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DIGITAL Digest

December 2006
CIP4 Group Announces New Slate Of Officers

DARMSTADT, GERMANY—CIP4, the International Cooperation for the Integration of the Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress, recently elected advisory board members for 2006. The board includes representatives from each of three classes of members—partner, full and associate member.

Representing the full membership are: Martin Bailey, Global Graphics; Elena Skobchenko, Dr. Lauterbach & Partner GmbH; Matthew Outram, Fujifilm Electronic Imaging; Jacques Thiebauld, Dalim Software; Henny van Esch, Optimus; Gerd van Gils, DiMS! organizing print; and David Watson, Ultimate Technographics.

Associate membership is offered at a deeply discounted dues level to companies that don’t develop products for sale to the graphic arts market, such as printers, publishers, consultants and educational institutions. Elected to represent this group were: Stephan Jaeggi, PrePress Consulting; James Mekis, NPES; and Janice Reese, Network PDF.



VDP Conference Uncovers Cross-Media Opportunities

PHOENIX—Print is increasingly becoming just one arrow in the quiver of marketers as they execute cross-media marketing campaigns. Digital printing operations that can provide them with targeted variable data printing (VDP) output, Web-to-print portals, database management and intelligent mailing capabilities are assuming the role of valued partners, rather than just commodity print providers.

This was just one of the pervading trends highlighted at the 2006 PIA/GATF Variable Data and Personalization Conference held November 12-14 in downtown Phoenix. Approximately 275 people attended the three-day event, with some 125 of them also taking part in the first annual Web-to-Print Symposium held on the opening Sunday.

The all-day symposium kicked off with a Web-to-print overview led by Julie Shaffer, director of the Digital Printing Council, and culminated with a dinner panel moderated by consultant Steven Schnoll, who created the conference’s content in conjunction with Jim Workman, PIA/GATF vice president of training.

Printer panelists that evening included Patrick Bernards, K/P Corp.; Scott DuBois, Reynolds DeWalt; Jeff Prettyman, NextWave Digital Color Printing; and Jim Rosenthal, Digital Color Graphics.

Discussion topics ranged from the difficulties in staffing digital printing operations, to developing database management as a core competency, teaching sales reps how to sell VDP and cross-media, and even changing your company’s name as it evolves from being viewed as a printer to a marketing services provider.

“If you say that you’re a printer, then you smell like a printer,” Schnoll quipped during the panel discussion.

Surprisingly, a panel composed of creatives Brenda Barozzi, Foote Cone & Belding; Harvey Hirsch, Media Consultants; and Bruce Kielar, Roberts Communications, questioned the importance of removing the word printing from your company’s name. “We consider our printers as partners,” Barozzi noted. “I don’t think anybody should be afraid of using that word.”

She also pointed out that 90 percent of variable data pieces she comes across would not pass advertising agency standards due to widows and orphans appearing within the variable text area. Another problem: few clients—except for the gaming industry—have the customer data to drive sophisticated personalized printing campaigns, Barozzi indicated.

When questioned about digital printers’ difficulty in getting production contacts within ad agencies to embrace variable data printing, Kielar and Barozzi suggested options such as bypassing them in favor of the account execs, offering to give presentations at art director and agency club events, as well as “walk the talk” by creating a personalized direct mail campaign targeted toward the agencies themselves.

Hirsch, on the other hand, contended that the traditional agency/client business model is dying. “Chasing agencies is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” he mused. “Raise your sights; partner with some creative people and go directly after the end users.”

David Mastervich, account management sales specialist with the U.S. Postal Service, delivered one of the keynote addresses. He broke his talk into four segments: the relevancy of mail, what customers do with mail, “intelligent mail” barcode technology and address management service products.

Stressing the importance of list hygiene, Mastervich also noted that 17 percent of Americans and 18 percent of businesses move every year. This contributes to undeliverable mail averaging in the 10 percent to 12 percent range. It costs the USPS 51.3 cents to return a piece of mail; last year 9.724 billion pieces of returned mail cost the agency $1.856 billion, he revealed.

