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EVP, Marketing at Specialty Print Communications

Against the Grain

By Dustin LeFebvre

About Dustin

A third-generation printer, Dustin LeFebvre delivers his vision for Specialty Print Communications as EVP, Marketing through strategy, planning and new product development. With a rich background ranging from sales and marketing to operations, quality control and procurement, Dustin takes a wide-angle approach to SPC

 

Good Grief USPS!

And here we are again with a little hope. The package business is growing at double digits, retailers are competing on service, and the USPS wants to grab a share of the game. It could even be the right business decision to make, but I’m tasked with offering the perspective of the printer, and here it is.  Read More >>

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Ghost of Vertis Haunts Us

Even after its third bankruptcy and subsequent takeover by Quad, Vertis continues as the model of margin compression and value destruction we all wish would go away. It has a ghost of the past, a ghost of the present, and it’s sure to have a ghost of the future.  Read More >>

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The Marriage of RRD and CGX from a Competitor's Perspective

The world has been buzzing about the R.R. Donnelley acquisition of Consolidated Graphics, but is it more likely that they met on adultfriendfinder than eHarmony?  Read More >>

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Here’s an Alternative “Exigent” Solution

Do we need six-day delivery? Do we need five? I’m not sure, but I AM sure that we do need a USPS system—including rates—that are economically sustainable and predictable. In that scenario, we lose the uncertainty; we and our mailing customers can finally make reasonable and credible projections of business volume and cash flows.  Read More >>

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What I Learned at PRINT 13

On Sunday, I spent my day touring the exhibit hall of McCormick Place. It had been a couple of years since I did this, so I really took a fresh look at the landscape. What I saw really blew my mind.  Read More >>

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Like Dust in the Wind

Each week we’re swept around by factors well beyond our control. While there are certain steps we can take to hedge our bets or mitigate our risks, we remain an industry susceptible to many threats from all sides.  Read More >>

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Web Ads Are the New Bricks in the Mailbag

Am I so biased by print’s tangibility that my disdain for online advertising clouds my judgment? I’m not sure, but knowing that I’ve rarely received any feedback on the digital ads our company has run has always made me wonder what’s really going on.  Read More >>

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Competing with Robots (Look to QuadTech and Valpak)

As a 32-year-old planning on living and working for some time, I’ve naturally developed a healthy fear of being replaced by a robot. There must be some technical term for this, but I have not found it. I’d much rather make use of the robots, than be replaced by one.  Read More >>

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Double-dipping at the Bankruptcy Bar (Commentary on National Envelope's Chapter 11)

Why are people so willing to issue debt in our industry, at such low rates, with such flimsy justification, and with such an awful track record? The premium for distressed assets is down to around 5 percent, close to a historical low. There is a LOT of dumb money, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any smarter.  Read More >>

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Some Sage Business Advice from James Schrager

At the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ Management Conference last week, I had the pleasure of attending one more lecture by James Schrager, clinical professor of entrepreneurship and strategic management. In his lecture, Schrager presented a very simple tool to analyze our business success.  Read More >>

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Changing Times for the Paper Segment

Paper procurement USED to be a strategic function. For printers, it was an opportunity to leverage scale of spend to better serve our customers and in so doing, to beat the competition and convert opportunities into profitable business. I cannot remember a single occasion when I had to turn down an order because I couldn’t get the right paper.  Read More >>

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Busy, Busy, Busy.

When I hear someone talking about how they're so busy that they had to neglect a task, I suspect the issue simply isn’t a priority for them. Business (busy-ness) is a false pretense that gives cover to someone who doesn’t feel comfortable telling you the truth.  Read More >>

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They Always Buy the Wrong House!

Understanding others’ decisions often starts with empathy—understanding their goals, priorities, and the internal mechanism for evaluating how likely options are to achieve those goals. You also need to look at their range of choices, consider what happens in the absence of a decision, and think about whether they’re looking for the perfect solution or simply one that will suffice.  Read More >>

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Hiring the Right People

In print, experts look not just to leaders like Joel Quadracci or Thomas Quinlan III, but also to leaders in other fields like Jamie Dimon and Eric Schmidt. Experts look beyond today and look beyond our industry, to develop a vision for what lies beyond.  Read More >>

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Experts Are Made, Not Born

Practice makes us better; it builds patterns and representations in our minds that enable us to see what others cannot. It makes us experts. Have you ever embarrassed yourself in front of your family by practicing a presentation aloud? If not, perhaps you should.  Read More >>

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Is Color Inkjet Close to Crossing the Chasm?

It seems color inkjet has charged past the innovators and is rapidly gaining traction with the early adopters. Many in the industry have been spending years on road shows, proselytizing in webinars and writing about it in magazines and online sources like PIworld.com. Now, it seems that people have been listening all along. And the conversation has changed.  Read More >>

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Key to Image Marketing Success

We printers have chastised ourselves repeatedly over the years for not developing and communicating our marketing strategy. But did we know at the time that we were not just failing in one function of our business, we were neglecting our dominant strategy?  Read More >>

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A Game of Dominos

Clearly, the USPS must take steps to relieve uncertainty and ensure long-term financial viability of printing’s primary distribution channel, and $2 billion per year in savings seems like a good step in the right direction.  Read More >>

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How to Avoid Being Swindled

The good criminals are good—they spend their lives honing their skills. They know how to falsify references, make you feel good about working hard to win the business, and they know how to disappear the moment you realize their snake oil. They don’t think like you and I, and they don’t play by the same rules. They enjoy their ill-gotten gains on a daily basis. They enjoy today because they’re not in jail—they’ll deal with their problems of tomorrow when tomorrow turns into...  Read More >>

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A Frankenstein of a Merger

Would a NewPage acquisition help Quad maximize its customers’ print ROI? Does it help them lower their costs? From my vantage point, it does nothing on to help its customers, and I don’t see much effect on its costs either. We have two mature companies, neither of which has strategies that complement the other, and they’re both looking at a “bet the company” deal. It doesn’t make much sense to me.
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