PSDA Holds Education Session at PPAI Expo
PSDA recently presented a panel discussion at the annual PPAI Expo on the benefits of adding print sales to your promotional offerings. The panel consisted of experts from both the manufacturing and print distributor market segments and was moderated by PSDA Executive Vice President Matt Sanderson.
"For the second year in a row, PSDA has presented at the PPAI show — talking to promotional products distributors about the value of print in the marketing mix, and evangelizing about the power of print when combined with promotional products in an integrated campaign," Sanderson said. "I was very pleased with the reception at this year’s show, and PSDA plans to continue to tell this story to new audiences in service of our industry."
The panel was held under the sales and service education segment of the conference. Learn more about the session.
(Pictured, from left: Joe Walkup, Innovative Business Products; Matt Sanderson, PSDA; Wendie Martin, Enthusiast Media Group; and Roger Buck, The Flesh Company)
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 Awards categories. The deadline for submitting entries for consideration is Feb. 1.
The 2013 PEAK Awards submissions 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.
Update Your Online Sourcing Guide Information
Do you have new products or services in 2013? Did you add or change locations? Make sure your company information is up to date on PSDA's Online Sourcing Guide. The Online Sourcing Guide is an exclusive directory of sources for print, marketing and related services for use by PSDA member companies. The Online Sourcing Guide is one of several sourcing resources available to PSDA members and is made possible through the support of PSDA member companies and exhibitors.
Discount Labels Launches New Website
Discount Labels, founded in 1965 by Fred Conway in the basement of his home, has grown to become the largest wholesale label maker in the industry. Although many distributors have utilized Discount Labels' budget-friendly, high-quality services from its inception, the company has recently announced its newly designed website at www.discountlabels.com, which allows even more online visitors to personalize labels that have potential to increase their sales and improve their customers' sales, branding and communication tactics.
The website, which features enhanced functionality and an easy-to-use interface, aims to take Conway's business philosophy — treating every customer as he or she wants to be treated and offering high-quality products and reliable service — and blast it into the new age, allowing all Discount Labels' clients to modernize their sales, marketing and communication strategies, thus staying ahead of competitors.
“Today, Discount Labels operates from a 200,000-square-foot facility with many presses and hundreds of employees,” said Jennifer LaGrange, Discount Labels' brand manager. “We still focus on delivering the professionalism and quality Conway pioneered, which is part of our new website launch."
Pilgrim Plastics Celebrates Centennial
PSDA member Pilgrim Plastics, a supplier of printed plastic to the promotional products and print distribution industries, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013. Originally known as Pilgrim Badge and Label and founded in the Brighton section of Boston, Pilgrim grew to become one of the largest suppliers of cards, rulers and luggage tags to the United States and beyond. The company has stayed true to its roots, continuing to manufacture these products in its modern factory, now located in Brockton, Mass.
“The award-winning quality and the support of all our valued customers, partners and employees has allowed us to achieve this wonderful event,” said CEO Mark Abrams. “Celebrating a 100th anniversary is a milestone for any business. We are the widely acclaimed leader in promotional plastic printing with the largest assortment of custom sheet plastic items available anywhere.”
WebbMason Takes Honors at Event Tech Awards Ceremony
WebbMason, an integrated marketing solutions and services company and PSDA member, took second place in the “Best Use of a Custom Application” category at the second annual Event Technology Awards ceremony held on Nov. 13, 2012, at the New World Stage in New York City. Judges reviewed more than 200 submissions across a variety of categories. This was WebbMason's first time to enter the awards.
WebbMason's winning solution was designed for Kiddie Academy, a family child care provider with more than 100 independent franchises coast to coast. WebbMason designed an integrated, multitouch, interactive and social program for StorytimeLIVE!, a series of promotional events designed to enhance enrollment in Kiddie Academy franchises. The web-based outrea ch, tracking and lead distribution solution automated many of the processes that had previously been handled manually, reducing administrative overhead for the organization.
