Blogs

How to Utilize NFC for Print Marketing

The easier it is for customers to communicate with you, the better it is for your company. That’s where NFC technology can help you.

Printing Trend of the Year: Laser Diecutting

Designers and printers are pushing the proverbial envelope with laser diecutting, realizing breathtaking results in the process. Is this really a trend? To find out I did what we all do these days—I Googled it.

15 Fabulous Facebook Friends to Follow

For this week, I am going to ram Facebook down your throat. Think there is no place for Facebook in your business world? Think again. Here are just 15 of the companies that I follow, like, and interact with on Facebook. And you know what? It’s fun. And I usually learn something. And I meet people I might not have otherwise met.

Other Staff Bloggers
Sales and Marketing
How to Utilize NFC for Print Marketing
John Foley Jr.

The easier it is for customers to communicate with you, the better it is for your company. That’s where NFC technology can help you.

15 Fabulous Facebook Friends to Follow
Kelly Mallozzi

For this week, I am going to ram Facebook down your throat. Think there is no place for Facebook in your business world? Think again. Here are just 15 of the companies that I follow, like, and interact with on Facebook. And you know what? It’s fun. And I usually learn something. And I meet people I might not have otherwise met.

If I Trained Sales Reps
Margie Dana

The following list comes from over 20 years of my being a corporate print buyer or working with them, hosting events for them, and listening to them. At the end of the day, successful sales reps respect their customers and strive to deliver what each one expects.

Binding/Finishing
Printing Trend of the Year: Laser Diecutting
Sabine Lenz

Designers and printers are pushing the proverbial envelope with laser diecutting, realizing breathtaking results in the process. Is this really a trend? To find out I did what we all do these days—I Googled it.

In this week's blog, Don Piontek discusses the special needs that the digital production environment places on manufacturers of traditional offset finishing systems. Many of these firms have "seen the light" in terms of digital's potential for better sales growth than their offset marketplace.

 
Can Digital Finishing Step Up?
Don Piontek

I spent a fair amount of my career in high-volume commercial print finishing. Sadly, the only two real multi-plant operations left standing are Quad/Graphics and RRD. In the "old days," runs were in the millions of copies and machines could run continuously for days.

Business Management
For Sellers, the Curtain Rises Once
James Russell

In some ways, owning a printing company you intend to sell is like investing in the stock market. Because the value of what you own can fluctuate unpredictably, waiting for a market "peak" before you act can be a needlessly risky thing to do. It’s better to begin working with your M&A advisor so that when the right offer comes along at the right time, you will be ready.

Your Calling Is Calling—Are You Free?
Philip Beyer

Your current business may NOT be your "calling;" however, if you take the cards you’ve been dealt—even if you feel stuck in a business you think now you should never have started or taken over—there IS a way out.

Parting Words: Retire at 55—I Was Wrong!
Carl Gerhardt

As of this month, I am 100 percent retired, and this will be my last blog. I can say that I am enjoying this new phase of life, but what is right for one may not be right for another. I'd like to share the following checklist of things to consider when planning retirement at any age.

Mergers and Acquisitions
For Sellers, the Curtain Rises Once
James Russell

In some ways, owning a printing company you intend to sell is like investing in the stock market. Because the value of what you own can fluctuate unpredictably, waiting for a market "peak" before you act can be a needlessly risky thing to do. It’s better to begin working with your M&A advisor so that when the right offer comes along at the right time, you will be ready.

Knowing from the get-go exactly what you want to accomplish by purchasing another firm puts you in a winning frame of mind and increases the acquisition's likelihood of success. At New Direction Partners, we know that when a prospective buyer comes to us with a clear picture of the kind of company he or she wants to buy, we can zero in that much more quickly on candidates that will be complementary or accretive to the buyer's present business.

As 2014 winds down, it's satisfying to report that the year has been a mostly good one for mergers and acquisitions in the printing and packaging industry. Looking back, we can see that a normal level of M&A activity has returned to the industry and that—assuming we get no more shocks from the general economy—opportunities for dealmaking will carry over into the year ahead.

Consumables
The Jim Beam Wood Label (Includes Video)
Sabine Lenz

This week, PaperSpecsGallery.com features Jim Beam Wood Label. Someone must have felt intoxicated when they found this substrate from Graphic Wood Technologies. The 13-pt. Text Cherry Sheer Veneer makes for a spectacular Jim Beam Wood label on this bottle of American Stillhouse Limited Edition Bourbon Whiskey.

