A digital printing and publishing pioneer, marketing expert and Group Director at InfoTrends, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multi-media strategies that ride the information wave. Barb brings the knowledge and skills to help companies expand and grow business opportunity.
This holiday season, savvy retailers are working to meet customers on the channels where they are shopping and buying, whether it’s in a physical store, online, or via social media. This article highlights how various retailers are driving sales and encouraging engagement with multi-channel integrated campaigns.
Wide format printing is a profitable and complementary product offering for print service providers that are seeking new markets and higher-margin businesses. This article discusses the three key practices for success in this market.
This past July, the Paper and Packaging Board launched its 15 Pages a Day Challenge, which encourages everyone to commit to reading 15 pages each day. This article cites recent research to highlight the benefits of reading on paper and also provides information on the challenge.
Many historians agree that there have been three industrial revolutions to date, but interconnected digital technology might be triggering the fourth. Print 2017 is nearly upon us, and the concept of “Industry 4.0” will likely be a major theme at the event. This article discusses some of the Print 2017 advancements that are expected to change how print is manufactured, what service providers produce, and who print service providers will become as they transform their businesses to better align with digital technologies.
Companies within in the printing industry have historically had a manufacturing mentality—they subscribe to the labor theory of value, which states that the value of a service is determined by the amount of labor that goes into production. Now, thousands of firms in a variety of industries are pricing their services according to the external value created—as perceived and determined by the client—rather than the internal costs incurred in generating services. This article explores the concept of value-based pricing and highlights some real-world examples of companies that are embracing this strategy.
Savvy service providers are merging online and offline technologies to compound the effectiveness of their campaigns. This article discusses how IP targeting is being used to add value to today’s direct mail campaigns.
A number of very large and profitable companies got their start by focusing on specific market segments, and the same is true for some service providers. Aiming your marketing efforts at a target market can offer a number of benefits. This article focuses on those benefits and outlines the steps that print service providers should take to get started with a targeted marketing approach.
Customer Experience (CX) is the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction is made up of three parts: the customer journey, the brand touchpoints the customer interacts with, and the environments the customer experiences (including digital environment) during the engagement. This article explores why the customer experience should be a top priority for marketers.
Industrial revolutions are momentous events, and many historians agree that there have been three to date. Interconnected digital technology might be triggering the fourth revolution, and this article explores the actions that printers should take to remain at the forefront of Industry 4.0.
Printing and mailing customer communications, statements, and bills is a critical business process that can benefit from outsourcing. This article explores how BMS Technologies is capitalizing on the transaction document outsourcing services opportunity by supporting its customers’ ever-changing needs and investing in inkjet technology.
Augmented Reality has the potential to open a world of possibilities for brand owners who are seeking to drive an immersive consumer interaction with their products. When applied to packaging, the digital information is visible through mobile or tablet devices and is enabled by an app. Customers are becoming more receptive to AR, and this article explores how brand owners are leveraging packaging to integrate the technology into the customer experience.
Advances in inkjet technology have print service providers asking “not if, but when” they should invest. This article highlights recent interviews with a number of inkjet users to find out the critical strategies they are following to accelerate their organization’s path to profitability.
Under the “Connecting Your Network” theme, the 2017 Xerox Forum focused on business growth opportunities in today’s dynamic graphic communications market. This article highlights announcements and speakers from the event.
Attendees at the recent Inkjet Summit reported that inkjet technology is mature, profitable, and offers printers a variety of options in terms of size, format, and speed. The event attracted 48 sponsors and 139 attendees from commercial print, direct mail, book manufacturing, data center, service bureau, and in-plant operations.
The ultimate objective of marketing attribution is to help marketers track their marketing and media efforts and determine the impact on their overall business. Priorities are shifting toward cross-channel measurement, and savvy print service providers are getting into the game!
Marketers face the challenge of getting their messages out in a way that cuts through this clutter and encourages desired behaviors in recipients. This article discusses how today’s marketers are increasingly leveraging statements and other transactional documents as a marketing platform, and how these documents are becoming a more integral part of the overall customer experience.