Gill-line Makes Strategic Staffing Moves
PSDA member and promotional products supplier Gill-line recently made strategic moves to better address the needs of its customers. Troy Trembly moved from marketing to regional sales manager of the Midwest region; Dana Henton also moved to the Midwest region as regional sales associate. Mathew Ritchie was hired as a regional sales associate in the Northeast region, and Mark Bengston moved from sales to marketing to assume the role of product line manager – adhesive products.
(Pictured, from left: Trembly, Henton, Ritchie and Bengston)
Relyco Reports Substantial Sales, Customer Growth in 2012
PSDA member Relyco recently closed out a successful year with substantial sales and customer growth. The company's sales increased by 26 percent in the second half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011 and it gained more than 2,200 new customers in 2012.
Building upon its reputation as a leading provider and innovator of business printing and payment solutions, Relyco continues to grow quarter over quarter. In 2012, Relyco increased its customer base and expanded existing business across all vertical markets for its entire line of products. “2012 was a fantastic year for Relyco as we experienced record sales in our second half of the year,” said Mike Steinberg, president of Relyco. “What we learned this past year is that the market for digital printing solutions is growing exponentially and printers are looking for specialty products like our REVLAR waterproof paper and DigiPOP digital packaging. We also learned that businesses are beginning to transition from paper check based payment methods to more cost-saving and efficient electronic payment methods. As a result, we focused on selecting best of breed technology solutions that help our customers seamlessly make that transition. This has us very excited for a great 2013.”
Photo-Rich Products Provide New Opportunities
MyPrintResource (01/14/13) Whitcher, Joann
InfoTrends projects a $12 billion market for photo rich documents for business applications by 2014, and savvy print service providers will be able to take advantage of this opportunity to raise their revenues. “At the end of the day, photo apps are where it’s at, because there are so many images captured on mobile today,” said Mohwak Fine Papers Vice President Chris Harrold. "It’s explosive; anyone with new ideas might want to keep photo in their vision. Figure out a way to turn those images into a product.”
InfoTrends projects a $12 billion market for photo-rich documents for business applications by 2014, and savvy print service providers will be able to take advantage of this opportunity to raise their revenues. “At the end of the day, photo apps are where it’s at, because there are so many images captured on mobile [devices] today,” said Mohwak Fine Papers Vice President Chris Harrold. “It’s explosive; anyone with new ideas might want to keep photo in their vision. Figure out a way to turn those images into a product.”
Ricoh Production Printing Business Group’s Ed Wong said photo-rich documents are well-suited to digital printing systems “because of their ability to literally take digital files and print them with a few basic steps in setup. Further, these systems can be configured with in-line finishing to result in booklets without any further manual intervention.” Xerox’s Brian Segnit said targeting business-to-business applications is a better strategy than trying to compete with dominant printer operations. He said a good starting point is showing your skills with a calendar or photo book. “If I am in print for pay, I want to be able to show my printing pedigree and print my own custom photo book so customers can see firsthand what I can do,” Segnit said.
Inspiration can be found in the communities they serve and the customers already employing their digital printing services. “Look at your existing customer base and see where offering a custom photo product fits,” Harrold said. “Think of ways you can help them market their services with a photo-rich product.” Segnit said printers also should consider their manufacturing capabilities. “What are the applications I can do to enhance our digital printing operation?” he said. “If all I have is signature binding, that puts me in one direction, or perhaps I can partner with others that have other binding capabilities.”
The current generation of digital print machines can produce high-quality custom photo books, calendars and cards. “All of the production presses we make are photo-capable,” Segnit said. “But the business is much more than a digital printer. We also offer media — substrate and paper that allows you to create something unique.”
