Blogs

From Strategy to Execution

What makes a strategy effective is if its content is engaging and relevant to its intended audience. The ability to connect a strategy to content is the key to driving successful executions of your desired goals. The best executions are built upon inspiring strategies that cause people to take notice and action.

Planning for Successful Automated Marketing Campaigns

You can’t get a customer to buy from you by giving them all the information in one sitting. That’s where marketing automation comes in.

Communications Growth: A Key Component of Successful Organizations

In consulting with companies and speaking to many groups across the country, I ask them the following question. What level of competence is your communication in? Let's take a look at the four common stages of communication development.

Other Staff Bloggers
Sales and Marketing

What makes a strategy effective is if its content is engaging and relevant to its intended audience. The ability to connect a strategy to content is the key to driving successful executions of your desired goals. The best executions are built upon inspiring strategies that cause people to take notice and action.

You can’t get a customer to buy from you by giving them all the information in one sitting. That’s where marketing automation comes in.

In consulting with companies and speaking to many groups across the country, I ask them the following question. What level of competence is your communication in? Let's take a look at the four common stages of communication development.

Consumables

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.

As a major consumer of paper, your business matters—to the forest industry, communities and governments. Your purchasing decisions influence R&D by forest companies, lead to product innovation and ecopaper options, bolster the adoption of forest certification, and ultimately help determine the fate of ancient and endangered forests. As we all know, forestry operations can sometimes be contentious and the landscape of competing claims can be confusing. That’s where Canopy comes in.

You can get your desired color of paper (and weight, for that matter) custom made by a paper mill. Just for you. Just the way you (or your client) likes it. In fact, most mills have always offered this as an option, yet not many printers or designers that I’ve met seem to know it.

Digital Printing

More than the general print sector, newspapers in general have been heavily impacted by the internet and mobile devices.

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

As Donald Trump would say, digital print is "HUUGE!" There are more than enough offerings on both the toner and inkjet side. What has been missing (until now) is a scientific and objective method to accurately measure the performance of a particular press. That ability is finally here in the form of Image Test Labs.

Business Management

We all have those moments of being "in the zone." It's that perfect time of leading your team when all cylinders are firing. But there's also being "zoned out." That is, resting in your comfort zone while opportunities, value and talent start to evaporate.

I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions, but I am, however, a believer in hitting the "reset button" from time to time. Coincidently, the start of the year, after the holiday break, is a perfect time to reset. Long ago, I identified some conditions that allow me and the teams I lead to measure and achieve our best work.

Loyalty. It is what we want in all relationships, right? Client relationships are no different. When we consider the time, effort and overall cost to acquire a customer, one of the most important things we can do is to measure their loyalty on a regular basis. Introduced in 2006, by Fred Reichheld in his book "The Ultimate Question," the Net Promoter Score (NPS) has become the de facto standard for measuring loyalty for the best companies in the world.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Let’s review some headline-making deals to see what they tell us about valuation trends and growth strategies.

Today is a great time to be a seller. It’s also a great time to be a buyer.

2015 was the best year of the century for mergers and acquisitions among printing and packaging companies.

Binding and Finishing

The other day, I received an email from a true "legend" in the bookbinding industry. The email informed me, that after 65 years of service, he was finally going to concentrate on more important matters like taking care of his family. The man is the RIT Professor (Emeritus) Werner Rebsamen. And what a storied career the Professor has had.

Virtually all of the major bindery systems' manufacturers are now concentrating on digital print. And they're introducing new offerings at a rapid pace. This year's drupa will see an eye-popping number of new and innovative bindery offerings designed specifically for digital.

The 2015 InfoTrends holiday card has two particularly interesting aspects.

Sustainability

It's been said by many strong voices, including Forbes as early as 2010, there is "no sustainability without transparency." To tackle customer skepticism and growing expectations of truly sustainable performance, companies must be increasingly willing to share information on their efforts to improve CSR and their impacts across multiple touch points.

As many of you know, Two Sides has been working with several Fortune 500 companies in North America to encourage best practices for environmental marketing related to paper. Our ongoing campaign has been successful, with 33 companies out of 60 removing their claims—a 60 percent success rate to date. But our target is 80 percent and we continue to add new companies to our list regularly.

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?

Productivity/Process Improvement

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

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.

Inkjet Production Printing

Earlier this month, HP invited a group of customers and prospects to its Corvallis, Oregon, facility to show them the latest developments in the newly renamed PageWide web press (formerly known as the Inkjet web press) product line. The facility tour began with a visit to HP’s Corvallis "Fab" lab, the fabrication laboratory where the silicon wafers used in inkjet print heads are made using micro electro mechanical system (MEMS) manufacturing techniques.

This was another great year for GRAPH EXPO in Chicago. Although the hype was low key, there were many new inkjet technologies.

Pitney Bowes’ AcceleJet fits well in the gap between existing cut-sheet electrophotographic and continuous-feed inkjet color products.

Market Watch

In a huge manufacturing building in the Eastman Business Park in Rochester, New York, Kodak is printing sensors that can be used in touch screens for tablets, computer screens, kiosks, and industrial equipment. The process uses technologies that print service providers will find familiar, but they are being used to achieve a very different end result.

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

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.

Workflow/Web-to-Print

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

I was interviewing Dr. John Leininger, Graphic Arts professor at Clemson University, about best practices in using social media for lead prospecting and, in just a few minutes, he made me really think hard about how I’m using social media.

A couple of weeks ago I asked people in the industry to share the VDP languages, workflow solutions and MIS solutions they use. It is always good to take a quick pulse of the industry and the results confirm much of what I already suspected. Here’s what I found.

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.