Finding salespeople who are capable of consistently hitting or surpassing their sales targets can be the difference between success and failure for a print/marketing service provider. Arnold Printing recently retooled its sales team, and this article explores the steps that the company took and the challenges it faced along the way.
Data enrichment (also known as data appending) is the process of finding and adding missing or inaccurate attributes in existing data contact lists. This article explores how print service providers can leverage data enrichment services to bring differentiated value-add to clients.
In today’s market, you must align your sales organization with your overall business strategy while also accommodating the changing demands of your customer base. This article discusses options for structuring your sales team to deliver better business results.
Corporations of all sizes want to use the data that they have to guide marketing efforts in a more effective direction. Today’s businesses see the importance of integrated service providers, and this article explores how to offer your customers the data-driven marketing services that they need.
Due to their nontraditional approach to life stages, marketing to Millennials has been a challenge. Despite this ongoing challenge, there’s a whole new game in town with the rise of Generation Z. This article discusses how Gen Zers engage with brands and highlights tactics that marketers can employ as they strive to keep up with this up-and-coming demographic.
The way in which organizations compensate their sales personnel is especially important in 2017 because print service providers are projecting sales force expansion efforts based on improved economic conditions, expansion of service offerings, and an increase in customer communications budgets. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how sales personnel should be compensated.
Since so many firms in the graphic communication industry are following outdated staffing practices, they are ill-suited to meet today’s new challenges. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how business owners can staff themselves for success in 2017.
Due to its ever-increasing acceptance and popularity, augmented reality (AR) is a technology that print service providers need to understand. This article explores the significant value that print service providers can deliver with this up-and-coming technology.
The digital revolution has put the marketing landscape in a state of flux, making exact attribution highly complex. Nevertheless, attribution is critical because it can provide clear and accurate insights into how, when, and where marketing efforts affect customer actions across devices and channels. This article sites recent InfoTrends research to explore how marketers can leverage data to optimize their marketing mix.
As we move into 2017 and beyond, data-driven marketing is going to get bigger, better, and more integrated into the consumer experience. Technology-savvy, data-driven marketers want to get the right message in front of the right audience at the right time to drive the desired behavior. This article leverages information from InfoTrends’ latest Multi-Client study entitled Lead with Data: Follow with Print to explore some areas of key importance as we enter a new year.
Although the term is often overused, true business transformation is about making fundamental changes in how business is conducted to help cope with a shift in market environment. This article explores how savvy print service providers are changing their go-to-market strategies so they can sell their services in new and innovative ways.
InfoTrends and Buyers Laboratory, LLC (BLI) recently unveiled a new branding after a long and thorough process of strategic evaluation and analysis. Given the importance of branding to your organization and our recent experience, this article shares the journey that BLI and InfoTrends took to evolve into Keypoint Intelligence. It also outlines the steps that we will be taking to formally establish our combined brand in the market.
Commercial printers have historically had more stringent quality requirements and a more complex workflow, with substrates varying from job to job. Inkjet quality levels continue to improve, however, and more and more commercial printers are making the decision to invest in the technology. This article discusses the steps that Heeter (Pittsburgh, PA) took to make the inkjet transition.
Although the selling environment has never been more challenging, today’s digital age makes this a perfect time to leverage all of the latest sales tools and technologies. Today’s technologies must be integrated with effective selling techniques to transform a prospect into a loyal customer.
There is no question that digitalization is bringing major challenges to the printing industry. It is no longer enough to manufacture and sell products and services—value must be added. This article cites a recent article in the McKinsey Quarterly to highlight the importance of transformation in the printing industry.
Most consumers begin purchasing for the holidays on November 1. If retailers wait too long, they miss out on valuable sales opportunities. This article provides strategies for attracting customers and driving them to engage with your brand as the holidays approach.
Today’s technologies have completely transformed the buying process. A customer can browse a physical retail shelf, handle everything virtually by visiting an e-commerce site, or do a combination of both before making a decision. This article discusses the need for marketers to connect with customers wherever they are.
