetration into existing markets, and exploiting new emergent market opportunities.
It’s working! Our industry’s campaign against the false claims of greenwashing is having an impact. Consumers are starting to see claims like “Go Paperless! Go Green!” as false and misleading, and marketers are changing their tactics.
In recent years, significant advances have been made in both aesthetic and functional fabric finishes. While some finishes are produced mechanically, the focus of this article, the latest in our series on technical textiles, is on chemical treatments or coatings that add functionality to fabrics for comfort or for specialized uses.
How to hurricane-proof your outdoor digital signage. The oldest human drawing. Do parrots know economics? New color from weevils. An optical illusion-based crosswalk thwarts speeders. New arguments for Pluto’s planethood. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Consumer demand and technological innovations are driving growth in the apparel and home décor industries. This article explores some of the ongoing shifts that are occurring in the industry and considers how these shifts are affecting the digital textile market on a global basis.
Print software is a powerful tool to create efficiencies in your business. Your success with print software is dependent upon how well you can make the various technologies work and play together in your overall technology stack.
What would happen if you took the time to imagine what your shop might look like if you could start from scratch? If there were no financial or legacy constraints? What might you do differently from what you have now? What might you learn from walking through that exercise?
English has become a global language and the de facto language of business, and American culture and American companies have permeated throughout much of Europe. Our European correspondent Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV looks at the transatlantic difference in language and culture.
Graphic Alliance, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, started as a commercial print shop but quickly adopted wide-format printing and has carved out a substantial niche in restaurant graphics and signage. The company has also expanded into vehicle wrapping and is currently developing residential interior décor services. Richard Romano spoke with founder and CEO Eric Grossman.
This is the fourth installment of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne discusses geotextiles, an important but rarely discussed segment of technical textiles.
A special fashion model inspires the design industry. A new font for brands encompasses all brands. A new printer technology can print very viscous liquids. An honest stock report. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Looking at the most recent industry profits data that came out earlier this week, we continue to tell the “tale of two cities.” Low profitability of large printers is dragging down average industry profitability. For the industry as a whole, cracking—or re-cracking—$4 billion in profits is proving to be an elusive goal.
IGAS 2018 may not get as much attention as some of the other international trade shows, but InfoTrends analysts still found several products that we believe will make an impact on the global print market.
Marketing efforts are generally directed at customers and prospects, but there is another target audience that needs your clients’ attention, too—their employees. This is an area of growing attention that your presses will thank you for.
Buying more software isn’t always the best option. Duplicate solutions that solve the same set of challenges (e.g. multiple web-to-print solutions) have extra costs and require extra understanding by your sales team. Buying software should be at the same strategic level as buying presses is in your print business.
HYBRID Software has been growing at a fairly good clip and this new $20 million software deployment by the SGK Brand Solutions subsidiary of Matthews International is going to give it an additional boost. More importantly, the new software, Shockwave, their development project name, is a great example of a next-generation workflow solution that was developed for the new market requirements.
The mission of Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) is to enable a manufacturing-based revolution—what we could call Industry 5.0—with the transformation of traditional fibers, yarns, and textiles into highly sophisticated integrated and networked devices and systems. In a recent conversation with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, the organization’s Chief Marketing Officer, Eric Spackey, explains.
The world’s oldest customer complaint was etched in clay. A modern twist on the old “spend a penny.” Today’s teens are not as wired as we thought. Twice-yearly earnings reports? The case for daily earnings reports. Researchers use 3D-printed boxes to help search for new antibiotics. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
In 2010, there were 6,725 10–19-employee commercial printing establishments. Among this demographic category, there was the most precipitous drop from 2010 to 2011—the fallout from the Great Recession which started to take its toll after 2009. By 2012, the bleeding had been largely stanched, and the year-to-year declines were more modest. So says our recently launched Commercial Printing Establishments tracker.
Delphax Technologies Inc. entered bankruptcy in 2017. The company's backer, Air T, created a new company called Delphax Solutions Inc. (DSI) to design, manufacture, and sell printing equipment starting with the existing elan product line. The company shared news of the new organization and strategic direction.
Unveiled in 2017, Memjet’s DuraLink technology appears to be catching on with OEMs. Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends believes this is due to its improvements in head life and other features, which will enable Memjet products to address high-volume applications. As DuraLink evolves, it looks poised to succeed in industrial print applications such as high-speed label and packaging printing.
Working smarter is an evolution. Digital tools are providing us ways to work more efficiently, but it comes down to being able to work with other humans. Efficient communication is the key to working smarter and optimizing the digital tools at our disposal.
Labelexpo is coming to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 15 minutes from Chicago’s O’Hare airport, on September 25–27. This is the biggest Label and Print packaging event in the Americas. However, what will be seen there will also prove to be a harbinger for many of the new developments coming to other print production applications.
As brick-and-mortar retail works to streamline costs by updating facilities with LED lighting, are they overlooking an important effect—how LED lighting will affect the way customers see the color of their products? Senior Editor Cary Sherburne looks into the pros and cons of LED lighting and how the retail industry is approaching this conversion.
Looking at the 12-month moving average of Canada’s printing shipments, it may look like Canada’s printing industry has been holding steady, but the inflation-adjusted figures show a slight decline from a recent peak at the end of 2013.
3M wraps its own headquarters. UNITED CAPS develops bio-sourced plastics for its caps. How much paper would it take to print the Internet? Are library ebooks killing sales? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends records publicly announced placements of continuous-feed inkjet printers, along with the types of PSPs that acquire these devices and the major applications they print. This article provides an overview of these placements in the past nine years by major application and vendor.