Four Guiding Principles for Advancing Managed Print Services
Business Solutions (01/13) Neal, Ken
Canon Business Process Services’ Ken Neal said there is growing awareness among companies that reducing document management costs and boosting efficiencies entail changing their management processes. He said many businesses are migrating from a cost-per-click pricing and vendor-supplied maintenance scheme to a more advanced managed print services (MPS) model, which centralizes print and copy responsibility and produces an integrated package of services, consulting, software, parts and supplies to enable smarter organizational decision making. Among the MPS model’s advantages are reduction of paper and toner/ink usage, lower energy consumption, equipment/maintenance cost consolidation, color printing containment and leveraging of automation for remote diagnostics and other support functions.
Neal said there are four guiding precepts recommended by Canon for optimizing an organization’s document process management operation, beginning with planning the complete output infrastructure and its management model. This step should be directed by a rigorous evaluation of the company’s current and projected document management output requirements and the generation of a map that charts the operation from its “current state” to its “future state.”
The second guiding principle involves deploying resources including superior tools, organizational infrastructure and processes that will support an optimized MPS effort. “This includes appointing accountable management, as well as an on-site team to support the process,” Neal said. “Further, the team should identify appropriate vendors, including the consideration of an outsourced provider to help oversee the software, device and training transformation, as well as help manage complex service level agreements (SLAs) necessary to recognize the maximum potential cost savings available.”
The third step is to enhance the MPS program and the business via digital equipment functionality and methodologies that can be combined with business systems to improve workflow, information management, compliance, etc. The result should be detailed reports on program performance to quantify savings and efficiencies, along with specific performance deltas from the original plan outlined in the first step.
The fourth and final step is to use best practices to sustain cost savings and environmental sustainability programs, with further investigation committed to approaches that can reduce paper, equipment, energy consumption and waste. “Collectively, these four principles help advance the effectiveness of an organization’s MPS program,” Neal said.
Tricks of the Trade Printers
Quick Printing (01/13) Steele, Jeffrey
Although farming out work to trade printers can make considerable business sense to print service providers (PSPs), it involves finding a trusted partner. "When you outsource, you immediately expand your product range and your sales volume, without the overhead typically associated with that goal," said ASAP Printing Corp.'s Ed Dignam. Another reason for outsourcing is so that the printer can devote more time to making sales calls, cultivating relationships, marketing and acquiring new clients, Dignam said.
He also said that when it comes to seeking a trusted outsourcer, communication is essential. “Do they answer the phone?" he said. "Do you have ease of access to an account manager, or a customer service rep who will provide the answers you need? That's No. 1, and the absolute most important consideration.”
Dignam said in the past, pricing was based on a dollar sum. “The variable was based on the dollar amount, and the value of that customer to you,” he said. “If you have a customer who's always a pain ... you might want to charge that guy more. But how do you deal with another customer who's a terrific guy and provides you with a lot of work? You might want to offer a volume discount and charge him less.” Dignam said printers should not charge by the job but by the general cost of running the business.
Best practices also can help guide PSPs that have to outsource to suppliers of business forms, holiday cards and ad specialties, and DFS Group executive director Fred Collins said one such practice is to look for a company that can fulfill several requirements at once. “Our value is being one-stop,” he said. “If you have someone who deals with promo, they're going to know right where to go for what manufacturer. What we have found is those who are promo product distributors find our value proposition great because it's very straightforward to sell our catalog items.”
Label Printer Turns Plain Cigarette Packaging into Sticker Success
ProPrint (01/09/13) Kiernan, Steven
Australian printing company Box Wrap has courted international media coverage with its production of a self-adhesive label that covers plain cigarette packaging. The stickers boast 30 distinct designs, including the Australian flag, playing cards and scantily clad women, to conceal the olive green packaging and health warnings that must be displayed on cigarette packets. Box Wrap is a collaboration between Anthony Do Rozario and Joel Whittaker, who operates vehicle graphics printer Five Three Designs.
Two Roland DG machines at Five Three Designs, an AVS-supplied VersaCam 540 and VersaCamm 640, produce the labels. Whittaker said Box Wrap is considering installing additional machines to keep pace with demand.