Mobile devices are changing the customer experience and forcing organizations to rethink how they engage with their customers and employees. This article shares how CCG Marketing Solutions and Rethink CMYK have leveraged cross-media and mobile technologies to catapult their businesses forward.
According to McKinsey & Company, industry incumbents must face the digital disruption and determine what they can do differently to survive or even thrive in the future. McKinsey’s rules apply to a wide variety of industries, but this article highlights how Apex Revenue Technologies is facing the digital disruption with technological innovations.
The September 2016 issue of McKinsey Quarterly included an article entitled An Incumbent’s Guide to Digital Disruption that offered insight on actions that businesses can take today to remain competitive in today’s digital age. This article provides a synopsis of the McKinsey disruption lifecycle and explores how the printing industry is being affected today.
Marketers are spending billions of dollars producing, warehousing, and shipping marketing literature, packaging, documentation, point-of-sale displays, premiums, giveaways, signage, and handouts for all channels of market contact and engagement. This article explores how managing and controlling this portion of marketing operations can materially impact go-to-market effectiveness, increase business value, and create a competitive advantage.
Even though today’s consumers are inundated with marketing-related messages, only a fraction of these messages actually get the consumer engaged. This article explores how marketers are using personalization to create customized communications that help them stand out from their competitors.
Even in today’s digital age, printed books are alive and well. The death of printed books has been greatly exaggerated, and emerging technologies and consumer preferences are converging. This article explores the tools and techniques that can help resolve the supply chain.
Transactional printing is the original variable data printing application. Each bill, statement, invoice, check, or explanation of benefits has content that is unique to the specific individual. Research continues to suggest that business expectations for paperless delivery adoption always exceed realized gains.
When we talked about marketing services five years ago, the focus was on variable data and creating a personalized URL that linked to a landing page with pre-populated information. Although these capabilities are still important, today’s customers are seeking more. They want a strategic partner that will help them with their customer communications strategy.
Marketers face many obstacles when communicating with customers. Reaching customers is more difficult than ever before, and marketers often struggle to determine the right media and message. This article explores how Quad/Graphics is helping marketers and publishers capitalize on print’s ability to complement and connect with other media channels.
Historically, marketers have had a relatively straightforward task—to fill the sales funnel and keep prospects moving through it. Marketers would place an advertisement in a newspaper, create a television commercial, or send a direct mail piece to entice consumers to come into their stores to make a purchase. Times have changed.
There is little disagreement that smartphones and other digital devices are having a disruptive impact on businesses as well as consumers on a global basis. There is no question that today’s mobile addiction represents a tremendous opportunity for service providers. This article explores how savvy service providers are supporting clients in their drive to reach customers.
Today’s customers are adept multi-taskers who are capable of using multiple devices simultaneously. This means that marketers need new ways to cut through the clutter and get their messages across. This article explores techniques for delivering relevant data-driven content to effectively reach target audiences.
Officially launched on July 6, Pokémon Go is a mobile application that is sweeping the nation. This article explores how the app promises to expand the opportunity for Augmented Reality, and also highlights a few other recent examples of the technology.
Many marketers are turning to color and personalization to create pieces with strong visual appeal that prompt consumers to take action. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore the effects of color and personalization.
When used effectively, B2B social media marketing can be an essential avenue for building awareness. It can also establish you as a thought leader and act as a mechanism for creating an ongoing dialogue with customers. This article explores what social media techniques B2B firms are using, as well as why and how they are being used.
The relationship sell that worked perfectly fine just a few years ago isn’t good enough anymore. Many sales managers face a common pitfall—they fail to define the skills that are required before determining a strategy. This article discusses the six capabilities are essential for selling successfully in today’s market.
Each year, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) compiles hundreds of relevant industry stats and facts for publication in its Statistical Fact Book. The publication culls stats from over 60 leading research sources and marketing experts. This article outlines some of the key data points from the 2016 DMA Statistical Fact Book that PSPs should take notice of.
