Distributor Solutions Expo Exhibitor Spotlight: Proximity Marketing
PSDA spoke with Proximity Marketing, an exhibitor in the Marketing & Technology “Solution Zone” at this year's Distributor Solutions Expo. You can find Proximity Marketing at Booth #P21.
Q: Tell us about the products and services your company offers.
A: Content marketing — a program that drives revenue for businesses. Proximity Marketing looks at it from a standpoint of creating great valuable content about customers. We hope to drive traffic to customer websites by asking questions and getting proactive marketing for websites and companies that use the content marketing.
Q: What are you most excited to show off to attendees at the Distributor Solutions Expo?
A: Content marketing continually adds content to clients' websites and helps distinguish them as leaders in their industry. We work with a lot of print companies to engage and bring website development. When we manage programs, we take it off their hands and build strategic relations with customers. Proximity Marketing steps in to provide a strategic partner program.
Attend the Small Distributor Summit
PSDA has a vibrant community of small distributors (traditionally defined as annual sales of less than $2.5 million). Those distributors have access to a tailored experience — the Small Distributor Summit (SDS) — which will take place May 9-10 in Chicago in conjunction with, and immediately following PSDA's Distributor Solutions Expo as an "event within an event."
Check out the agenda!
Register for the the Distributor Solutions Expo.
Increase Sales Through Marketing: Webinar Series Continues Wednesday, June 5
PSDA and Alex L. Goldfayn, CEO of Evangelist Marketing Institute, are presenting six live, interactive webinars focused on increasing your sales through powerful marketing. Each webinar is free to PSDA members and features rich learning material, plus interaction, questions and periodic role plays among you, your peers and colleagues, and Goldfayn.
The webinar series is titled How to Grow Sales with Marketing because its entire purpose is to grow your business.
The next webinar in this series, The Power of Consumer Insights, takes place Wednesday, June 5 at noon ET / 11am CT / 10am MT / 9am PT.
During this webinar, Alex will discuss how one of the most important activities you can engage in to grow your company is to gather qualitative insights from your customers. This session will cover how and why to do so and arm you with techniques and questions to ask that will lead to your most powerful and effective marketing messages and activities.
These webinars are free for PSDA members and $49 for nonmembers. Register now.
Safeguard Purchases Forms Systems, Inc./DocuSource Print Management
Vice President R. Scott Sutton of PSDA member Safeguard today announced the company has completed its acquisition of Forms Systems, Inc., which operates in the marketplace under the name DocuSource Print Management. Based in the Portland, Ore., suburb of Tigard, DocuSource is recognized as an industry leader in managing customer print and branded collateral needs from design to production, delivered by an integrated fulfillment and distribution system. DocuSource has been named a Top 20 print services distributor by Print Solutions magazine for five consecutive years. In its most recent rankings (2011), the magazine listed DocuSource as the 16th largest enterprise in the United States. Terms of the acquisition, which was completed on April 30, were not announced.
The addition of DocuSource to the Safeguard network is the latest transaction involving some of the largest, most recognized enterprises in the industry. Recent acquisition and related transactions completed by Safeguard include, among others, AccuSource Solutions; Advent Business Forms; Blue Moon Promotions; Bradley Marketing Group; Consolidated Graphic Communications; Intraform; Print Concepts; and Print Data East Coast.
MLB Names WebbMason Preferred Vendor for Printing and Promotional Services
PSDA member WebbMason, an integrated marketing solutions and services company headquartered in suburban Baltimore, has been selected by Major League Baseball (MLB) as a preferred vendor for printing and promotional services to MLB franchise teams. This relationship expands WebbMason's MLB presence. The company has provided printing services and promotional items for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals baseball clubs since 2009.
As a preferred vendor, WebbMason can now offer all 30 MLB franchises across North America a variety of printing services, such as schedules and tickets, as well as custom, fully integrated marketing and promotional programs to target each team's fans and season ticket holders. “We are honored to be selected by Major League Baseball as a preferred vendor. MLB joins a growing list of customers and partners who rely on WebbMason for effective integrated marketing services and premium quality printed and promotional items,” said Kip Webb, executive vice president and co-founder of WebbMason.
