Blogs

The Death of 'Always Be Closing'

In today’s social networking/consultative selling world, movies like "Boiler Room" and "Glengarry Glen Ross" are nothing more than entertaining views of how self-centered sales was in the past, leading to jokes like, "What do you call 100 sales people at the bottom of the ocean ....? A good start!" (or was that lawyers?) Always Be Closing is dead. It is sad ... we never gave it a proper funeral.

Know Thy Customer

Do you listen to your clients? Probably. After all, there is a “Contact Us” button on your website and you get feedback.

Many Americans Agree That 'Go Paperless - Save Trees' is Misleading and Ineffective

Results from a recent U.S. consumer survey suggest that the majority of Americans agree that print and paper can be a sustainable way to communicate when produced and used responsibly. In fact, it seems many people distrust and are not swayed by corporate green claims used to promote online services over paper. Here are my five favorite results from the June 2016 Toluna survey.

Other Staff Bloggers
Sales and Marketing

In today’s social networking/consultative selling world, movies like "Boiler Room" and "Glengarry Glen Ross" are nothing more than entertaining views of how self-centered sales was in the past, leading to jokes like, "What do you call 100 sales people at the bottom of the ocean ....? A good start!" (or was that lawyers?) Always Be Closing is dead. It is sad ... we never gave it a proper funeral.

Do you listen to your clients? Probably. After all, there is a “Contact Us” button on your website and you get feedback.

Deborah Corn seeks your expertise to help her push though silence, indecision and the follow-up.

Sustainability

Results from a recent U.S. consumer survey suggest that the majority of Americans agree that print and paper can be a sustainable way to communicate when produced and used responsibly. In fact, it seems many people distrust and are not swayed by corporate green claims used to promote online services over paper. Here are my five favorite results from the June 2016 Toluna survey.

A recent Creditcards.com survey revealed that 54% of American adults receive credit card or checking account statements by mail.

Two Sides has been encouraging Verizon to change inaccurate environmental messaging used to promote e-services over print and paper.

Binding and Finishing

Not too long ago, a majority of digital print volume was printed on cut-sheet toner printers. Finishing options were (and still are) many, with a host of built-in bookletmakers and perfect binders that could output a finished product. These were built for the speeds and volumes of the cut-sheet production model. But we’re now in the era of digital big iron.

You’ve no doubt heard this before, but I come from the offset finishing world, and specifically the long-run finishing universe.

Well, I've put another "drupa notch" on my belt, and it was quite an experience. The weather in Düsseldorf was good, and the crowds were there. For those who have never been, the sheer size of the show, and the enormous investment by the hundreds of firms exhibiting are truly mind-boggling. Deals were done, and many were for multiple high-priced systems, putting lots of smiles on vendor salespeople and management.

Productivity/Process Improvement

Most companies that have a printing operation believe that they have a workflow process. In-plant departments, packaging converters, direct mail providers, commercial printers, sign shops and transaction producers all know that to keep the business running they must identify each job, break it down into components, and track it through their organization until it is delivered to the end client. However, what most organizations have is a series of processes that have grown over the years to mitigate bottlenecks as they arise.

The example of Quad/Graphics and GPO illustrates the need for security/chain of custody measures to be followed closely.

There has been a lot of change in the printing and marketing services industry’s use of the cloud and SaaS since 2012.

Market Watch

After 20 years of battling with Amazon, Barnes & Noble has finally made a competitive move that Amazon cannot match.

An event culture that has sprung up in our industry. Will the more specialized shows nudge out broader-scoped events?

R.R. Donnelley calls this “transformative separation” the next stage in its evolution.

Consumables

Ever thought about the link between forest fires and your printing choices?

New research highlights the importance of forests, and the future of straw can revolutionize the printing industry.

Slowing down and following a "Best Practices" method to paper trials and qualification will save you time and ink costs by focusing on ink and paper surface compatibility. As your cost for a better inkjet paper and print quality go up, your ink usage should go down. But only if there are best practices in place.