The original plan was to sell the labels online, Do Rozario said. "We didn’t expect the retail demand," he said. "Once we got on the national news, the emails started flooding in from national retailers." Cigarette vendors such as tobacconists, variety stores and service station chains have been placing orders with Box Wrap, Do Rozario said. He also said the media coverage has contributed significantly to Box Wrap's robust order book. The company generated a decent inventory of labels before the product's launch, with the machines running day and night to keep up with demand.
Printers Fight Back as Anti-Paper Lobby Gets Aggressive
ProPrint (01/16/13) Bendel, Nick
Software providers’ campaign to urge people to stop using paper are being met by printers pushing for continuance of paper use. The software makers’ campaign is designed to show people how to stop receiving what they deem to be wasteful direct mail. In response, local Australian printers said the anti-paper advocates have a vested interest in halting paper usage. “Print has been driven to a higher level of environmental responsibility than any other industry I can think of,” said Dobson Printing Executive Director Peter Crawford.
Meanwhile, Franklin Web’s Phil Taylor said researching products via catalogs and then purchasing them at supermarkets is a more environmentally friendly option than the “massively inefficient” online model. “You go to the local Westfield and buy 12 items,” he said. “Those 12 items could potentially be delivered one at a time [if ordered online].”
Kopystop Digital Print Solutions managing director Art Tchetchenian said the print sector had made great strides to enhance the efficiency of every facet of the print process. “Overall, printers are making a conscious effort to go green, whether through their choice of paper supplier or equipment supplier all the way through to the processes that are incorporated in the entire print process onsite and then through to delivery,” he said. Minuteman Press Melbourne CBD franchise owner Michael Milivojac said the industry must make more of an effort to promote the beneficial green measures that paper manufacturers and printers have implemented.
“All of the paper that we use here comes only from sustainable resources, contains no elemental flourines, is manufactured under a self-improvement code and we print with vegetable-based inks,” said Greenridge Press managing director Mark Osborne. “Even if we don’t use paper that’s recycled, we’re producing a very environmentally responsible production.”
Why Digital Print Matters
Labels & Labeling (01/17/13) Ferrari, Mike
Ferrari Innovation Solutions' Mike Ferrari said digital printing is a tool through which brands can expand their business and improve their consumer ties through their sustainability of relevancy, engagement and interaction. He cited as an example Coca-Cola's packaging-enabled marketing campaigns. "They have kept relevancy through the European football championship, Olympics, seasonality, religious holidays and Save the Polar Bear campaign for customization — including the creation of personalized Coca-Cola with your name on it achieving a one-to-one relationship with consumers through digitally printed shrink sleeves," he said.
Ferrari said a breakdown of these brand success elements into actionable terms and consideration of how they can be facilitated by package printing reveals print quality, an agile supply chain and a reduced carbon footprint as the top needs enabling relevancy, engagement and interaction. "Package print quality is needed at two critical moments: the first moment of truth and the second moment of truth," Ferrari said. "Well-executed graphics that are consistent in color on shelf and with high resolution create a moment of interest while a shopper is racing down the retail aisle. Such standout graphics can create trial or purchase."
Ferrari said the value of the second moment of truth is maximized when the package or product is in use. "The same high level of print quality graphic appearance adds to a positive consumer experience and becomes part of the repurchase decision," he said. Ferrari said digital printing, and Hewlett-Packard Indigo printing in particular, has been accomplishing this in many instances.
Ferrari also said digital printing can make the supply chain agile, "but it requires CPCs to rethink not just the move to a digital printing press, but to think of revamping their supply chains to a digital workflow and logistics system handling to move products in a targeted way, more quickly and efficiently to be available for consumers." He again cited HP Indigo printing as an effective facilitator of an agile supply chain to deliver personalized products and other innovative items. Finally, Ferrari said a digital workflow can cut the environmental load by yielding less waste during the printing process and fewer remnants that need to be scrapped at the end-of-product-life.
Latex Printing: Hope or Hype?