Data Management Center Changes Company Name
PSDA member Data Management Center recently adopted a new company name, Digital Data Centers. The name change better reflects the company's brand and service offerings as a leading provider of automated invoicing, electronic archive, document printing and payment management services.
Dale Dembski, president for Digital Data Centers, said: “Digital Data Centers' commitment is to help distributors and their organizations save money, labor and time by delivering critical documents through mail, email and fax. We continue to invest in the technologies for delivering and collecting revenues better, faster and more secure.”
If you are attending the Distributor Solutions Expo next week and are interested in visiting Digital Data Centers' booth, look for "Data Management Center" at Booth #266.
Wright Enterprises Increases Digital Printing Capability with HP Indigo 5600
PSDA member Wright Enterprises recently added an HP Indigo 5600, seven-color, digital press to its Kent, Wash., facility. “We are excited to bring the most technologically advanced, sheet-fed, digital printing capability to the Seattle market,” said Gordon Klepec, vice president of sales and marketing. “Combining our six-color, 28 inch, sheet-fed capability, with the superior quality of the HP Indigo 5600, uniquely positions us to provide complete color solutions to our distributor partners.”
“Our decision to invest in the HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press was based on our proven success in the Portland market with the HP Indigo 7600. We recognized our customers' needs for a trade-only manufacturer to meet the growing demand for variable, high-quality, digital printing with quick turnaround requirements, and we have responded with the latest in HP digital technology in both our Portland and Kent facilities,” said Dan Adkison, president and COO of Wright Enterprises. “Our new HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press is the perfect complement to our growing lineup of commercial and digital capabilities in the Northwest.”
The Flesh Company Releases Customer Loyalty White Paper
PSDA member The Flesh Company recently released a new white paper on customer loyalty. “Customer loyalty isn't just about our clients; it encompasses everyone in any supply chain from supplier to manufacturer to the distributor and, finally, to their customer,” said Roger Buck, the company's marketing director.
“One of our goals is to provide continuous education to our customers on important business tactics using whitepapers, INSIGHTS (the company's e-newsletter), lunch-and-learn programs and other methods.” The latest white paper, “In Customer Loyalty We Trust,” is available for download from the company website here.
Wide-Format Inkjet Printing: A Transition to Higher Utilization and Productivity
WhatTheyThink (04/03/13) Boer, Marco
Digital printing consultant IT Strategies' 19th wide-format graphics inkjet forecast points to a shift to more utilization and more productivity, marked by the extension of the life of the typical wide-format inkjet printer in the installed base, said digital printing industry consultant Marco Boer. "What once might have been an average 4-5 year life has now become a 7-8 year life, and in some cases even longer," he said. "Print shop owners are delaying next-generation equipment purchases and squeezing more volume out of existing devices. Compounding the slowdown in equipment growth is the greater productivity offered by the new printers now available on the market. Simply put: With faster printers fewer are needed."
IT Strategies' 19th wide-format graphics inkjet forecast points to a shift to more utilization and more productivity, marked by the extension of the life of the typical wide-format inkjet printer in the installed base, said digital printing industry consultant Marco Boer. "What once might have been an average four to five year life has now become a seven to eight year life, and in some cases even longer," he said. "Print shop owners are delaying next-generation equipment purchases and squeezing more volume out of existing devices. Compounding the slowdown in equipment growth is the greater productivity offered by the new printers now available on the market. Simply put: With faster printers, fewer are needed."
Substrate and ink consumption rates are better signifiers of the state of the industry, Boer said. "In both cases, they greatly exceed the growth projection rates of unit installations," he said. "IT Strategies is projecting substrate volumes to grow in excess of 7 percent and ink liters in excess of 8 percent annually through 2017. However, Boer said these forecasts do not indicate a likely rise in ink prices. "Ink revenues are projected to grow at 4 percent during the same period," he said. "Effectively, this causes ink prices to decrease about 3 percent annually across all wide-format graphics technologies."