 
Warm Holiday Wishes Card (Includes Video)
Sabine Lenz

This week, PaperSpecsGallery.com features the Warm Holiday Wishes Card. The team at Design Is Yummy used an impressive menu of visual, tactile and interactive ingredients to create the perfect holiday card (i.e. one that you can drink).

This week, PaperSpecsGallery.com features a promotional piece created by Saad Branding+Design to highlight its solutions for creating brands that talk to people. From postcards and brochures to envelopes and stickers, the design team thought of everything and brought it all together coherently.

Inkjet

Last week, I participated in the Canon Solutions America anniversary event and had a chance to see, first hand, what they’ve accomplished and where they’re headed. Today, I’m going to write about what Canon Solutions America is doing to drive growth in the inkjet market.

Production Inkjet: Work It Baby
Mary Schilling

Inkjet has created wonderful personalization and marketing options for customers. How does your sales team “work it” to benefit your customers’ marketing message?

 
Production Inkjet Is Not Ready to Save Your Life
Mary Schilling

Production inkjet is a wonderful technology for many types of printing, but it is not right for everyone. The print requirements must direct the process. Or, in medical terms, you cannot "treat" something properly if you don’t have an accurate diagnosis.

Sustainability Issues

From working at a computer to socializing, playing games, paying bills, taking notes in class, doing homework, reading books, watching TV and texting, we are all spending an increasing amount of our lives looking at screens. But at what cost to our health?

Despite what many people think, harvesting trees for wood and paper production in a sustainable manner does not cause deforestation. The area occupied by forests in Canada has remained stable over the last two decades while in the United States it increased by 3 percent over the last 60 years.

Most consumers want a paper option for their bills and statements. Like earlier studies carried out in the United States and the United Kingdom, a recent nationwide survey conducted for Two Sides US by the research firm Toluna showed that 64 percent of consumers say they would not choose a company that did not offer a paper bill option and 88 percent want to be able to switch between electronic and paper bills without difficulty or cost.

Digital Printing

The key to making this strategy a success is getting to know your customers as well as you can and then presenting a customer experience of exactly what they have been searching for. The funny thing is, they’ve been listening all along. Marketers need to catch up!

Look Outside Your Own Hula-Hoop
Sabine Lenz

Think outside your own Hula-Hoop; don’t be caught out by your clients knowing more about what is available than you do. We are doing our customers, and our industry, a disservice by claiming something is not available just because we do not offer it.

How to Make Direct Mail Useless
Noel Ward

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.

Market Watch
The End of Trade Shows?
Don Piontek

I don't think the large shows like drupa, Ipex, and GRAPH EXPO will be shutting down any time soon. But we will increasingly see major targeted events run by manufacturers that will compete with (and draw attendees away from) the traditional shows.

Kodak’s 'No Show' at Trade Shows
Noel Ward

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.

Mailing/Postal

I’ve always been a proponent of clean mailing lists. Why would you want to ship your or a client’s direct mail piece or catalog to anyone that is not remotely interested? So, as we approach the New Year and resolutions are bound to be made:

NIARG EHT TSNIAGA
Dustin LeFebvre

Welcome to my everything-is-backward, what-are-we-coming-to, bizarro blog this week. Ever since the Senate passed the postal reform bill that delays elimination of Saturday delivery by two years and slows the shutdown of mail processing facilities, it seems like everything is the exact opposite of what I would think.

 
USPS Leaves Print Up the River
Dustin LeFebvre

A recent edition of The Week came with a letter from the editor concerning mail delivery. A lot of readers value their traditions and were upset that they’d no longer be able to count on receiving their copies by Friday.

Color/Quality Control
Phoning in Press Okays - Literally
Dustin LeFebvre

Sabine’s out-of-town client, a very sophisticated direct marketing agency, had examined the press okay process, jettisoned accepted assumptions, and along the way demolished the model entirely. Air travel, hotels, loupe, D50 lighting, heck, even dots. Who needs any of it?

Color Manage My World
Nicholas Gawreluk

The task that color management sets out to achieve is by no means easy. Recently at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), I completed a color management systems course and afterwards took on the challenge of color managing a weekly magazine.

Workflow/Web-to-Print
Brazil Makes a Big First Impressão
Nicholas Gawreluk

Greetings from South America! I am spending my summer working for Heidelberg in its lead market, São Paulo, Brazil. Similar to my time with Heidelberg in Germany, I am working within the company’s integrated workflow system, called Prinect.