Wide-Format Imaging (01/13) Vruno, Mark
Latex printers, also known as durable aqueous printers, are promoted for high quality and durable output while being free of the harmful environmental properties of solvent inkjet, such as obnoxious odors and hazardous air contaminants. Aqueous inks are nonflammable and noncombustible, and they need no hazard warning labels. Moreover, the device can run safely and productively without requiring special ventilation equipment or an external dryer, which helps reduce energy consumption.
Hewlett-Packard said latex inks are perfect for wide and super-wide applications, such as event banners, transit signage and other outdoor uses, as well as for high-quality indoor signage. One user of latex printing products is the Big Print Shop in Washington state, which began to accrue outdoor signage and banner business once it installed an HP Designjet L25500.
Big Print Shop also bought two Designjet L26500 printers to keep up with rising demand as well as support the company's expansion, said Big Print Shop general manager Ron Morris. "The printers have accounting cost calculator built in,” making tracking ink and media costs for each job simple and painless, he said. Big Print Shop makes trade show displays, marketing materials, textile printing, adhesive vinyl wraps and wall coverings and offers two-day turnaround on banners and banner stands. The Designjet L26500 and L28500 printers boast new HP 792 Latex Designjet Inks, which generate rich blacks and glossy results on banners and self-adhesive vinyl and offer double-sided printing capabilities with less user intervention and more precise, automated registration.
Meanwhile, HP Latex University offers a series of training materials and application workshops headed by industry experts. “With about 13,500 HP Latex Ink systems installed worldwide, HP is offering a superior alternative to eco-solvent solutions that delivers the versatility and ease of use our customers demand while lowering their impact on the environment,” said HP's Xavier Garcia.
Why 3-D Printing Is Becoming a Serious Industry
Entrepreneur (01/05/13) Love, Dylan
3-D printing appears to be undergoing a resurgence thanks to significant drops in price and greater hardware compactness, and its value to tinkerers and do-it-yourselfers is enormous. A 3-D printer can serve inventors well to produce new objects and solve problems. Interest among inventors has been sufficient to prompt the establishment of 3-D printing companies that sell printers and related hardware.
However, 3-D printing advocates believe the technology also has value for normal people. Matt Griffin of Adafruit said the Cricut vinyl cutter has made a big splash in the scrapbooking community. "Most products we use today involve 3-D printing in some way during the design cycle," said Formlabs' Luke Winston. "Shoes, electronics and even building designs make use of it."
Meanwhile, Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen envisions "a world in which you can get exactly what you want, and not what is just available. Imagine if you only made what you need, or imagine if you are a designer and could bring your product to market in days, not years. Imagine products that can all be made locally. 3-D printing is relevant for everyone, regardless of your technological background."
Combination Print Differentiates
Labels & Labeling (01/14/13)
Toronto-based ASL Print FX brings together state-of-the-art print technology and innovative thinking to make packaging vital in multiple dimensions on the retail shelf. "Our key role at ASL is to understand and connect with brand owners," said ASL CEO Charlie MacLean. "If we can provide the ideas through print technology that enhance a brand image and capture the consumer, then we have succeeded and done our job."
ASL's creative staff employ a combination of high-end flexographic and digital technology in various configurations. "As we began challenging some of the original print paradigms facing flexographic printers we actually took on some unique challenges for a traditional label printer," MacLean said. "We printed several magazine covers to show how combining four color process, foils, raised texturing and special varnishing can make a significant difference." A recent product ASL printed was the cover for a design magazine featuring a combination of pink holographic foil on the main cover text and a lattice of raised varnish for the background.
"The combinations and capabilities that our customers are looking for are pushing the traditional boundaries of print," said AXL Vice President Stacy Daly. "We take pride in taking time to build relationships and trust with each customer. We want to understand their brand challenges and expectations, then deliver a package which hits the mark."
ASL's John Baird said a key initial step in the production process is connecting with designers, marketers and brand owners. "They must believe that you truly understand their challenges on shelf," he said. "Once they realize that we understand their overriding goal of driving brand revenue, they become willing to take us on as a collaborative partner."