Boer said ink pricing has not improved concurrent with improvements in print quality, productivity and equipment costs, partly because the economies of scale are still working against wide-format inkjet inks. "Unlike offset inks, which are manufactured in the billions of liters annually, there are only 4 million liters of aqueous, 2.3 million of UV-curable and 7 million liters of eco-solvent/latex (excluding the Chinese aggressive solvent printers) wide-format ink manufactured worldwide in 2012," he said. "At those levels, it is just too difficult to gain any buying power in dispersions and additives given that those components are far more refined and sophisticated than the ones found in offset inks."
However, Boer said the value of output facilitated by such inks is many times the value enabled by offset inks. "The average retail-selling price across all wide-format inkjet technologies ranges from $2.75 for UV-curable-printed output to $4.40 for aqueous ink-printed output per square foot," he said. "The profit margin ... ranges anywhere between 2.7X to 6.0X for wide-format output. There are very few offset document (or even digital document) applications where this type of margin is still enabled."
The Social Network for 3-D Printers
Design News (04/13) Atwell, Cabe
Makexyz is a 3-D printing service that matches up designers seeking 3-D printing with available printers in their neighborhood. More than 550 people have enrolled in the service in the month and a half since its inception. Three-dimensional printer owners can create a printer profile, set their price and wait for orders. Those searching for a printer can browse by ZIP code, select a printer that matches their preference and either pick up the product or have it delivered.
Makexyz has established a social network for 3-D printers, which could solve the problem of designers who want to produce three-dimensional models and prototypes of their designs but cannot afford to purchase their own printers. Several companies have set themselves up as 3-D printing marketplaces that offer high-quality printing services to consumers. Customers can select their preferred printing material and get an instant quote that includes shipping anywhere in the world. However, these services cannot fulfill the requirements of designers who must acquire copies of their designs for immediate testing and iteration.
Makexyz founders Nathan Tone and Chad Masso are cautious about keeping prices low. Prices are based on the design's volume and generally range from 25 cents to $1.50 per cubic centimeter. Makexyz attaches a 5 percent service charge, so most print jobs cost roughly $15.
Driving Sales with UV Coating
MyPrintResource (04/22/13) Whitcher, Joann
Commercial and packaging printers are taking advantage of UV coatings as a value-added service that differentiates them from competitors. Specialty coatings are becoming more popular as raised, strike-through, pearlescent, soft feel and sandy feel techniques are used to create dimension and add texture to print materials. Press sales offer evidence of the popularity of UV coatings, with most medium- and large-format sheetfed presses shipped equipped with at least one in-line coater.
Commercial and packaging printers are taking advantage of UV coatings as a value-added service that differentiates them from competitors. Specialty coatings are becoming more popular as raised, strike-through, pearlescent, soft feel and sandy-feel techniques are used to create dimension and add texture to print materials. Press sales offer evidence of the popularity of UV coatings, with most medium- and large-format sheet-fed presses shipped equipped with at least one in-line coater.
“Now that we can offer these different coating processes, we can make it more tactile,” said HiDefColor President Rick Rys. “Print needs to become more like a piece of art. The whole point is trying to make print more dynamic and viable.” Rys also said UV coating offers "the best way to protect or enhance color, provide a more tactile feel, increase gloss levels and deliver more of an experience." He envisions UV-coated print as a key element in cross-media campaigns. “Having that valuable piece of art, that fantastic piece of printing, drive traffic to a landing page — it will allow marketers to see how many visitors came clicked in because of the printed material, giving the marketers the metrics they covet,” Rys said.
Meanwhile, UV LED is expected to emerge as a dominant curing method very soon, said Walter Chmura with KBA North America. The relatively high initial cost and limited choice of inks are impeding widespread UV LED adoption, but KBA anticipates rapid take-up and is offering potential users UV LED-enabled dryers that are preconfigured for the later addition of UV LED modules. UV LED supports a heat-free curing process, which broadens the substrate base to include all plastics while also permitting easier handling of less costly moisture-hungry grades of paper and cardboard.
