Blogs

Why Companies Make a Big Mistake in Not Training Their Sales Force

Let’s face it, a company is only as good as the people who represent it. That is a fact. It’s people who build the website, develop the process and provide the customer service. Some companies only hire experienced salespeople so they don’t have to invest in training. That’s a big mistake and here’s why.

8 Tips for Creating Your Direct Mail Story

All direct mail pieces tell a story. Are yours telling the story you want, or one by default?

5 Ways Publishers Can Use Digital Printing to Get Personal, Drive Revenue

A financial analyst who specializes in the printing industry recently speculated that “the…

Other Staff Bloggers
Business Management

Let’s face it, a company is only as good as the people who represent it. That is a fact. It’s people who build the website, develop the process and provide the customer service. Some companies only hire experienced salespeople so they don’t have to invest in training. That’s a big mistake and here’s why.

All direct mail pieces tell a story. Are yours telling the story you want, or one by default?

In this blog post, a designer asks a printer for advice on which paper would be better for a project and budget. The printer responds with the following advice...

Digital Printing - Toner

A financial analyst who specializes in the printing industry recently speculated that “the…

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).

Steve Johnson, founder and owner of Copresco, is a bit of a legend in the digital book business.

Software

Since Sales is so crucial to a business’ existence, it is puzzling why so many small businesses do not use CRM.

Print MIS systems can be the path to reduce order errors, keeping workflow on track and identifying problems early in production, and moving towards more automation. But just adding a Print MIS is not enough. To reap the benefits of a Print MIS there must be a commitment to setting up the system, identifying information collection points, and keeping the system up-to-date as new software is added to the workflow and new equipment is added to the capabilities set.

It's time to ask the question that is often missed in discussions about workflow — is the current workflow scalable? Scalable isn’t only a question of getting bigger; it is also a question of complexity. If your workflow was built to handle one type of job, like books or bills or bingo cards, and today you are handling magazines, direct marketing mailers and posters, there may be a mismatch between your work and your workflow.

Finishing

Increasingly, customers are looking at the finishing end and wanting finishing solutions that are far from standard. The era of the “vanilla” book, mailing piece, or booklet is over. Printers are attempting to be more creative than ever (with good reason), and the prospect or customer applications that I’m tasked with require machine modifications that range from the minor, to very major.

There is a wide range of finishing automation for photobooks of all quality levels. But larger machines are not inexpensive and a photo book printer needs adequate volume to justify the capital expense. And this leads to the question of demand.

The overall shrinkage of the print market has challenged dealers like never before. A smaller potential customer base forces them to diversify their product lines further, and to try to enter new potential markets. This is far from easy, as (successfully) entering a new market — especially against existing competitors — takes lots of time and money. And this also works against new suppliers trying to enter the U.S. market.

Consumables - Paper

Designers are visual people and the best way to teach a visual person is to show them. What follows are 10 ways you can use your smartphone to reach out to your designer clients, add value to your company website and make life easier for yourself.

Concerned about all of that paper we’re writing and printing on, the Yadong Yin research group at University California Riverside decided to come up with a substrate that could be “written" on, and subsequently erased, through a variety of methods. This piqued my interest.

A multi-country survey on "The Attractiveness and Sustainability of Print and Paper" was conducted in June 2016 by global polling firm Toluna Inc. and showed some positive results on how people perceive and use print and paper. In general, there was a preference for print on paper across all age groups, likely indicating a more fundamental and more human way that people react to the physicality of print on paper.

Mailing/Fulfillment

We put our heads together to come up with this list of what not to do that will keep you out of trouble.

“Told you so. Now don’t try to slap us with a Stupidity Tax.” That, in essence, is the magazine industry’s response to the USPS.

In 2016, mailing list gaffes simply shouldn’t happen. But one might have cost the University of Michigan a prized football recruit.

Digital Printing - Production Inkjet

HP Inc. held its Power of Print analyst briefing on June 15th at its headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., to update the printing industry on its strategy and key initiatives. While there was essentially no new news, what was clear is that HP is building momentum as a leaner and more focused company nearly a year after its separation.

I was fortunate to be invited by Pitney Bowes to attend their annual Innovation Summit, at which over 100 of their clients attend to share experiences, discuss best practices, and get to see and experience new technologies and products and services all in one day. I always jump at the chance to participate in events like this for several reasons.

InfoTrends defined the Zone of Disruption as an opportunity for products with price points below $1 million, speed faster than most electrophotographic cut-sheet color printers, very competitive running costs, and production-oriented features. A handful of products have appeared in the Zone of Disruption over the past few years and this week a new one joined the fray: Canon’s Océ VarioPrint i200.

Data Management

Smart Data brings you the specific information you need using benchmarked and correlated analytics compared against your company’s specific business strategy. The result is a curated set of smarter data that can be used in every day strategy executions.

Why is it that so many marketers fail to have a database marketing strategy in place?

I have been writing about using “model-based” personas stemming from a 360-degree customer view for personalization for some time now.

Interactive Print

On Thursday May 11, around 150 Konica Minolta production print users gathered in Vienna for a day of presentations at the inaugural meeting of PROKOM, the Konica Minolta user community. With the focus, at least at first, on users of cut-sheet light to mid-production color and black-and-white digital print, the opportunity for PROKOM is unlike many other user groups, which tend to focus on higher levels of production.

