Attend PSDA's Session at PPAI Expo
PSDA will be presenting a panel discussion on the benefits of adding print sales to your promotional offering at the annual PPAI Expo. The panel will consist of experts from both the manufacturing and print distributor market segments and will be moderated by PSDA Executive Vice President Matt Sanderson.
The panel will be held Tuesday morning under the Sales and Service education segment of the conference. Learn more about the session.
PEAK Awards Entries Due Friday, Feb. 1
PSDA is now accepting submissions for the 2013 Print Excellence and Knowledge (PEAK) Awards. Hosted in partnership with the Print Education & Research Foundation (PERF), the competition highlights unique and successful print and marketing applications and honors the work of print professionals who have creatively addressed their customers' needs.
Learn more about the program and submit your programs for consideration today. Make sure to review our new 2013 Peak Award Categories. The deadline for submitting entries for consideration is Feb. 1.
The 2013 PEAK Awards will be judged by a panel of industry peers based on innovation, suitability for intended application, print quality (where applicable), distinction/differentiation from similar common products, strategic significance for the end user and production complexity.
CEO Summit Housing Deadline Approaching
PSDA's 2013 CEO Summit, taking place Feb. 11-13 at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, is the best opportunity to connect with the people behind the largest, most successful companies in the industry. The deadline for hotel reservations is Jan. 15. The hotels are filling up, so make your reservation today! Take a look at the program and register today.
Keynote presenter Soren Kaplan, author of the bestselling book, "Leapfrogging," will present "Breakthrough Change: Why Disruptive Innovation is Everyone's Business." Kaplan will discuss the importance of achieving disruptive innovation in your organization through services, business models and customer experience, and he'll showcase strategies that you can use to deliver everyday breakthroughs.
More details are available at the CEO Summit web page, or you may download a PDF of the conference preview from the October issue of Print Solutions magazine.
The Flesh Company Celebrates 100 Years with New Logo, Hires New Sales Director
In celebration of its upcoming 100th year as a trade supplier, PSDA member The Flesh Company asked employees to offer ideas for a special logo to be used in the company's marketing in 2013. After going through all the entries, two were selected to be combined into the new logo. Gypsy Brackney and Bill Oxford each received a check for $50 for their contributions to the 100-year logo (pictured, left). “2013 will be a yearlong celebration of what was started in 1913 over a baseball game,” said Director of Marketing Roger Buck. The Flesh Company is also looking for customers to send along their best stories from the company's past. Stories can be sent to Irememberwhen@fleshco.com.
In other company news, Paul Barrett was recently hired as sales director for The Flesh Company's Parsons, Kan., facility. Barrett (pictured, right) has more than 35 years of experience in the printing industry and sales management. “We've had a long, extensive search for someone with the right mix of industry knowledge and management skills,” said Executive Vice President Mark Gerling. “Paul is a wonderful addition to our management team and is quickly picking up the reins as well as bringing some new ideas to the table.”
Reign Print Solutions Turns 25
On Jan. 3, PSDA member Reign Print Solutions celebrated its 25th year in business. President Bill Jourdan posted a retrospective piece on the milestone on the company's website. Jourdan wrote: “For everyone here at Reign, one would think 25 years would feel like a milestone event. Given all of the changes with technology, print and the economy, yes, we are quite proud and fortunate. However, when we truly reflect upon the past 25 years, it seems like a blur. We've been having so much fun that the passing time has left us still feeling young, energized and driven to tackle the changes taking place around us.”
Read the whole article here.
Graphic Dimensions Establishes Custom Label Division
Graphic Dimensions, a PSDA member and trade-only manufacturer of business documents, recently launched its new label division, New Dimension Labels. New Dimension Labels is a custom digital and flexographic label provider headquartered in the company's new 64,000-square-foot modern facility just outside Atlanta. “We are very excited to begin servicing the label needs of our distributor customers,” said Jay Scammell, president and CEO of Graphic Dimensions. “We have staffed this new division with experienced label industry veterans who take great pride in supporting label resellers in growing their business. Our mission is to provide unparalleled quality and proactive, consistent customer service.”