CPI Card Group set up a KBA Rapida 105 41-inch, seven-color UV-outfitted sheetfed press with tower coater, an eight-foot extended delivery and plastics package in its Roseville, Minn., facility in May 2012. “UV is critical, when you look at the materials we are printing on — there is no other option than UV,” said Minnesota facility pressroom manager Nick Kordosky. The credit cards and gift cards CPI manufactures are in-line coated for protection and surface requirements, such as gloss or matte finishes. CPI also operates foil stamping or glitter etch coatings, if the cards need special surface treatments, Kordosky said.
CPI's press also features the KBA VariDry system with four interdeck UV lamps moveable throughout all seven printing units for flexibility. The end of the press has three UV lamps and IR thermal air for instant curing of plastics at high speeds. UV coated business cards, which are glossier and often printed on heavier stock, are trending as well.
Chemical Labeling Faces Regulation Changes
Labels & Labeling (05/01/13) P. 49 Wilcox, Dave
The United Nations has developed the Global Harmonization System (GHS) to bring consistency to labeling chemicals and chemical preparations. The new system encloses the hazard pictogram in a red diamond. Industries such as transportation and logistics will need methods for printing that are robust enough to meet standards requiring labels to be legible after exposure to the elements and survive harsh environments, such as long immersion in the sea or accelerated wear due to sand abrasion. Expert print vendors now offer printing devices that are fully approved for the BS5609, International Maritime Dangerous Goods and GHS standards, and come complete with the specialist label media needed to print the self-adhesive labels. The most advanced printers will enable organizations to meet the standards without having to purchase a separate device for each job or a specialist thermal label printer. Organizations should make sure the printing device and label stock is certified BS5609 compliant. Full compliance is required by 2015.
What Does the Future Hold for Printing? Colourtone Aries Looks Into a Crystal Ball
Waste Management World (04/23/13)
Printing and packaging company Colourtone Aries projects future trends in the printing industry marked by a concentration on reducing paper dependence. "The trend is definitely toward responsible usage of paper products, rather than an urgent reduction in its usage," said Colourtone Aries managing director John Bywater. "With this, there has been an increased demand for more effective print and packaging solutions. Marketers, mindful of pressure on budgets as the spotlight falls on more expensive green products, are seeking sustainable solutions from environmentally friendly paper stocks."
Although recycled paper solutions carry higher costs than traditional stocks, traction in the move to green solutions is building. In addition, marketers are eyeing longevity of solutions. There already has been significant reduction in paper wastage thanks to the emergence of technologically advanced machinery and printing methodologies, enabling a more managed approach to costs along with cost- and output-effectiveness to customers.
"Less waste puts less strain on demand for product," Bywater said. "This in turn reduces overhead and ultimately allows us to be more cost effective. Add to this the increase in the use of recycled or environmentally friendly stocks and we have been able to make a significant improvement to our carbon footprint and impact on the environment."
The future of print will be driven by the philosophy that printers need ongoing awareness of everything they do and produce having an environmental impact. "By doing so, we will always seek solutions that protect the planet we live on," Bywater said. Printers will have a priority to develop solutions that incorporate longevity and sustainability as central elements. "A totally digital market may be coming, but it is still some way off yet, and when it arrives, it is hard to imagine, now, that print will be missing," Bywater said.
MyPrintResource (04/29/13) Vruno, Mark
Stripping vinyl graphics can be one of the most challenging jobs in the day-to-day operation of a sign shop, as labor can require twice as much the time needed for lettering. A normal car wrap, with proper use of primer or none at all, will pull off nicely, but some installers might not know what they need to put a wrap on. "As long as the vinyl hasn't been left on for years past its original warranty (ours is five years) and it wasn't applied directly after the vehicle was painted (always wait at least three weeks!), your wrap can be removed without any damage to the paint job underneath," Sunrise Signs, a custom wraps and graphics shop in Gloucester City, N.J., said in its blog. Industry experts avoid the use of abrasive solutions as well as razors because it is too easy to nick the paint. Rob Ivers of Rob Ivers in Raymore, Mo., said most use a weed burner for quick, even heat when removing wraps. And before applying new graphics, David Wysong, sales manager of Atlanta-based Adnormous Graphics, said, "use soap and water to remove any remaining residue or a cleaner that doesn't leave behind any residue."
