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.
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.
In his book entitled Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Peter F. Drucker states that an entrepreneur “always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” This article explores the ways in which entrepreneurs and service providers can leverage existing technologies to successfully innovate.
Although wearable technologies are still in the early adopter phase, the power of connectivity is driving change at an unprecedented rate. With the information available from wearables, marketers will be able to understand context and generate much more relevant messages. This article is part of a series exploring trends worth watching in the printing industry.
Marketing personnel will be more accountable than ever before for generating sales results. Marketing automation software can dramatically increase leads and profit, and it also provides a greater return on investment in relation to conventional marketing platforms. This article is part of a series exploring trends worth watching in the printing industry.
At the heart of nearly differentiation strategy are techniques for enhancing the overall customer experience. By improving the customer experience, organizations hope to increase customer satisfaction and boost loyalty. This article is part of a series exploring trends worth watching in the printing industry.
PCs are expected to become secondary to smartphones and tablets for a significant share of consumers. This trend is driving marketers to focus on mobile application development. This article is the second in a series exploring trends worth watching in the printing industry.
To thrive in today’s environment, service providers must connect strategy, capabilities, technology, and specific initiatives. Print and marketing service providers who are willing to embrace change can drive profitable business growth. This article is the first in a series exploring trends worth watching in the printing industry.
In today’s world, the introduction of new offerings is not always enough; rebranding is sometimes required to truly respond to changing market dynamics. This article explores how Qdmh has rebranded itself as Innovairre.
eMarketer estimates that worldwide smartphone users will surpass 2 billion by 2016, so it is no wonder that retailers of all sizes are making it easy for on-the-go consumers to link to catalogs with mobile applications. This article explores how retailers are integrating mobile to accelerate the purchasing process.
This holiday season, greeting cards are taking on a whole new dimension. This article explores how tried-and-true greeting cards are becoming more innovative with the inclusion of interactive elements.
Today’s consumers have truly embraced a number of new channels, and the penetration rate is something that marketers couldn’t have even imagined a decade ago. The holiday season is here, and this article explores how retailers are embedding mobile technology into their holiday campaigns.
While hard work is always a key ingredient for successful business growth, printers of all sizes are pursuing strategic mergers and acquisitions as a mechanism to further strengthen their businesses. While growth through acquisition was once considered the domain of large enterprises, companies of all sizes are now discovering that they can gain access to new printing technologies or services by acquiring or merging with another company. This article explores how First Edge Solutions has achieved business expansion through strategic acquisitions and partnerships.
Research confirms that there is a growing disconnect between what marketers want and need from their data and what they are actually getting. This article discusses some of the challenges that today’s marketers are facing and explores how SG360° is taking a different approach to improve its clients’ marketing efforts.
InfoTrends’ study entitled Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprise Communication Requirements surveyed over 1,000 enterprise executives. When asked about the top data challenges that they faced related to executing personalized campaigns, respondents highlighted tracking responses, understanding response drivers, and analyzing and mining data.
It is estimated that Generation Z—those born between 1994 and 2004—represents over 25% of the U.S. population. These individuals are rapidly coming into their own in terms of influence, consumption, and spending power. This article considers the ways in which businesses can reach these up-and-coming consumers.
We live in an interesting time for lead generation marketing. With e-commerce and self-service sales, some companies don’t even need a sales force. They just need very effective lead generation marketing to help bring customers to them. This article highlights recent data and offers success strategies for service providers.
There’s a quiet revolution happening in the printing industry. In an effort to jump-start innovation, printing companies are collaborating with vendors to apply new strategies, digital tools, and technologies. Xerox’s Premier Partner Congress in Madrid, Spain explored how market innovations continue to enhance print’s value as part of the overall communications mix.
In today’s ever-changing business world, CMOs are now responsible for forging a bond with new customers, retaining existing customers, and expanding the relationship with all customers. This article provides a brief discussion on the ways in which marketing executives are expected to shape the customer experience. It also offers insight on what service providers can do to deliver extra value to these executives.
To breathe new life into their businesses, service providers must develop strategies that reflect the changes occurring in the graphic communications market. This article provides an overview of some of the strategies that industry players are using to transform their businesses.
Some people wonder if there is still any value in meeting a customer or prospect on a trade show floor as opposed to an office environment. Following the completion of Graph Expo 2014, this article explores the value of trade shows in today’s sales and marketing ecosystem.