Marketers understand that direct mail is one of the most powerful ways to communicate with current customers, especially when it comes to new customer acquisition and reactivating dormant accounts. The USPS’s recently announced 2017 Postal Promotions are designed to help direct mailers maximize the value of the communications that enter the mailstream.
Heidelberg is already a champion of offset press manufacturing, but the firm demonstrated that it was equally serious about helping its customers make the transition to digital at this year’s drupa event. This article explores how Heidelberg is promoting itself as a solutions-oriented service provider that can productively and efficiently support customers in the digitization of their business models.
Many printing companies attended drupa 2016 to understand the latest industry innovations that would increase business and improve profitability. The vendors that participated in this year’s event were focused on demonstrating applications that expanded margins and helped service providers identify new markets and opportunities. This article explores just some of the ways that the industry continues to bring new value to print.
The overriding message for drupa 2016 is that inkjet is now ready for prime time across a range of applications and is positioned to displace key conventional printing processes. This article provides a brief overview of the factors that will drive the expansion of the inkjet market during the drupa event and beyond.
Although some will always question the value of tradeshows, these events are generally worthwhile endeavors. As we head into drupa 2016, this article evaluates some of the unique benefits that tradeshows like drupa can offer to exhibitors and attendees alike.
Since its founding in 1983, Impact has been providing services in direct mail, fulfillment, data management, critical documents, e-mail marketing, creative, and print management to drive marketing communications. This article provides a brief overview of how the company’s expertise in applied technology, analytics, and production services can help its customers connect with their clients.
Marketers see video as a more engaging alternative that is capable of delivering a message more succinctly. The worlds of print and video are beginning to merge, and this article explores how companies like Americhip are bridging the gap between the technologies.
Just like large enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) want to look credible and professional as they spread the word about their businesses. This article explores the top business priorities of today’s SMBs, how the marketing mix is changing, and what it takes to win in this market.
As marketers seek techniques to create effective direct mail, technologies like high-speed, full-color inkjet are creating opportunities to produce personalized and customized direct mail items that will truly capture consumers’ attention. This article explores how Harte Hanks has leveraged advanced digital printing capabilities to effectively deliver targeted, personalized direct mail touches that weave seamlessly into the multi-channel customer journey.
Now in its fourth year, nGage’s 2016 Inkjet Summit (April 18-20) focused on critical trends and new applications in direct mail, book publishing, commercial printing, and transactional printing. This article provides a brief history of the event and also discusses some of the highlights from this year.
Motivated by an increasingly sophisticated range of online and offline shopping opportunities, consumers are eager to experience higher-quality shopping experiences. Retailers can delight their customers by providing an experience that is relevant, personalized, and engaging. This article provides examples of augmented reality applications that are designed to deliver much more effective and engaging communications
Today’s consumers have grown comfortable with the ideal of establishing a one-on-one dialogue with marketers, and many consumers have come to expect this level of intimacy. This article cites recent research to explore consumers’ practices and preferences when interacting with direct mail and other types of content.
The concept of creating relevant communication is becoming table stakes, and marketers with the most targeted strategies will be the ones that win. This article cites recent research from InfoTrends and explores how pii is stepping up to the data challenge.
This past week, Quad/Graphics released a study entitled Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse. One of the key areas of focus was how printed materials are used by today’s “connected” generation of Millennials. This article provides an overview of how Millennials interact with printed media.
Born between the early 1980s through about 2000, Millennials are a highly connected audience who don’t know a world without personal computers and mobile devices. This article cites recent research from InfoTrends to explore how tried and true direct mail campaigns can still be highly effective within this diverse generation.
Marketing attribution is the science of determining what channels are driving desired actions and assigning them appropriate credit. Print is an important channel in the marketing mix. This article highlights recent InfoTrends’ research that attributes the value of print in the mix.
Communicating with the right audience at the right time is not about capturing more data, but about capturing data that can drive better business decisions. This article highlights recent research and also includes quotes from industry experts to illuminate the importance of high-quality data.