PET Full Body Sleeve Label Recycling: No Easy Answers
FoodProductionDaily.com (04/24/13) Whitworth, Joe
A group of 30 companies headed by Eastman Chemical will meet again in May to assess potential solutions to the problem of recycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET) full body sleeve labels. Print converters are members of the consortium, along with resin and label producers, consumer goods manufacturers, film extruders, equipment manufacturers, bottlers and packagers, recyclers and testing firms. The group will focus on equipment options that are available, such as perforated labels and floatable labels. In the first meeting held last August, participants discussed how labels are creating challenges in the recycling process and began exploring alternatives, and they considered the viability of workable solutions and the critical success factors during the second meeting held in November. Full body sleeve labels have become popular because of their shelf appeal and ability to grab the attention of consumers. "There is not one single solution to make the problem easily solvable and it is a collaboration across the value chain," said Holli Whitt, market development manager, sustainability for special plastics at Eastman Chemical.
Label Novices Must Learn to Roll with It
PrintWeek (04/05/13) Roper, Jenny
The close relationship between digital and label printing, coupled with the global installation of about 2,100 digital label printers, offers a very persuasive argument that both commercial digital printers and existing flexo or litho label printers get involved. However, neophytes must carefully evaluate why digital has persisted longer than in any other packaging sector. Consultant Mike Fairley said the entrenched digital technology happened to be suitable to labels, and some forward-thinking people elected to test the market to see if a digital solution would be saleable.
"All the initial digital presses had to be narrow web because if you wanted to scale them up it got expensive," Fairley said. "So if you look at the packaging industry, up until Drupa, then the digital solutions were only really suitable for only a few pack printing applications, such as very short-run sleeves, sachets and, of course, labels." But Fairley also said digital label printing is a formidable challenge for non-label experts to participate in. "If you’re printing labels you could be printing coated papers, uncoated papers, high-gloss papers, cast-coated papers, thermal paper," he said. "Plus you’re almost certainly going to have to be able to print on PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene and metalized materials."
Most printers eyeing the digital labels market will have sheetfed or wide-format machines, and neither is particularly well-suited to label printing. "You can print labels sheetfed or wide-format, but the issue is whether that suits the needs of the user," said Epson's Marc Tinkler. "People want to use reels of a certain size for automatic application, and so any label runs not printed in a reel or at the right web width will have to be applied by hand, and that limits you to very short runs."
What the market needs is a dedicated roll-to-roll digital label printer from such firms as Hewlett-Packard, Xeikon, Epson, EFI or Domino. "There are so many steps that are needed to embellish print and transform a substrate into a label, such as laminating, cutting, foiling and creasing," said HP's Christian Menegon. "So for a firm looking to break into this market, it’s a lot to take on." Menegon also said brands have yet to really see wide packaging personalization and product tracking via every-one-different labels. "The challenge is not necessarily the printing, it’s more how the brand tracks variable numbers — that’s a bottleneck at the moment," he said.
Spec Out a Press with the Works
ProPrint (04/22/13) Kohn, Peter
The choice between a standard spec digital press or one that is loaded with features depends on what specific application is desired by the printer. “There is no typical solution; all are customized to suit the needs of the end user,” said Kodak Australasia's Michael Smedley. Other vendors cite a go-to spec for the average client. For example, the usual configuration for Ricoh’s Pro C production devices would include an SRA3 feeder tray, buffer pass, cover interposer, booklet finisher and Fiery controller, said Ricoh Australia’s Kathy Wilson. For the B&W Pro model, customers are more likely to want a decurl unit than a buffer pass. With continuous-feed machines, the popular configuration includes an unwinder, dynamic perforator, dancer unit, web merger, cutter, stacker and delivery belt.