Great Reach Communications Launches Marketing Service
PSDA member Great Reach Communications recently launched Insights, a marketing service created solely for the print distributor community. The new service is a comprehensive marketing program consisting of outbound (e-newsletters and postcards), inbound (blogs and web content) and automatic social media posts. “Our content is written and designed by industry professionals and helps busy distributors stay engaged with their clients and prospects to stay top of mind,” said Patrick Whelan, president of Great Reach Communications. “Furthermore, the content and the way it is presented fosters credibility and helps grow relationships through relevant communications.”
The programs are area exclusive with no limits on distribution. The e-newsletters are customized for each distributor and managed and distributed by Great Reach. Postcards are completely customizable and the InDesign files are downloadable from the website. The outbound marketing consists of 12 annual publications: six e-newsletters and six postcards. The automatic social media posts are sent daily on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Navitor Creates Free Coworking Program for Graphic Designers
PSDA member Navitor recently partnered with CoCo coworking and collaborative space to launch Design Works™ Studio, a free coworking program for graphic designers. Design Works Studio will give freelance designers the ability to join the coworking movement and do great work by providing them with a state-of-the-art studio in the middle of a vibrant coworking space. Coworking involves professionals working in a shared environment, regardless of the company they work for. The first two Design Works Studios are being opened at CoCo in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. Navitor hopes to expand the concept into coworking spaces nationwide.
This design studio coworking program at CoCo is one benefit of Navitor's Design Works membership program launching in early 2013 with the goal of enabling freelance and independent designers to grow and manage their business while still focusing their time and passion on their craft. Additional benefits will include access to color, print and production expertise at Navitor, exclusive training and education programs as well as exclusive offers on world-class design resources, software and products from Navitor's partners. Prospective Design Works members can apply for membership here.
Implementing Cross-Media Solutions: Are You Up to the Task?
MyPrintResource (12/31/12) Whitcher, Joann
It can be a matter of survival for printers to provide innovative solutions spanning multiple communication channels in order to engage and target their audience. “Among PODi members, we see that many are successfully providing cross-media services, such as linking print and online communications through personalized URLs and [Quick Response (QR)] Codes, incorporating email marketing into campaigns, using social media channels and developing campaign specific microsites,” said Christine DeLooze of Caslon, a consulting company that helps businesses take advantage of new opportunities enabled by digital production printing. Becoming a solutions provider demands specific skill sets that include solutions selling, solutions expertise, data management and customized programming of software tools. Furnishing these solutions on the shop floor is less about equipment and more about workflow.
Transitioning from a commodity pricing to a value-based pricing model is a major challenge for printers. “Cross-media solutions that incorporate digital print can create new value by delivering relevant marketing messages that drive increased sales,” DeLooze said. “Value pricing is related to the value the customer perceives they are getting as opposed to the cost of the product or service.” Print Buyers International President Margie Dana said the sheer number of options makes knowing where to start a challenge. “It’s important that printers narrow down their specialty and not just jump into QR Codes or mobile computing or content management — they can’t be experts in everything,” she said. Printers have a responsibility for knowing their customers and their markets, and they must become more familiar with the key marketing solutions/tools that their customer base is using or is going to use.
DeLooze said the provision of cross-media services should be part of an overall marketing approach. “Printers who want to offer cross-media services need to be prepared to consider the entire customer experience from start to finish,” she said. Dana said printers should consult with their large clients to see what they are looking to deploy within their marketing strategy. There also must be an ongoing effort to keep abreast of the latest cross-media communications developments, with DeLooze recommending printers attend webinars and conferences and subscribe to marketing-oriented publications. Dana said printers must join marketing associations and attend trade shows that draw agency and marketing personnel.
“Whether you are working with seasoned veterans or new hires, it’s important to provide sales personnel with support to help them succeed, such as ongoing training opportunities, value-based pricing models and effective sales materials,” DeLooze said. When seeking to broaden their offerings to clients, printers should strive to harness the good history and good will they have with their customers, and Dana said printers should build on their customer relationships through the use of social media.