During a final wrap-up session, Noel Ward of OnDemandJournal.com, pointed out how cross-media messaging dramatically increases the impact of direct mail. PURLs (personalized URLs) and e-mail can both be used to help gather data by adding touchpoints, he said.

Ward also stressed that market demand for variable data printing is growing, and a window of opportunity is open to those that forge ahead now. Data is king, he added.

“He who owns the data wins. He who can best utilize the data wins big.”

As a result, digital printers must master how to work with databases and have a strategy for gathering and utilizing data, Ward advised.

The 2007 VDP conference is scheduled for November 4-6 in Phoenix.

Digital Smart Factory to Kick Off New Year

PARAMUS, NJ—“Integrating Graphic Communications Technology: Business, Content and Manufacturing” is the theme of the 2007 Digital Smart Factory Forum set for January 16-18, 2007. The Research & Engineering Council of NAPL will host the event at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport hotel.

The forum focuses on practical strategies for implementing an efficient, integrated, digital workflow throughout the graphic communications supply chain. It will explore topics such as JDF (Job Definition Format) and CIM (computer-integrating manufacturing). A special highlight of the 2007 forum will be a visit to DME in Daytona Beach, FL, which has become a recognized leader in direct marketing services.

In the keynote presentation—“Into the Digital Smart Factory”—Barb Pellow, managing partner, Pellow and Partners, will address the importance of including customer organizations in an integrated workflow.

Forum sponsors include EFI, Kodak, Canon, Fujifilm Graphic Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Integrated Color Solutions, Komori, Printable Technologies and Xerox.

For more information on this forum, visit www.napl.org/events.



PIXI Awards Recognize The Best in Digital Printing

ROCHESTER, NY—Xerox Corp. presented Toppan Printing Co. America and graphic design student Monica Eun-Kyung Yoon with the “Best of Show” honor in its annual Printing Innovation with Xerox Imaging (PIXI) Awards. The designer/service provider duo was recognized for their “Fear” submission, a digitally printed book about various subjects that people fear, such as the future, loss and being judged.

This multinational competition recognizes innovation and excellence in digital printing applications. This year’s call for entries garnered more than 300 submissions, the largest number in the competition’s five-year history.

First, second and third place awards were presented in four categories, with the top honors going to:

Variable print/one-to-one marketing communications—Astoria Graphics, New York City, for its “Fishing for New Business” submission, a personalized direct mail campaign that received an 80 percent response rate.

Monochrome and highlight color—DataMart Direct, Hanover Park, IL, for its “GE Wellness Welcome Kit” submission that featured personalized benefits enrollment kits and eliminated the need for preprinted inventory.

Short-run digital color—Salem State College, Salem, MA, for its “Yen Vo Calendar” printed double sided on heavyweight paper.

Digital books and manuals—TBC Digital, Fairfield, NJ, for the “Ralph Lauren Accessories Book” in-store catalog printed on textured paper to give a life-like look and feel to products such as a leather belt or purse.

Supplies—The Print Network, Torrance, CA, was recognized for the best use of Xerox supplies for its “Perceptions” two-book set with a slip case displaying a compilation of abstract photography and text.

A complete listing of all the winners and production notes is available for viewing at www.xerox.com/pixi.



DICE Meeting Attendance Down, Member Enthusiasm Up

LAS VEGAS—The first Digital Customer Imaging Exchange (DICE) meeting was held here November 17-18. The organization has been around for more than a decade, but transitioned last year from the Indigo Customer Exchange (ICE) moniker subsequent to HP abandoning sponsorship of the then Indigo users’ group in favor of its own, more tightly controlled, Dscoop.

Despite the lack of an HP presence, attendees approached the meeting with significant enthusiasm. And, in line with its new name, this is the first time members owning Kodak Nexpress and Xerox digital color devices were in attendance. In fact, the new board of directors now has representation from owners of these devices.

In October, DICE announced that it had surpassed the 300 member mark, making it one of the larger industry users’ groups. This year, the conference was attended by 182 people, including 63 vendors, 111 users from 68 companies (representing more than 20 percent of membership), and five trade press/consultants/guests.

Last year, the conference had record attendance with about 150 users from just over 80 companies. Even though attendance was down a bit, enthusiasm was certainly up during this very positive event.