In the Biblical story of David and Goliath, David defeats the better-equipped and larger Goliath because he is able to transform his opponent’s advantages into disadvantages. This article applies that story to small print service providers and highlights the ways in which they can exploit the weaknesses of larger organizations.
Apple recently announced the release of its iPhone 6. As many predicted, the device includes an NFC chip. The assumption was that Apple would offer tag-oriented capabilities with its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but this is not the case. For the time being, the NFC chip with the iPhone 6 cannot be used with anything other than Apple Pay. This article provides an overview of the new phone’s technology and the implications for service providers.
Just being a printer is no longer enough. Today’s customers are seeking marketing service providers with a variety of skills. This article cites recent survey data from eMarketer and InfoTrends to explore the shortcomings that marketers see within their agencies and how service providers can fight back and become more valuable in the eyes of their customers.
Last week, KPMG published a Forbes Insights report entitled Setting the Course for Growth: CEO Perspectives. The report provides a direct reflection of how all owners and executives—including those in the graphic communications industry—should be thinking about their businesses. This article outlines the key findings from the study.
Later this month, InfoTrends will release a new study that examines various industry segments and drivers for success among print service providers. This research uncovered five key factors for success in today’s transforming market. This document provides an overview of the findings from the survey and explores how successful service providers are bringing increased value to their customers.
We all know that mobile technology is prevalent in our day-to-day lives. Beacons are capturing the attention of technology junkies, retailers, and event planners alike. This article, which is part of a series discussing disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market, explores the effects that beacons are expected to have on retail shopping, tradeshows, and events.
Changing how you are perceived in the minds of your customers is one of the biggest challenges that print service providers face. This article provides a brief overview of the strategies that successful service providers are pursuing to bring more value to their customers.
GLS, founded in 1984 as a small printing company, is now celebrating its third decade in business. This article provides a brief overview of how the company is remaining on the cutting edge by updating its services and making strategic acquisitions to further expand its offerings.
Digital marketing is relatively new on the scene, but there is no question that this form of communication is already making its mark. Perhaps the biggest single driver in today’s market is the cultural change that is taking place among end consumers. This article, which is part of a series discussing disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market, covers two increasingly influential demographics—Millennials and Generation Z consumers.
Mobile is a technology that is increasingly disrupting the role of traditional communications. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article is the second in a two-part series exploring mobile. It covers augmented reality (AR).
Mobile is a technology that is increasingly disrupting the role of traditional communications. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article is the first in a two-part series exploring mobile. It covers mobile barcodes and near-field communications (NFCs).
Once considered science fiction, the ability to do 3D printing—to produce objects on demand at relatively low cost—has become a reality. 3D printing is a game--changing technology and this article, part 2 of a series on disruptive technologies, explores its applications and opportunities.
As evidenced by the explosive, innovative changes that are occurring in today’s printing industry, creative destruction is clearly taking hold. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the disruptive forces that are expected to impact the market. This week’s article explores wearable technologies like Fitbit and Google Glass.
Branding is about getting your prospects to see you as a company that provides a solution to their problems. To be successful, you must demonstrate that you understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. This article explores how Vincent Printing is changing with the times to meet its clients’ evolving needs.
interpack, a once-every-three-years trade fair held in Düsseldorf, Germany, is like Pack Expo in Chicago—a huge show that’s heavy on packaging and packaging automation but light on digital printing (with the possible exception of coding and logistics labeling).
McKinsey Insights and Publications recently published an article entitled The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Digital Enterprises. This article provides a brief overview of the insights from this article and also explores their particular relevance to the graphic communications market.
The order of the traditional sales funnel has typically been to discover a new opportunity, initiate communication, conduct fact finding, develop a solution, propose that solution, evaluate the solution, negotiate the details, create a purchase order, and maintain the account. This article explores how today’s empowered prospects have rendered this systematic approach obsolete.
Today’s hyper connected consumers are truly in control of the media that they consume. Today’s marketers must pursue media strategies that deliver holistic integrated communications to drive results. This article explores how printed communications are being combined with augmented reality to increase revenues and response rates.
Although some companies only start looking at their brand image when things are not going well, successful firms are out in front of the market. This article discusses the importance of market dynamics and how they can be leveraged as key catalysts for change.
While growing your client base is important, a strategic focus is essential for growing your business and setting yourself apart from the competition. This article describes how Sexton Printing is taking a strategic focus in the face of today’s changing industry.