Packaging is defined as all the activities of designing and producing the container for a product. It involves the printable material that encases a consumer item and serves to contain, identify, describe, protect, display, promote, and otherwise make the product marketable and keep it clean. Apart from this, packaging is also is a double-digit growth market for digital print technology.
All enterprises want their communications to look credible and professional as they spread the word about their businesses. This market presents tremendous opportunities for print service providers with the right go-to-market strategy. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how service providers can meet the evolving needs of today’s enterprises across various vertical markets.
Just like large enterprises, SMBs want to look credible and professional as they spread the word about their businesses. This market presents tremendous opportunities for print service providers with the right go-to-market strategy. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to explore how service providers can aggregate volume with a focus on specific horizontal and vertical SMB markets.
Major retailers like Lands’ End and J.C. Penney are bringing back their printed catalogs because they recognize the critical role that these catalogs play in driving business. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to highlight how catalogs remain an important marketing tool for reaching today’s consumers.
Today’s market holds a tremendous opportunity for direct mail printing. How can today’s service providers better meet marketers’ evolving needs, and what are the essential ingredients for success? This article explores three key areas of focus—data-driven personalization, multi-channel communication, and an agency approach.
Despite the surging popularity of digital marketing, direct mail will continue to play an integral role in savvy businesses’ marketing initiatives. This article cites data from recent InfoTrends research to explore the role that direct mail will likely play in the marketing initiatives of the future.
While some forms of marketing are fleeting and forgotten, a postcard, brochure, or catalog can serve as a lasting reminder of a marketing message. Direct mail can compel recipients to act, attract new customers, increase customer loyalty, boost brand awareness, reactivate dormant accounts, and deliver profitable results. This article explores how businesses of all sizes are rethinking their strategies and incorporating more direct mail in their messaging.
Whether improving direct customers’ experiences or the experiences of clients’ customers with better communication products, a positive customer experience delivers bottom-line results. This article provides InfoTrends’ recommendations on areas that print service providers should focus on in the year ahead as they strive to improve the customer experience.
The print medium is returning as an important marketing and sales tool. This holiday season, firms like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue are sending more targeted and specialized catalogs. This article cites InfoTrends’ recent research to explore how catalogs are cutting through the clutter in today’s digital world.
Henrik Müller-Hansen, Gelato’s Founder and CEO, had a vision for democratizing the world of printing. This article provides an overview of the Gelato Group’s offerings and explores how these solutions can make a difference in today’s mobile world.
Following on the success of their 2012 book entitled The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, authors Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson have published a new book entitled The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results. This article outlines ideas from the new book and explores how winning the right types of customers can enable salespeople to do their jobs more effectively.
Consumers have all channels turned on and they are in control of how they gather information, obtain advice from friends and family in their social networks, and complete transactions with suppliers. This article cites recent research from InfoTrends to explore the role that service providers can play in delivering an omni-channel experience.
The 2015 Xerox Premier Partners Congress (October 6-7 in Prague, Czech Republic) explored how the power of networking can be put to work. This article highlights just a few of the positive experiences that attendees and business partners enjoyed at this year’s event.
Mobile technology can interact with the consumer at the most contextually relevant time and location possible. Mobile can and will work when it is used properly. This article discusses the fundamentals of creating a true customer experience and explores how Target Stores created an effective mobile campaign for the 2014 holiday season.
By improving the customer experience, businesses can drive value, reduce cost, and build a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Customers are seeking partners that deliver solutions beyond simple variable data, pURLs, and customized landing pages. The article explores how businesses can gain a competitive advantage by delivering an improved customer experience.
Mobile facilitates new thinking because its capabilities and tools enable marketers to transform why, when, where, and how audience members engage with their brands. This article explores how mobile technology is changing consumer behaviors and creating new opportunities for highly interactive engagement.