Business Management

Let's not kid ourselves, we all clearly understand how the difference between a strong, valued relationship and a competitive relationship with our clients feels. However, what's often missing is the discipline to measure and monitor the quality of their relationships. Worse, there is no organizational strategy to take action in a way that continually advances the relationships.

I know countless business owners who declare they started or bought a business to gain their freedom, their "independence" from having to punch a clock or have a boss to set their schedule. They want to make their own rules, come and go as they please and set their own agenda. That’s exactly why I, too, wanted to be self-employed. However, I soon discovered, I was NOT as free as I thought I would be.

Are you wondering how to improve forecast accuracy, predict future revenue and close more deals? In a recent survey, CSO Insights reports the following major barriers to a company’s ability to predict future revenue.

Production Inkjet Printing

I’d already been briefed on a lot of drupa 2016 news before I left home so I wasn’t really expecting much to surprise me. I was wrong.

The latest offering from thINK and Canon Solutions America is "The Inkjet Edge: How to Transition Your Business to Inkjet," a new book that will be a valuable tool for print service providers of all types. The book follows in the footsteps of "The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet," which was published last year. "The Inkjet Edge" takes a more business-oriented approach in an effort to help print service providers that are considering, or are in the midst of, an inkjet transition.

With the announcement of the Brenva HD production inkjet press, Xerox is showing its first product to be jointly developed from start to finish by the combined Xerox and Impika development teams. The device is a cut-sheet color inkjet printer capable of speeds of up to 182 letter/197 A4 images per minute. At first glance, it looks like an iGen, and though it is built on an iGen frame, it will become clear that under the covers the differences are extensive.

Digital Printing

After digesting a week of meetings at drupa 2016 along with plenty of good German food and beer, the InfoTrends analyst team believes the show can be characterized by five major themes. Those are Inkjet 3.0, Digital Printing of Packaging, B1 Digital, Special Effects and Industry 4.0.

The awful morphing truth about our beloved print industry is that solving customers' communication needs isn't nearly enough anymore. We need to use our technologies and capabilities to solve our clients’ business needs. This is how today’s printers create non-replaceable relationship value.

I attended the recent Dscoop Americas event in San Antonio and was struck by a few trends, such as value-added special effects, digital laser cutting, PrintBeat (which will be the heart of PrintOS for HP Indigo users), the overlap of inkjet and electrophotography, and Print in 8 (the idea that print could be delivered anywhere in the world in eight hours).

Mergers and Acquisitions

we’ve seen a number of articles suggesting that last year’s boom in mergers and acquisitions may be running out of steam.

Who would have thought that we'd ever be talking about negative interest rates? Now we have to, because in many places, they’ve become a fact of life. While the likelihood of negative rates in the U.S. seems small, the Federal Reserve has said it doesn’t rule out using them for emergency stimulus in an economic crisis.

Because of consolidation, there are fewer firms in operation today than there were 10 years ago.

Workflow/Web-to-Print

Companies really need help managing their collaterals and marketing assets. And they are willing to pay for this help.

Interview with Erica Derrington, graphic communications manager, Olathe Unified School District in-plant print shop.

Please take this short survey about your use of Cloud-based serives, and the results will be posted in a future blog.

Wide-format Digital Printing

On July 1st, EFI made two announcements: One was the acquisition of the Israeli Matan Digital Printer, and the second was the acquisition of Reggiani Macchine. Both acquisitions are part of EFI’s stated strategy to invest and grow its product portfolio in adjacent markets and technologies.

Mailing/Postal

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Japs-Olson of Minneapolis—a printer that can trace its roots all the way back to 1907! Japs-Olson embodies the lean manufacturing approach to today's direct mail. What I saw was a "holistic" integrated process. Japs-Olson is capable of sending more than four million pieces a day into the USPS mail stream. To do this efficiently, you need critical thinking to be applied at every stage of the process.

Contrary to some opinionators, direct mail is going strong. Internet ads can't compete with a well-designed, creative, physical mail piece. You might spend a microsecond on a Web ad, but a mail piece has "got you" for 30 seconds at a minimum. So today's mailers are high-tech and well-equipped to keep this medium going strong for many years to come.

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:

Color/Quality Control

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?

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.

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 Offset 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.

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.

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.