The conference consisted of general sessions and marketing/technical breakouts, and the event had a record 31 sponsors, including Platinum sponsors Xerox and Kodak. Equipment manufacturers Canon, Heidelberg (represented by its Prepress division) and Xeikon were first-time sponsors this year, joined by repeat sponsor Presstek. The focus was on owners sharing their successes and experiences, particularly in the area of solutions selling strategies, database management and data mining, and Web-to-print.

A highlight of the conference was the DICE awards. This year, there were five categories of entries: Best Personalized Customer Acquisition; Best Personalized Customer Retention; Outstanding Self-Promotion; Best Use of Digital Printing; and Excellence in Digital Printing. Based on the ranking of the judges, a VDP Extraordinaire award was also given to the “best-of-show” VDP entry. DICE will reportedly post images of many of the submissions on its Website, www.dicegroup.org.

The awards process represents a critical part of the conference, both from the perspective of recognizing outstanding use of digital imaging technologies and from its role in helping attendees share best practices with each other. This year’s VDP Extraordinaire award was captured by R&R Images for a marketing program (pictured above) conducted on behalf of Taser.

Under self-promotion, Revolution Inc. took first place for a very creative board game that is customized for each customer. It includes their specific business challenges, represented both in the game and in the game pieces, which often represent their key competitors.

The VDP Retention first place prize was captured by Progress Solutions for a human resources communications package developed for Intuit, while the VDP Acquisition first place was taken by Montage Graphics for Cow Pie Bingo, a promotional piece for a fund-raising activity.

Although some of the sponsors randomly polled indicated they might not be back next year, most said they felt the event is a good venue for them, and relatively cost-effective.

With some dedicated effort in the coming year toward marketing the organization to owners of Xerox and Kodak devices, and perhaps even Xeikon and Canon users, DICE has the potential of growing its membership base substantially and playing an important role as the industry continues to make an analog to digital transition.



digital bytes
Franchise Players in the Color Market
HUDSON, NH—Presstek Inc. is helping franchise printers meet the demand for shorter run, quality color printing. The Sir Speedy in Naperville, IL, for example, was able to reposition its services after installing a Presstek DI digital color press, according to Co-owner Julie Phillips. Adding the press has made it easy for the shop to switch customers from two-color to four-color printing with little or no incremental cost, she reports.

LAUREL, MD—Post-Newsweek Media, a newspaper and commercial printer serving the Washington, DC/ Baltimore market, has purchased three Advantage CLS platesetters with Arkitex NewsDrive software from Agfa Graphics for its new plant. The facility is expected to begin operations in the first quarter of 2007.

BURBANK, CA—Crush Creative has added to its grand-format printing capacity with the installation of an EFI VUTEk 3360 printer with a 101⁄2- foot format. Part of the Merisel group, the company is one of the largest digital imaging shops in the Los Angeles area.

MIAMI BEACH, FL—Web-to-print solutions will be highlighted at the Graphics of the Americas-Xplor annual conference and exhibition, set to run February 28-March 4, 2007, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. There will be a special Web-to-Print Pavilion featuring digital storefront, production portal and online procurement products, as well as an information area with materials from PIA/GATF that will help attendees explore different Web-to-print solutions and business models.

In addition, Graphics of the Americas will also host a free, two-hour symposium on Saturday, March 2, that promises to demystify Web-to-print technologies and strategies.

ROCHESTER, NY—Several newspaper printers have turned to Kodak thermal computer-to-plate solutions. The Yakima Herald-Republic purchased two Kodak Trendsetter News 70 thermal platesetters, Kodak NewsManager workflow, Kodak Prinergy Evo system and Kodak PREPS imposition software. Southeast Offset in Miami also bought two Trendsetter News 70 thermal platesetters and a Prinergy Evo system, as well as Kodak ThermalNews digital plates and Kodak Insite software. The Tallahassee Democrat, a Gannett newspaper, acquired two Kodak Trendsetter News 100 thermal plate-setters. Brown Publishing, which prints daily and weekly newspapers at plants in Athens and Xenia, OH, purchased two Trendsetter News 70 platesetters, a NewsManager workflow and Prinergy Evo system.
 

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