10 Point-of-Sale Display Design Tips
Business 2 Community (01/15/13) Morris, Brian
The design of point-of-sales displays can turn the marketing device into a more powerful tool and ultimately lead to greater profits. Large, compelling fonts that match the product theme and bright, contrasting colors could be used to create a bold design that will attract customers' eyes. Desire can be created by featuring the benefits received from purchasing the product, and value can be added by including a tear-off that can be used immediately or later to promote future sales. The product should be showed in use, include charts and graphs that highlight why it is the best choice and personalization should be added to make the display more effective. The display could include add-ons that can be used with the product for upsells, and a video and touch screen could be used to capture email addresses to deliver future updates and discounts.
Brochures and flyers can be printed and placed on the display to provide customers with additional information to take home. The use of QR Codes and augmented reality would enable consumers to interact with the display using a mobile device. For example, a QR Code could be printed on the display to take consumers to a video that offers more information and a better sales pitch.
How to Grow Your Email List
Duct Tape Marketing (12/27/2012) Waldow, D.J.
According to email marketing consultant DJ Waldo, email list growth is the single most important aspect of any sustainable email marketing program. Growing this list cannot be a one-time task; it should be ongoing, he said, because email lists shrink by an average of 30 percent every year. This churn rate is comprised of subscribers who unsubscribe, mark an email as spam, change employers (and therefore email addresses) and so on. On top of the 30 percent churn rate, there is a portion of any list that are unemotionally subscribed. This is the group of subscribers who simply ignore emails.
Many are familiar with the “traditional” list growth tactics — adding an opt-in to the homepage, asking for an email address on checkout or before someone can download a white paper or register for a webinar and so on. Waldow said three additional creative tactics to grow an email list. The first is to use a smartphone app. Another tool is the well-placed QR Code. Finally, SMS may be a helpful tool, especially for someone who does a lot of presentations. SMS short codes can be used to make it easier for participants or attendees to opt-in.
Famous DC Restaurant Serves Up Printed News Headlines
Printing Impressions (01/11/13)
Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C., is giving diners a separate “news receipt” with the latest headlines from the Associated Press. The startup Print Signal wants to see if news updates could provide a customer amenity while leveraging thousands of existing restaurant printers as a new worldwide printing press. The idea is to provide diners with breaking news during their meal, and the “news receipt” also would serve as a new channel for advertising to millions of readers. News updates come through the restaurant’s MICROS Systems software, which delivers an updated summary to servers’ work stations every two minutes.
“We were asked to consider three ingredients: how the news industry is looking for new ways to disseminate its news, how advertisers are searching for innovative ways to cut through the clutter and the fact that MICROS supports a worldwide fleet of printers reaching millions of readers,” said Peter J. Rogers, Jr., executive vice president, Investor Relations and Business Development at MICROS. Revenue will come from advertisers seeking to reach diners in an innovative way. Domtar, the paper manufacturer, is the initial advertiser. The “news receipt” includes an offshoot of Domtar’s PaperBecause message and displays its Internet address.
Your Content Marketing Strategy for 2013
Small Business Trends (12/17/12) Gelberg, Jon
Content marketing involves creating information and practical content for target audiences and disseminating content to put it in front of potential clients. Effective content marketing can position a company as a leader, keep current customers engaged on an ongoing basis, provide information of real interest to target audiences, create mechanisms that convert the people engaged with the company's content into regular customers and put a human face on the company, thus creating emotional bonds that can lead to enhanced sales.
The first step in content marketing is to determine what stories the business is best suited to tell and how these stories match potential clients' interests. Then, determine how much time and effort can be committed to the content marketing campaign. Some businesses limit their efforts to a few white papers a year, while others produce a steady stream of content in the form of blogs, videos, articles and social network posts. Poorly written content can damage credibility, so if the company does not have a strong writer on staff, they should hire one or consider paying a freelance writer. They also should seek out websites that would be interested in publishing their content and research internal and external public relations to get their content in front of traditional and digital media.