The Cloud Gets Personal
Julie Shaffer

The “cloud”—once the purview of IT geeks and software developers—has gotten personal. For several years, there’s been a movement to transition software from the desktop or local server to the cloud. One example is Web-to-print software, typically offered as Saas (software-as-a-service).

Nearly a quarter of the firms surveyed that subscribe to software through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model subscribe to Web-to-Print software. The benefits of using SaaS include a universally accessible Web-based interface, reduced start-up costs, and decreased risks in developing and launching new services.

Sheetfed Offset Printing

The 150 VIP attendees at Heidelberg’s recent President’s event witnessed a mix of high and low energy. The “high” was a kickoff tribute dinner for former president Jim Dunn; the “low” was an educational program focusing on low-energy UV printing.

UV Printing

We were told upon the arrival of the sales and tech rep from the roller manufacturer that the $30,000 worth of rollers that were previously ordered and installed by my client were not compatible with full UV inks.

 
Print UV 2011 - Day Two
Darren Gapen

Starting out with the topic of LED UV, Steve Metcalf and Jon Graunke gave an update on where this new technology is currently and where it’s going. They noted that AMS successfully installed its first production unit in Japan on a four-over-four machine last fall, with more units to be installed here in the states this year.

 
Print UV 2011 Day One
Darren Gapen

With yet another sold-out conference last week, Print UV 2011 opened with a record audience count. The attendee list included almost 170 participants with representatives from more than 60 individual printing companies, along with some of the leading vendors.

Productivity/Process Improvement
Spanning the JDF Generation Gap
Nicholas Gawreluk

In this blog, I will discuss my prediction for the future of the print production workflow powered by JDF (Job Definition Format) and how this will reshape the way companies structure their workflows—from start to finish—in the near future.

As the new school year begins, I could not be more excited to return to RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology). The campus is alive with students and the school year promises to be a busy one. As I meet people throughout the industry, I always find it interesting to hear how familiar they are with the school.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to rain on industry efforts to better define quality expectations in printing. Certainly industry standards, such as SWOP, GRACoL, SNAP and Bridges, are noble and important. These standards seek to help buyers and their print solution providers communicate quality issues more effectively. And when used properly, they are effective. But with the exception of perhaps SNAP, print buyers for the most part aren’t paying that much attention to industry standards. And some print buyers don’t even know what they are.

In a Print Buyers Online.com survey of over 62 top print buyers, buyers were asked “How relevant

Market Research

Flipboard turns your Facebook and Twitter account into something that looks like a magazine. It works flawlessly with Apple's new iPad and social media by providing a seamless integration of graphics, text and messaging. Flipboard quickly converts the content into a very slick digital magazine and eliminates the irrelevant social media content as well.

About Printers
Gratitude Needs an Attitude Adjustment
Kelly Mallozzi

There are lots of ways that we express gratitude. However you decide to do it is up to you, but PLEASE remember to do it...and do it often. Send cards to clients to tell them you appreciate their business and hope the relationship continues well into the future.

“DON’T MOVE, or both of us will die,” shouted Wesley Autrey as he pinned a fallen commuter between the subway tracks before an onrushing subway train in Manhattan.

Wesley had been waiting for his train on the station platform with his two young daughters when a young man suffered a seizure and fell about eight feet to the tracks below. Wesley jumped down to the track bed, rolled the man between the tracks and lay on top of him as the train passed over them with two inches to spare.

Wesley is just a 50-year-old construction worker.

He is just a good father who

 

I GUESS you all saw that Mister Hot Shot George Clooney won People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive!” competition.

This is twice for Clooney.

Brad Pitt won twice.

Last year I called People magazine to inquire about my ranking in the competition. I wasn’t even in their database.

This year I called People again and inquired about my standing in the ranking. A kind and very patient researcher performed an in-depth search while I held on the phone. No luck.

I suggested that just maybe she would find me in the “M’s” as the “Mañana Man.” Yep. She found me. The People researcher said I was in the Hispanic Sexy

Industry At Large

THIS BAD economy thing has made me mad. Rip roarin’, snortin’, fire dirt kickin’ mad. I’m afraid to call it a recession. No two economists can agree on what it is.

Whatever it is, it’s lousy. It’s causing deep, dark depression to pervade the land.

Depression among Americans is up 113 percent this year, according to several sources. Antidepressant sales are up 156 percent, according to still other sources. So, that’s great for the pharmaceutical companies. When the economy turned South, sales of the new impotence pills probably tanked, so thank goodness here come the orders for antidepressants.

Of course, the oil-producing sheikhs and the oil companies