Distributor Solutions Expo You can keep abreast of the latest corss-media solutions at PSDA's Distributor Solutions Expo, May 8-9, 2013.
Trying to Measure the Unmeasurable: Substrate Management
PrintWeek (12/06/12) Creasey, Simon
Managing the volume of paper to be bought and consumed is one of the toughest challenges of a printer’s daily routine, and the fast growth of on-demand print, combined with customers’ calling for ever-quicker turnarounds, has compounded the problem. One possible solution to this dilemma is to limit the number of paper options offered to clients, and ESP Colour has streamlined its paper types so that customers have only one choice of coated and one choice of uncoated substrate. “This is a really smart move ... and if it fits with your business, it is something that I would advise,” said Julian Long with Arjowiggins Graphic. “This decision means that you have a better rationalization on grammages and sheet sizes and it just makes the whole process much easier to manage.”
However, others said that while this approach is appropriate for ensuring printers have the paper stock available to print last-minute jobs, not all print businesses would be able to embrace it. Concurrent with the growth of on-demand printing is the need for greater innovation and flexibility, with management of more varied stock an inherent factor. Experts cite two ways this management can be handled: via a paper management software system or use of the services of paper merchants. More and more printers are turning to the former option, and paper buyers are usually promised that they can cut their annual paper usage by as much as 10 percent.
Meanwhile, ESP’s Anthony Thirlby said a more effective option can be cultivating a solid relationship with the paper supplier and employing the 24-hour service and next-day delivery options most merchants currently offer. Next-day or, in some cases, same-day delivery makes it easier to contend with on-demand jobs without requiring software, but this approach comes with the pitfall of merchants not having in stock the paper the printer needs. Printers faced with a client base prone to a broad range of substrate demands may find purchasing a wide spectrum of paper in advance and holding stock in preparation, with efficiency enhanced by a paper management software system, to be the optimal solution. On the other hand, a combination of both the software solution and the merchant relationship solution may in fact maximize effectiveness.
Manufacturing the Future: Trends to Come in 3-D Printing
Forbes (12/07/12) Srinivasan, Vivek; Bassan, Jarrod
A number of trends in 3-D printing are expected to unfold in the future, including 3-D printing becoming industrial strength. This trend will manifest itself as 3-D printed components are incorporated into airliners and the adoption of the technology for the direct fabrication of specialized components in industries such as defense and automotive. Another significant future trend is the emergence of customized product manufactured via 3-D printing, with innovators using the technology to gain a competitive edge by offering customization at the same price as their rivals’ standard products. Leading companies will tweak their sales, distribution and marketing channels to exploit their capability to supply customization direct to the client.
A third anticipated trend of note is an acceleration of product design and innovation, as rapid prototyping using 3-D printers cuts the time to convert a concept into a production-ready design, enabling designers to concentrate on product function. Designers’ access to 3-D printers will grow as a result of rapidly declining cost, improved design software and an increasing range of printable materials. This, in turn, will lead to better and faster-designed products. Also on the horizon is 3-D printing serving as a platform for new and creative business models by startup companies as a generation of inventors, hackers and “makers” leverage 3-D printing capabilities to create new products or furnish services to the thriving 3-D printer market.
Meanwhile, 3-D print shops will become commonplace at shopping centers, initially serving local markets with high-quality niche printing services such as rapid prototyping. The shops will later expand into the consumer marketplace, eventually becoming venues where customers will pick up customized, locally made products.
Getting In on the Out-of-Home Advertising Market
Wide-Format Imaging (12/12) Steele, Jeffrey
The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) said out-of-home (OOH) advertising industry revenue is climbing concurrent with the economic rebound, and numerous print service providers want to ensure their ability to serve that market progresses accordingly. The sector encompasses more than 2,100 U.S. operators representing the four key OOH format categories: billboards, transit, street furniture and alternative media. Outdoor advertising used to be split into two separate categories, known as on-premise and off-premise signage, said Rich Gottwald with the International Sign Association. On-premise signs refer to those on businesses, while off-premise signage includes highway billboards advertising a business that might be relatively close.