The importance of a strategic business approach is becoming increasingly common as today’s technology-charged environment demands rapid change from us all. This article pulls ideas from Erika Andersen’s book entitled Being Strategic and describes how IMS, Inc. is serving as a role model to the industry by performing true strategic thinking.
The concept of re-evaluating your strategic business plan often gets pushed to the wayside as you get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business. Erika Andersen’s book entitled Being Strategic provides a step-by-step model that business owners can use to build out their strategies. This article provides an overview of the book’s key points of advice.
Results are determined by our words as well as our actions. This article explores Bill McGowan’s book entitled Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time can help you achieve the results that you want. It also highlights the key principles for effective communication that are highlighted in the book.
Reaching target audiences typically means connecting with these consumers on their desktops, laptops, tablets, and/or smartphones. This article explores how GTxcel is working with its customers to turn a printed document into a browser-based digital edition that can be enjoyed by readers on a desktop/laptop, tablet, smartphone, or any web-enabled device.
The Forrester Report entitled Predictions 2014: Mobile Trends for Marketers offers advice that also applies to print service providers as they evolve their businesses and leverage cross-media communications. This article offers recommendations for reaching today’s on-the-go consumers.
“Big Data” is a buzz-phrase that is tempting marketers with the promise of increasing customer engagement. While big data is part of the solution, the real power lies in using the right data. This article discusses the data challenge that today’s marketers face and explores how service providers can help them embrace data to deliver a relevant message.
Before you can hope to change your company’s fortunes, you must first change yourself. This article highlights advice from Suzanne Evans’ book entitled The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything and discusses how print service providers can use these insights to make better investment decisions.
Recent technological innovations have led to an expansion of capabilities in digital printing services. This article discusses the ways in which digital printing output can be moved beyond four colors so that print service providers can increase the value of their offerings.
When effective, loyalty programs can bring significant business opportunities to marketers and service providers alike. This article discusses the new media technologies that enable a connection with customers, while also exploring how loyalty programs can be used to engage existing customers.
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 how taking a specialist approach can help you meet these objectives.
Marketing industry pundits have been analyzing today’s trends and are making recommendations about how to do things differently in the New Year. This article summarizes the insight that is being delivered to your customers and prospects from a variety of sources.
The communications world is changing, and printers of all sizes are realizing that it’s time to reposition their businesses. This article is the third in a three-part series on the top trends of 2014 that can help you grow revenues and profitability. It evaluates the options for transforming your business model.
Service providers must support their customers with strategies that integrate print, mobile, online, and social media. This article is the second in a three-part series on the top trends of 2014 that can help you grow revenues and profitability. It discusses the implementation of emerging technologies to effectively engage customers and showcases new capabilities/applications that can open new revenue streams for your business.
The most successful firms in today’s graphic communications market have taken strong traditional printing businesses with a solid customer base and evolved into multi-channel companies that are equally focused on print and integrated offerings. This article is the first in a three-part series on the top trends of 2014 that can help you grow revenues and profitability. It focuses on the opportunities that exist for service providers of all types and sizes.
Technological advances have drastically changed the way people consume information. Today’s businesses must facilitate the movement between print and mobile formats to add value to communication. This article highlights how Roberts Communications is supporting consumers in the move toward mobile channels while still supporting print.
B2B customers are more connected than ever, and this brings increased opportunities to reach prospective buyers with relevant, targeted information when they need it. This article discusses three areas of focus for service providers that are striving to make a good first impression.
In today’s printing industry, uncertainty is the rule rather than the exception. Citing Eric Ries’ New York Times Bestseller entitled The Lean Startup, this article explores how print service providers can leverage the advice in this book.
Embracing a vertical market approach offers a number of benefits to the marketing and operations sides of a business. This article outlines the benefits of vertical marketing and explores how MSP Digital is profiting from this approach.
A recent Scanbuy report indicates that mobile barcode marketing continues to attract a global crowd of consumers as well as leading brands. This article provides key takeaways from Scanbuy’s study and discusses the ways in which QR codes are being used to make a difference.
Seismic shifts have left marketing executives in a very different landscape from what they faced just a few years ago. Savvy print service providers must assess how they can fit in the continuum of today’s more lucrative marketing value chain.
Companies of all types are increasing their budgets for blogs, whitepapers, videos, Webinars, and other types of content marketing campaigns. This article examines how service providers are using social media across a number of platforms to effectively share content and differentiate their businesses in the eyes of their customers.