No vacation from mail-related activity this summer: Presidential USPS task force completes its report…package volume remains a Postal Service bright spot…Package Coalition formed by diverse industry group…USPS seeks ways to make mail more attractive to Millennials.
When sales become more complicated, involving more people on both sides of the equation, you need a team player to facilitate collaboration. A winning sales team is a combination of subject matter expertise and relationship building.
As we all know by now, there are very few surfaces, substances, and objects that can't be printed, and thus there is no end to the print products that a shop can offer. From posters and banners, to signage, to garments and other textile products, to garage doors, to...name it. But when approaching the vast new market for specialty graphics printing, two questions usually come to mind: Where do I start, and How do I sell it? Here is some advice.
When it comes to the environmental benefits of flexible packaging, the laundry list is long. On the surface, flexible packaging offers a vast number of benefits over other forms of packaging. The challenge to these comparisons, however, is that flexible packaging isn’t doing a one-to-one replacement. How does this impact the accuracy of the discussion?
This is the third in a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne visits with Fabdesigns, an innovator in knitted technical textiles. The company helped Nike bring the FlyKnit shoe to market and much more.
The latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Index. Towels made of recycled bottles. Stopping “stalking ads.” Making phones just a little less smart. The world’s oldest cheese. Modern American prints from 1920-1948. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
In 2010, there were 2,124 establishments having 50 or more employees. By 2016, they had dropped to 1,851 (down -13%). So says our new Commercial Printing Establishments tracker, based on data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns, which presents—in spreadsheet form—U.S. commercial printing establishments from 2010 to 2016, broken down by six different print business classifications and nine employee-size breakdowns.
Every year, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends publishes its digital printing forecast to identify placements of digital devices, installed base, print volumes, and revenues achieved. This article provides an overview of some recent top-level forecast data and also explores how new developments in a long-established market can create new opportunities while also driving print volumes.
If the bindery is the final frontier of total workflow automation, and the technology has been in existence for over a decade, why are so many companies still passing on the opportunity to gain efficiency and save money? Trish will explore the challenges and benefits of taking the leap into bindery automation.
A disruptive market creates the conditions for acquisitions. This has been happening with printers for years and print software vendors are experiencing the same conditions. As a customer of these products, you must understand the conditions of the acquisition in order to prepare for how it will impact you as a customer of the software.
New research from Smithers Pira highlights the future growth potential and technical challenges for printing food packaging, and how these will be realized against a backdrop of tighter focus on safety and environmental performance.
In August, Sir Speedy, franchise operation in the Franchise Services family, celebrates its 50th year in business. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Don and Richard Lowe to get an update on the business, and to take a little trip down memory lane.
Color management standards and process controls have helped raise the bar on defining and meeting client expectations in color reproduction. However, as we see more cross-platform and cross-media packaging and marketing campaigns, how can we accurately predict, prepare, and communicate expected results?
This is the second of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne shares the Glen Raven story, a 138-year-old company that has almost completely reinvented itself.
The inflation-adjusted value of printing shipments for June 2018 were down from $6.9 billion in May to $6.5 billion in June. On the plus side, it’s not appreciably below the $6.6 billion reported in June 2017.
A book consisting entirely of pieces of wood. How to foil a car thief: drive a stick. The gig economy is surging...but only in Amish country. Survey says: workers are cool with robot coworkers. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
The OpenText team held the 2018 Enterprise World meeting in Toronto, Canada, from July 10 to 12. During the opening keynote address, Mark Barrenechea explained to more than 4,000 delegates that competing and conflicting macro-trends are converging to pose unprecedented challenges for today’s businesses. Today’s enterprises must navigate a range of priorities to succeed, and OpenText has released several offerings that can assist in their journey.
When you invest in software for your print business, it’s like a marriage because you want to have a healthy long-term relationship with the vendor. Changing software is painful and expensive (like divorces).
This is the first of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this first installment in the series, Sherburne defines technical textiles and provides examples of how they are purpose-built for specific applications.
The recent acquisition of print automation software provider Aleyant by Canada’s Volaris Group raised some eyebrows in the industry. Who is the Volaris Group? What strategy are they pursuing relative to the printing industry? And what does this acquisition mean for Aleyant? These were questions Senior Editor Cary Sherburne investigated.
Improving customer experience (CX) is becoming an increasingly important part of any company’s marketing plan. That goes as much for the printing industry as it does for everyone else. So are you a Panera? Or [the other guy]?
After 12 years of leadership, Jules VanSant is stepping down as PPI Executive Director. Unusual typography. Automakers look to digitally printed auto parts. Don Draper—and even Darrin Stephens—are ad men of the past. The semaphore origin of the peace symbol. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Our new Commercial Printing Establishments tracker, based on data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns, presents—in spreadsheet form—U.S. commercial printing establishments from 2010 to 2016, broken down by six different print business classifications and nine employee-size breakdowns.
E-commerce activities continue to ramp up in the printing industry. Thanks to the proliferation of digital printing technologies, the number of products within consumers’ reach is simply remarkable. This article explores how print service providers can take advantage of online print growth.
You work with a team. It’s time to upgrade the tools you use to foster more efficient teamwork and better management of the artifacts that are created in projects. Email with attached files doesn’t cut it anymore. We are creating an isolated mess of artifacts that cannot be effectively found or used in the next project.
As the number of USPS Informed Delivery accounts continues to grow, will it change the way marketers design their mail? Will it change consumers’ behavior and how they interact with the mail? I know that it has already changed mine.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.