Gottwald said the category of on-premise signage has been expanded to include dynamic digital signs. “We’re trying to educate [sign providers] regarding the different aspects of ... digital signage, including hardware, software, content and the business side, in which you install a screen and gain revenue,” he said. Gottwald said the additional revenue stream that digital signage can yield is something print service providers should consider. He said print providers offer project management expertise in bringing together different suppliers and content expertise founded on their provision of print signage and messaging to clients for years. The majority of providers will service small- to medium-sized businesses, which are the very firms with whom they have long-standing relationships.
“Today, they typically turn over their sign to the end user,” said OAAA’s Stephen Freitas. “But in dynamic digital signage, they manage the content and gain an ongoing revenue stream.” Gottwald said word-of-mouth and other traditional promotional strategies for current signage offerings are also applicable to dynamic digital signage. The next ISA International Sign Expo will offer several new ways for print providers to gain insights into dynamic digital signage from industry experts. One avenue is the Dynamic Digital Signage Park, where the latest products, trends and opportunities in dynamic digital signage are highlighted. The other is Dynamic Digital Signage Day, a full day committed to dedicated education on dynamic digital signage, how it is transforming the signage marketplace and how companies can exploit this market.
Gottwald said print service providers should seriously consider dynamic digital signage if they wish to serve the OOH advertising sector. “If a retailer is currently using a lot of printed signs, and wants to convert those to digital screens, the print provider serving that client would be wise to learn how to provide that service, rather than turning it over to another provider,” he said. “The other provider could wind up taking all the business.”
Finishing’s Smooth, Inline Flow
MyPrintResource (12/17/12) Vruno, Mark
There are numerous solutions for boosting print productivity and reducing the touch points that inject both costs and possible mistakes. Pennsylvania direct marketing company MSP runs inline in a one-step operation using a Rollem Jetstream, which churns out “1.2 million to 1.8 million pieces daily, seven days a week” using half-web offset presses and three Hewlett-Packard Indigo digital presses, said MSP executive vice president Doug Wright. MSP also boasts capabilities for envelope printing, inserting, laser printing, database development/management, tracking and reporting, along with full-service bindery.
MSP produces personalized holiday greeting cards for Hallmark by starting with a full multi-up image sheet that the Jetstream cuts vertically and horizontally. Sheets are trimmed, slit, perforated and butt/bleed cut in a single, automatic system that is uninterrupted. The process removes guillotine cutting and raises production while executing accurate slitting, trimming and scoring processes all at speeds of up to 5,000 sheets per hour. “The Jetstream is 100 percent faster than our old process,” Wright said. “We were running at 5,000 sheets per hour [sph] and now are at 10,000,” and no extra set up is needed for the backbone slitting/scoring. “We can do one to one or one to many.”
The Jetstream combines versatility with variable configurations. It can operate as a self-contained unit or can be embedded within a digital printing line to accept sheets directly from the digital press. The machine’s roll-away, modular design supports Rollem’s rapid change-overs, said Rollem western regional sales manager Doug Sherwood. The Jetstream can support several options, such as folding, plough folding, gluing and die-cutting to generate a full production line. Bin delivery, shingle delivery or an auto-collation feature that collects product into sets are among the product delivery options available.
“We can take a sheet and convert it to product with one operator, who has [total] control,” Sherwood said. “This results in less human error as well.” Sherwood also said the Jetstream can realize labor and waste savings as high as “50 percent to 80 percent in some cases.”
Label Printer Installs First Domino N600i Color Label Press
Packaging World (01/13) Reynolds, Pat
Reynders Label Printing is a pioneer in many areas, and its concentration on investing in state-of-the-art gear led to the installation of the first Domino N600i digital color label press at its production facility in Belgium. “Over the past few years, label printing has been facing new challenges with customers demanding ever tighter delivery deadlines, shorter average run lengths and more personalized data — but still the highest quality of end product,” said Reynders CEO Marc Reynders. “As a result, we needed to find solutions that can not only cope with these changing demands, but that also means adjusting our service offering for our customers. It ultimately helps us to move our business forward in line with the changing dynamics of the industry.”