Data offers businesses new opportunities to better understand their customers through a limitless number of sources, including purchasing behaviors, interactions, demographics, and history. Last week’s article discussed the challenges that marketers face in today’s data-driven world, and this one explores the strategies that Innovairre is pursuing to help clients effectively use data.
Corporations are increasingly relying on data to learn about customers, invest in new products and services, adjust sales and marketing activities, and assess new market opportunities. This article discusses the challenges that marketers face in today’s data-driven world.
To remain competitive in today’s transitional market, printers are embracing the importance of adding value. This article leverages InfoTrends’ research to explore how value-added services can contribute to business growth.
According to Josh Linkner’s book entitled The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation, some leaders freeze instead of acting because they are concerned about the consequences of change. This article explores how McBattas disrupted the status quo and reinvented itself with digital folding cartons.
Earlier this month, Chicago-based Tukaiz announced the opening of its in-house boutique creative division known as agenz. Highlighting points from a recent Rick Webb book, this article explores how today’s businesses can make the transition to offering agency-oriented services.
Today’s marketers are seeking partners that can help them deliver the right message at the right time, while also delivering the most effective data strategies to ensure that offers are not dead on arrival. This article explores how print service providers can capitalize on this opportunity by building data expertise.
Without leaving their homes or offices, individuals can assess and evaluate an array of products and services. The most successful firms understand that the lifetime value of a customer is more important than the value of the initial transaction. This article explores how Kohler Co. partnered with OneTouch Point to stand out from the competition and maximize the value of long-term customer relationships.
According to McKinsey & Company, following the leader can be dangerous to your future profitability. This article explores four steps for optimizing performance in today’s digital world, and also discusses the importance of developing a digital quotient.
At the Dscoop Open event (June 3-5 at the Convention Center in Dublin, Ireland), solutions partners shared their perspectives on how to make a “hole in one” with digital printing. This article provides a brief overview of the event’s highlights.
During the 2015 Inkjet Summit, service providers acknowledged that much of the innovation in their markets was done in collaboration with customers and driven by the dynamic changes in the clients’ specific businesses. This article explores how inkjet technology is delivering key advantages to transactional printing, direct mail marketing, and publication printing applications.
During the 2015 Inkjet Summit, a number of innovators acknowledged the need to leverage emerging technologies to profitably accelerate business growth. This article explores how Access Direct has reinvented itself as a leader in data management, variable messaging, and inkjet printing. It also demonstrates how Access Direct’s actions parallel the advice given in Josh Linkner’s book entitled The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation.
In what is perceived as a commodity-oriented marketplace, print sales reps struggle to maintain a proper balance between features and benefits. This article explores how Symeta (Brussels, Belgium) has transformed its business with strong sales and marketing and a value-based approach to communications.
Service providers of all sizes are constantly talking about the need to transform their businesses from commodity-oriented organizations to marketing and communication service specialists. A recent article from McKinsey & Company details six steps for driving revenue and margin improvements, and these steps are discussed in this piece.
Because of new and emerging technologies, today’s business owners face a whole new set of challenges. According to Josh Linkner’s book entitled The Road to Reinvention, the way that you position your company and communicate to your various audiences and target markets is a critical component of transforming your business. This article highlights real-world examples of how the art of storytelling can help accelerate businesses transformation.
The relentless pace of change is exacerbating the challenges that business owners face today. According to Josh Linkner’s book entitled The Road to Reinvention, leading companies are disrupting the status quo to achieve growth and economic gain. This article explores how businesses can take Linkner’s advice to avoid losing ground.
Proactive sales and marketing investments are vital to growing and driving business results. Citing research from McKinsey and Company, this article explores strategies for building superior marketing and sales capabilities.
Infrastructure includes the basic physical and organizational components that contribute to the success of an organization in terms of the sale and delivery of products, services, and solutions. This article is part of a series exploring trends worth watching in the printing industry. It explores the infrastructure investments that are critical for success in today’s market.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's go-to information source with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, WhatTheyThink Email Newsletters, and the WhatTheyThink magazine. Our mission is to inform, educate, and inspire the industry. We 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.