Some printers favor starting out with a basic package, then adding more options as the need arises, such as growth in customers, an ongoing order or the rollout of a new module. Although much of this technology is retrofittable, a majority of vendors recommend that printers get the spec right from the start, which seems to be the most cost-effective approach. Konica Minolta’s Brett Palmer said there are two reasons why options are typically sold as part of the original system: first, the system is normally required to produce a range of finishing output; second, the customer has seen the value of having options added to mitigate issues or generate extra efficiency.
Ferrostaal Australia’s Nigel Alexander said a bundle “is typically the most cost-effective way to get the best value rather than retrofitting. The entire solution is financed, saving the heartache of refinancing.” However, Smedley said it is more sensible to add options as the need presents itself. He said retrofitting only becomes an issue with older models, where there are limitations based on the design of the original engine. Options, meanwhile, “are easy to add, as there is nothing that requires factory build,” Smedley said.
Probably the most powerful way to augment a digital press is via finishing. One school of thought promotes the idea of using your existing litho bindery kit to keep costs down, while another recommends investing in customized digital cutting, folding, stapling, stacking and sorting. But Alexander said the objective of a digital press should be to realize maximum efficiency in the print room. “The design of the machine is modeled on a typical offset press," he said. "Hence, finishing is handled offline and can utilize existing litho finishing equipment or existing digital finishing equipment, such as Morgana, that is increasingly commonplace.”
BASF Launches New Solution for Paper Production
Packaging Europe (04/15/13)
BASF is offering a new solution that promises to reduce the complexity in the wet-end through its 4-in-1 functionality. XELOREX enables papermakers to achieve and improve the effects of retention, drainage, fixation and strength with a single product. "With XELOREX we offer an innovative chemistry that significantly improves various performance parameters in papermaking while reducing the total cost of operation," said Dr. Uwe Liebelt, president of BASF's Paper Chemicals division. "For our customers this represents a real competitive advantage." XELOREX offers enhancements in a variety of dry strength parameters that are particularly important in the production of packaging paper and board. XELOREX supports an increased filler loading, as it leads to a better integration of filler particles into the paper web. The increased filler loading helps improve printing properties.
Small Companies Abandoning Traditional Marketing
Fresh Business Thinking (04/22/13) Hunter, Daniel
Traditional marketing is falling out of favor with small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to new research from pbSmart Essentials, 26 percent of SMEs said that traditional offline marketing accounts for just 10 percent of their total marketing activity and 22 percent said they do not do any traditional marketing at all. Print advertising appears to have taken the biggest hit, as 40 percent of SMEs said they have used it previously but only 28 percent plan to invest further in print in 2013. However, direct mail is an offline marketing technique that remains a key part of marketing plans. A fifth of the SMEs are looking to make an investment in direct mail in the next year. Businesses are embracing mobile marketing, and they are expected to invest more in mobile QR Codes, mobile optimized websites and mobile payments this year than ever before. Mobile SEO and QR Codes are attracting nearly twice as much interest.
Lead Generation Poses Biggest Challenge for B2Bs
A new BtoB Magazine survey of U.S. B2B marketers found that generating more leads remains their top online marketing challenge in 2013, cited by 60 percent of respondents. The greatest percentage (42 percent) used multichannel attribution to measure leads, but one-third did not bother tracking where their leads came from, which could factor into the difficulty some have in generating leads. An Ascend2 and Research Underwriters survey in April found that email marketing was by far the most effective marketing technique for marketing professionals around the world, with search engine optimization and content marketing tied for second place. B2Bs struggle to use social media marketing for lead generation purposes, cited by nearly half of respondents, and content marketing came in second. The primary objective of lead generation was improving the quality of leads (58 percent), followed by converting more leads to customers (55 percent). Only 42 percent cared most about getting more leads, which suggests that most B2Bs are focused on finding the right people and companies.