Direct mail can be great—when done correctly. But when it’s done poorly or sloppily, as is too often the case, it makes me cringe. As a print provider you may not have control over design, but you may well have control over a customer’s mailing list.
So after last week’s blog went out I got a call from Ralph Nappi, president of NPES, the organization that runs the PRINT and GRAPH EXPO trade shows. The call was not unexpected and I was not surprised to learn that Ralph disagreed with some of my comments, but we had a great call about the show.
At PRINT 13, there was a sense that the industry, along with those who survived the Great Recession and the ongoing decline of print, are ready and willing to move forward. These survivors are focused on the future and are figuring out how to grow and thrive in the new age of print and cross-media communications. This attitude and the vibe of the show affirm that print continues to rock!
This is the new age of package and label printing. The long runs for many consumer products will shrink. Those print providers who remain enamored of analog systems will watch as an increasing range of new applications, shorter runs and customized jobs shift to digital presses—and take some of their business.
As of the moment, many vendors that have bailed out on Ipex still plan on being at various vertical market events in 2014. Some of my clients have been shifting more of their show budgets to verticals because they get more for their dollar and can better reach decision-makers on a one-to-one basis.
The Document Strategy Forum, held April 29-May 1 in Stamford, CT, was really a blend of three conferences, Document Strategy, Social Business and SharePoint, and the annual Business Forms Manufacturers Annual conference. There was enough common ground to attract about 300 attendees for a busy two days.
The value of conferences is the information and insights one gains by hearing other people’s perspectives on a host of topics. Xplor, held in St. Petersburg, FL, last month, was excellent for this, and the absence of product-pitches in the presentations made it far more informative and interesting for attendees.
Shows are expensive, requiring big checks up front. Kodak says it sees a better return from bringing more prospects to its demo center in Rochester, NY and stroking customers at GUA, the company’s user association. The question is whether this is enough.
For the past year or so, the Ipex email machine has been spewing out regular updates, telling me how spectacularly wonderful the show is going to be in its new digs at the ExCel conference center in London.
Like much of print, magazines are at the convoluted intersection of old and new consumption models and technologies. In many instances, a look at the print and Web versions of many mags reveals much the same content in each.
There was a lot of positive energy at GRAPH EXPO 2012 and most booths were generally busy. My sense from vendors was that business is (finally) coming back. “Doesn’t it look a lot like the old On Demand Show when we used to have it at Javits in New York? You walk in and all you see is digital press companies.”
At the Xerox stand, Cirque do Soliel acrobats wowed the audience with astounding aerial moves several times a day on a raised, springboard-equipped stage. The first five minutes of Landa’s highly produced presentation on Nanography had skin-suit-clad performers doing a dance that didn’t have much to do with the topic at hand, but was still visually engaging.
It’s good to be back home and try to put all drupa 2012 had to offer into some kind of perspective. I’ll start where my drupa did, with the press conference of the ebullient and irrepressible showman Benny Landa and the rollout of Nanography.
Dubbed InfiniStream, Océ’s new digital printing technology platform uses electrophotographic liquid toner technology and squarely targets the folding carton market. The machine can crank out 120 meters of paperboard a minute and the offset-like liquid toner process delivers similar quality to the offset presses.
As near as I can tell from the cryptic note that came with the video, Trillium is the name of a new press Xeikon will be showing at drupa. It uses a new toner that’s a thick, high-viscosity goop.
A recent discussion on a LinkedIN forum began with a member seeking input on a couple of mid-range digital presses he was considering. Over about a month’s time, print providers, vendors, sales reps and consultants all chimed in.
The vibe of drupa starts long before the gates open at Messe Düsseldorf. Duomedia hosted its pre-drupa event on March 6-7 in Portugal, featuring announcements—and one compelling teaser—from Chili Publish, Enfocus, Esko, Kodak, Xeikon and X-Rite/Pantone.
PR agency duomedia hosted an event in Lisbon so some of its clients could fill us in on what to expect at drupa. The answer is quite a bit, especially on the equipment side where I hang out.