Social networks, communities, blogs, forums, and friends/followers are useful from a brand-building and marketing perspective. This article explores some of the ways that print service providers are building out their business-to-business social strategies.
New York City-based RICG recently rebuilt its Website, and the company is clearly optimized to appeal to B2B marketing executives. This article covers the key areas that RICG addressed during its quest to make a good B2B Web presence a reality.
A first sales call is a make-or-break situation that only happens once. Prospects expect sales people to show up PREPARED and understand their unique needs. This article offers practical steps to harness Internet resources to learn a prospect’s business, marketplace, and key pain points.
There is a lot of talk in the printing industry about transforming and changing business models based on new technologies. Luke Williams’s book Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business offers a five-stage process for practicing the disruptive thinking needed to facilitate change. This article highlights key points in the book and real-world examples of printing firms disrupting the status quo.
Apple unveiled its new flagship device, the iPhone 5S, along with a cheaper model. To the disappointment of many, the devices do not support NFC (near field communications). This article highlights NFC and the alternative Apple is pursing, wireless transmitters called beacons.
PRINT 13 was held September 6-10 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. This article provides a brief overview of just some of the hardware and software announcements that greeted visitors on the show floor.
Capturing consumers’ attention while they are in a store is critical, and this often involves blending signage with mobile technology. This article discusses some of the ways that today’s retailers are accomplishing this goal.
A number of tools and resources are emerging that help maximize social Web presence, including techniques for rewarding social influencers to promote products and services. This article discusses industry players that are driving customers to become powerful marketing assets.
A number of savvy marketers have transformed large format signage in public locations into virtual shopping centers that are accessible to on-the-go travelers. This article discusses how retailers are leveraging QR codes to bring consumers the ultimate in shopping convenience.
Consumers are changing the way that they interact with brands and how they ultimately buy. Service providers that have worked to add cross-media communications to their mix must now assess how they can help marketers deliver an engaging brand experience. This article cites recent research to show how emerging technologies can enhance the consumer experience.
To be successful, service providers need to focus on the challenges that keep the world’s CMOs up at night, including the explosion of data, engaging with customers through social media, the proliferation of channels and devices, and changing consumer demographics. This article cites recent market research to discuss how savvy service providers are meeting the changing needs of today’s CMOs.
Most print service providers are serving the business-to-business market space. These B2B marketers need to target specific audiences with significant sales cycles and price preferences. This article discusses how service providers are evaluating content marketing in their go-to-market strategies.
In a rapidly changing industry, traditional printers must view the dynamics surrounding the offset-to-digital transition and new media as opportunities for much-needed growth. This article provides an overview of how Snyder Printer, Inc. leveraged digital color technology to improve its market opportunities.
Signage and wide format graphics have become an integral part of the marketing mix. This article highlights recent InfoTrends research and also explores how PIP Printing (Peoria, IL) is leveraging wide format to expand its own business opportunities.
Marketers face the challenge of getting their messages out in a way that breaks through the clutter and encourages desired behaviors in recipients. Although TransPromo communications can address this challenge, adoption has been spotty to date. This article uses recent InfoTrends research to discuss the opportunities that TransPromo can bring in today’s market.
In a world where content is king, service providers must assess how they are differentiating their businesses by offering valuable insight to clients and prospects. Service providers have a number of options for delivering content to clients, and this article discusses just a few.
Signage is becoming an increasingly important marketing component for attracting on-the-go consumers. Wide format graphics represent a major opportunity for print service providers. This article explores how retailers can use wide format graphics to increase their marketing presence in today’s cross-media world.
With today’s challenging economy and technological advances, graphic communications service providers continually need to reassess what they are doing and how they are doing it. This article provides recommendations on how to set up a “self university” for yourself, while simultaneously building the right infrastructure for your employees.
Today’s in-plants are continually re-inventing themselves to remain competitive. This article provides examples of a variety of organizations that are stepping up to today’s challenges by evaluating their offerings and making changes based on customers’ demands and market shifts.
Although a number of the initial AR marketing techniques have been a bit gimmicky, practical applications are beginning to emerge. This article provides some examples of how the technology is being effectively used today.
The High-Velocity Edge, a reissued edition of five-time Shingo Prize winner Steven J. Spear’s book entitled Chasing the Rabbit, describes the things that set market-dominating companies apart. This article provides examples of companies that are leveraging critical success factors to set themselves apart from the competition.