The N600i supports significantly higher levels of productivity, along with better print quality for inkjet. “To take Reynders to the next level in digital label production we needed a solution that could offer high quality digital printing at significantly increased speeds,” Reynders said. “The N600i was just what we were looking for.” The press features a native 600dpi print resolution and employs one of the smallest drop sizes to produce unmatched quality output onto a range of coated paper and plastic label stocks. It runs at speeds of 50 to 75 meters per minute, and with a standard 333-mm wide web width the N600i supplies up to 1,500 square meters of print per hour. Furthermore, varying the droplet sizes delivered from a single print head in combination with the ink’s composition enabled the press to reproduce a wide color range, including more than 80 percent of the pantone color range.
Reynders’ operations team allowed the N600i to run at production speeds of 50 meters per minute, and the press is being used for new mid-volume applications of up to 3,000 meters, versus the 1,000-meter limit they would usually schedule on digital machines. Reynders and the Domino team seek to develop new inks and review the integration of inline die-cutting technology within the N600i production line to make the N600i more flexible and capable. “If the N600i continues to perform to our expectations and we can achieve all our business goals, we will be considering further investment in this technology in the future,” Reynders said.
Here's a Tiny Printer for Your Smartphone
Mashable (12/18/12) Petronzio, Matt
"MPrints run in a hosted environment on our servers, and can interact with any outside web service that has APIs," Muldowney said. "When a user or outside events trigger an event, our web servers push the content to be printed over Wi-Fi to your printer." Users also have the option of sharing their created mPrints with anyone else with an mPrinter. Muldowney said this will hopefully cultivate "an ecosystem of ideas that continues to grow the usability of the device."
Muldowney said 3-D printing has played a vital role in terms of the mPrinter's physical design. "Advancements in 3-D printing technology have allowed for the development of prototype cases at a reasonable cost prior to making injection molds, something that historically was more expensive and out of reach for prototyping projects on my scale," he said. Muldowney also said he intended to avoid the utilitarian look of traditional point of sale printers, so he set out to make the device visually appealing without impeding usability with needless elements.
"The largest single element of design I hope mPrinter can help move forward is bringing back an analog, tactile experience to our ever-increasing digital life," Muldowney said. He also said a February delivery of the mPrinter is currently on track. "Concurrently, we've been hard at work on the API specifications and the website that will allow users to start developing mPrints and talk directly to the printers," he said. "We're hoping to make all of those specifications available shortly after Christmas for backers and anyone else to start developing content."
Direct Mail Outlook: Still Best Marketing Value
Printing Impressions (12/01/12) Cagle, Erik
A number of marketers across verticals ranging from telecom and utilities to nonprofit, publishing and financial services still favor direct mail as their preferred marketing channel, and the Direct Marketing Association's 2012 Response Rate Report found that rates for letter-sized direct mail beat those for email by a factor of 30. "Market research continues to point to the resilience of direct mail and its high credibility among Millennials and Gen-Xers," said RR Donnelley's John Coyle. "The research runs counter to assumptions made about these age groups who, you would think, live only on the web and on their smartphones. It turns out that hard copy, because of its credibility and distinctiveness, still prevails as a viable commercial medium."
RR Donnelley accelerated its initiative to guarantee that its customers receive maximum value through the deployment of its new ProteusJet MultiWeb variable color imaging technology. The solution supports full page, 100 percent customization, making print versioning, plate changes and small postal strings unnecessary. Coyle said ProteusJet additions have supplied relevancy enablers as well, resulting in a higher response rate at a reduced cost per response. "Clients have readily adopted the use of variable digital imagery to enhance consumer appeal," Coyle said. "This has led to a shift in the creative departments of our largest clients, which now write, design and create art for numerous individual socio-demographic segments. They draw on our imaging flexibility to implement sophisticated business rules that pull in the required copy, offer and graphics."