Advertising media, interactive displays, product labeling and packaging, security—all are perfect playgrounds for NFC technology. Yes, some of the marketing applications are similar to QR codes, but without the ugly square that has been driving design-minded folks crazy for years.

Some marketers want to use technology whether it makes sense—and thus provides a good user experience—or not. A good user experience takes work. Lots of work. It has to be planned and executed well.

Training and Education

So, why did I title this small piece “bragging rights?” Well, when we (IBIS) attended the awards dinner on Wednesday at our first Inkjet Summit, it turned out that we had been nominated for the best case study in the publishing segment. We didn’t WIN, mind you, but we got a nomination, in company with some of the biggest industry vendors. It was a great way to end our first Inkjet Summit.

Dscoop is part tradeshow and part education event, with an agenda that included A-List keynotes and mentalist Lior Suchard as emcee. The sessions were the expected array of customer success stories, successful selling solutions and product reviews, but there were also a variety of sessions covering finishing, packaging and 3D printing.

Last week I went to Boca Raton, Fla., for the 2016 thINK Conference. The sessions that I attended were well done and thought provoking.

Digital Printing - Digital Offset

What follows is an interview with Rosemarie Breske Garvey, VP at Blooming Color in Lombard, Ill. Blooming Color is doing some pretty spectacular work beyond traditional four-color printing and I wanted to learn more.

A young designer I spoke to the other day was very frank about the fact that she did not like digital printing because you could only print on white paper. Granted there are some print providers that prefer to print on white coated stock all day long (digital or offset, it does not matter to them). And these few give our whole industry a bad reputation.

Digital Printing - Wide Format

During the One Canon press/analyst event (March 7-9) in Boca Raton, Fla., Canon unveiled worldwide the Colorado 1640 and Mal Baboyian, Senior VP of Canon U.S.A.’s Business Imaging Solutions Group for Océ Product Marketing and Support, thinks it is Océ’s most important wide-format graphic arts product introduction in 25 years.

It’s no surprise to see wide-format shops attracting their fair share of attention in the M&A marketplace. We’ve represented a number of them as sellers in transactions this year, and they make an interesting contrast with our commercial printing and packaging clients.

No one predicted that wide-format inkjet would open a new market for printers for signage, vehicle wraps, building wraps, back drops, and more. Go back and look. The first wide-format printers were introduced as proofers for color printing. As Benny Landa has said: anything that can go digital will go digital. That is why the growth markets are packaging and new media — and by media I mean new substrates.

Binding

You can produce short-run, hardcover orders in-house, and with great quality.

Hardcover book production seemed to be under serious threat not too many years ago.

The manufacture of hard-cover books has never been more advanced or accessible for the average printer.

Offset Printing

We were in Japan last month, and as luck would have it, we were there at the same time that Komori held an open house to showcase its newest digital print solutions. This international event took place at Komori’s facility in Tsukuba, Japan, and drew hundreds of attendees from all over the Asia Pacific region. It also provided the opportunity to showcase its Impremia IS29, a B2-format, sheetfed, UV inkjet printer.

In a sense, Berlin Industries was once the king of Chicago. Last week, the remaining assets were auctioned off. If you were there, you could have purchased a Heidelberg Sunday M3000 five-unit web press for a mere $47,000.

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.

Mergers and Acquisitions

It looked like a good fit. The seller, unfortunately, didn’t see it that way.

As a trade association president, I knew that one of my most important jobs was to offer our members a friendly, well informed, third-party perspective on strategic business issues. Today, our New Direction Partners clients want the same thing: not just information about the mechanics of M&As, but also a genuine understanding of the industry and the mindsets of the people who own those companies.

For many years, I had the privilege of serving in leadership positions with Printing Industries of New England (PINE), the largest printing trade association in the Northeast. Then as now, I was greatly impressed by the resiliency of our members and their ability to adapt to changing business circumstances.

Consumables - General

Quick! Name two consumables that are indispensable to operation in the bindery. If you named adhesives as one, you'd be on the mark. But...if you included knives, (yes, they are a consumable), you would be quite savvy. Cutting and trimming are part of almost every finishing operation. And the quality of those cuts are essential to the quality of the finished product.

Adhesives are widely used in finishing, this includes perfect binding, folding, mailing, and folding carton applications. And coatings and various chemical solutions are used in the digital print process to both enhance image quality and make the paper more "finishing-friendly." Both chemistry and environmental control have a lot to do with systems performance.

Digital printing has thrown a curve at both coating and film systems manufacturers due to the surface properties of many toner printed pieces. These make it difficult for many films and coatings to properly adhere to the substrate.

Consumables - Ink

The fifth housing station in the upgraded Xerox 800i/1000i series can now also deliver metallic inks: gold and silver.

Color/Quality Control

Whether it's uncoated, coated, gloss or matte, every sheet reacts differently on-press. That’s the reason why our industry has developed sets of guidelines and recommendations to help print buyers, designers, and specifiers work more effectively with their print suppliers.

A new Pantone book is not only there in case your issue has faded or to update you on the new colors Pantone has added...Pantone reserves the right to adjust some of your tried-and-true colors from year to year. I learned this the hard way on a press check a few years ago when my printer’s PMS 362 did not match mine.

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?