Bruce H. Rogers and Russ Alan Prince co-authored a book entitled Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Service Firms Become Thought Leaders. This book identifies three key criteria for success in becoming a thought leader. This article provides examples of industry players that are already following this advice.
A combination of media types==online, mobile, social, and print—is critical to today’s overall communication process. Industry firms are playing a significant role in serving customers across all forms of communication. This article explores how print is being used in conjunction with other channels to improve communications with customers.
Technology and consumer expectations related to communications will continue to force marketing experiences to evolve. This article explores how successful service providers are re-evaluating their services to help clients succeed in today’s “on demand” marketing era.
To keep their products and services top-of-mind, marketers must offer highly personalized communications that are relevant to each recipient and communicated via the right channel. Personalization has finally gone mainstream, and marketers must consider individual needs and preferences to drive consumers to take action.
Graphic communications service providers of all sizes need to “future-proof” their businesses in terms of services, solutions, and data capabilities to deliver relevant information and optimize customer service. This article discusses how First Edge Solutions has expanded its multi-channel communications to stay ahead of the competition.
SMBs have a wide range of communication needs, including corporate identity, marketing collateral, direct marketing, point-of-sales materials, transactional documents, and publications. This article cites recent InfoTrends research to uncover the priorities and challenges for SMBs, and also discusses how QuantumDigital can make a difference for small businesses.
Recent technological investments suggests that technology leaders are expecting augmented reality (AR) to play a much larger role in how consumers access various types of content. This article provides just a few AR examples that have recently hit the headlines.
Loyalty programs have always been about treating your best customers better, but today’s marketers want to court their customers, engage them, and track their behaviors. This article discusses some of today’s techniques for connecting with customers and keeping them engaged.
Think Patented has embarked on a transition strategy to improve its competitive edge in today’s turbulent market. The company is broadening the set of production tools that it uses, embracing value-added services, and refocusing itself on becoming a marketing services provider. This article provides an overview of Think Patented’s growth strategy, which includes a shift to value-added services as well as strategic acquisitions.
Selling a product or service requires a vision. A vision is a picture of the future that we seek to create, described in the present tense, as if it were happening now. It shows where we want to go, and what we will be like when we get there. This article provides a brief profile of Universal Wilde, which has developed a vision for its business and is using this vision to power its growth.
During Dscoop8, Barb Pellow moderated a panel entitled “Building a Strategic Marketing Plan.” She was joined by three service providers who have developed strategic marketing plans to transform their businesses. This article discusses best practices for thriving in the printing industry, even during tough economic times.
First introduced nearly a decade ago, near field communications (NFC) technology is entering the consumer mass market. Statistics indicate that hundreds of millions of smartphones and portable personal information devices will be NFC-enabled in the near future, creating a tremendous opportunity for integration with print applications. This article provides examples of how NFC might take hold in tomorrow’s market.
Industry pundits have long been discussing the value of Web-to-Print. Firms that have developed easy-to-use Web-based services are successful because customers of all sizes are seeking convenience. This article uses data from a recent InfoTrends study to show how Web-to-print has become an essential ingredient when serving the enterprise market.
Some marketers are taking funds out of their print budgets and investing in online, while others are cutting back on direct mail to focus on e-mail. In a recent InfoTrends study entitled Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprise Communications Requirements, InfoTrends surveyed more than 1,000 enterprises with 500+ employees. The results confirmed that marketers are planning to shift more dollars to alternate media. This article discusses how print and digital channels will be linked for success in 2013.
During the fourth quarter of 2012, InfoTrends published its most recent research on The True Cost of Business Communications. This report examined the entire document lifecycle for an array of different applications including manuals, brochures, sell-sheets, and presentations. This article provides a brief overview of the survey’s findings and explores strategies for success among service providers.
This two-part series shares Barb Pellow’s perspective on the top 10 trends that service providers should be thinking about as they plan for 2013. Part one focused on the areas where it is important to “stay the course” in terms of investing in digital print, and this second part explores the opportunities that are emerging from new media options.
This two-part series shares Barb Pellow’s perspective on the top 10 trends that service providers should be thinking about as they plan for 2013. Part one focuses on the areas where it is important to “stay the course” in terms of investing in digital print, while part two will explore the opportunities that are emerging from new media options.
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.