Coyle also said uncertainty about the U.S. Postal Service and its financial distress has not dampened the enthusiasm of RR Donnelley's customers, nor caused them to change their mailing patterns. There is continued multichannel integration, with campaigns boasting email teasers and followed up with post-mailing electronic reminders. Both email and direct mail contacts often ultimately direct consumers to a PURL, where a transaction is frequently closed.
RR Donnelley is taking all possible measures to guarantee success for its clientele, and Coyle said technology is a major component of this effort. "With the best responders as targets, we make our ProteusJet MultiWeb technology available to deliver compelling messages and offers," he said. "We support these mailings with internet media and smartphone technology to deliver a full sales experience to the consumer. Augmented Reality is another technology we are introducing to the product mix. We believe it will bring further life and interactivity to the printed page. This, in turn, will motivate readers to envision products and services, which will boost responses."
Direct Mail Now Integrated With Google
Forbes (12/17/12) Olenski, Steve
Marketing venues like pay per click, search engine optimization and social media seem to leap forward every other day, but traditional marketing methods also can innovate. The direct mail industry is starting to figure out that websites are the front door to a business and can impact marketing. Some direct mail houses have started to offer web design services to complement their bread and butter, but the latest innovation involves integration with Google. With a product called Remarketing, prospects who visit a website, get distracted and leave without taking the action the business wants them to take will receive follow-up advertisements reminding them to return to the site and finish what they started.
The program, connected to Google Adwords, allows businesses to add the Google Remarketing Code to their website. When a prospect comes to the site, he or she leaves before taking the action the business wants them to take (such as completing a transaction or filling out a form), Google knows this and displays specific follow-up advertisements to that prospect as he or she continues to cruise other sites, reminding them to go back to the business’ site and finish what they started. The business does not pay unless the prospect actually clicks the ad. The direct mail industry sees this as an opportunity to get better returns for clients and has bundled Google Remarketing in with standard direct mail services like postcards. Postcardmania.com is one of the best companies that has seamlessly incorporated direct mail with Google. The company calls its offering “Direct Mail 2.0” and declares “the old way of handling direct mailing services is ancient history.”
Getting the Most Out of Action Codes
Folio (12/12) Raphael, TJ
Publishers using integrated action and experience codes within pages of magazines to connect print to digital are starting to identify what does and does not work. Bonnier’s
Popular Science has launched PopSci Interactive, and uses the free app to bring specific print content to life for readers, via video or photo slideshow, rather than drive users to a webpage with a QR Code. The publisher embarked on a soft launch in June, flagging the app on the cover of the magazine and offering a full-page promotional table of contents highlighting editorials and advertising that could be enhanced. Through October 2012, the app has been downloaded more than 12,000 times, and the content has been viewed more than 35,000 times.
“The individuals who are going to utilize a device to enhance the experience with the print product are, in essence, your best and most engaged consumers because they want to know more about whatever topic you’re speaking to,” said Steven Grune, vice president, group publisher, Bonnier Technology Group. Shape magazine used action codes for an interactive sweepstake in its 30th anniversary issue last December. The scavenger hunt garnered 400,000 entries and participation from 60,690 readers. “They work, but when a reader has a purpose of looking for something and continuously flips for a repeated icon, that definitely drives engagement,” said Anna Lisa Lopez, associate merchandising director for Shape.
What Should B2B Email Marketers Expect This Year?
BtoB (01/03/13) Nicholson, Jeff
Opt-out will become a more critical metric for email marketing efforts in 2013, according to Jeff Nicholson, vice president of product marketing, customer analytics and interaction at Pitney Bowes Software. Businesses have fewer chances to get email marketing wrong, now that customers expect to have the opportunity to determine how, how many and how frequently they receive email messages. As a result, businesses must give customers the opportunity to proactively "opt down," rather than "opt out." Customers want to receive emails in the frequency they prefer, want to give businesses permission to send messages and want emails to be relevant to their needs. There will be more discussion within businesses about who "owns" the customer, and they will need to have cohesive communications across channels and implement formal "customer governance" strategies. This requires a combination of both management conviction and technology. Also, more people are using mobile devices to access their email, which means businesses must craft concise, clear and engaging content for the platform, said Nicholson.