PSDA Headquarters Has Moved!
Update your address books! PSDA's headquarters moved to a new location in downtown Chicago during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.
PSDA's new address is:
330 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60611
Note: All phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses remain the same.
CEO Summit Early Registration Extended
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. Take a look at the program and register now to receive $100 off the registration fee.
Keynote presenter Soren Kaplan, author of the bestselling book, "Leapfrogging," will present on 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.
New Member Highlight: Data Marketing Network
Learn about new PSDA members in select issues of the Print Solutions e-newsletter. This week, meet Data Marketing Network.
Q: How did you hear about PSDA?
A: Data Marketing's team members have had the privilege to work through PSDA in previous organizations and have found success in working through print distributors.
Q: What are your primary reasons for joining PSDA?
A: We understand the value in working with distributors. We have historically had much success in working through resellers and want to expand our presence.
Q: What services/products does your company provide?
A: Invoice and statement processing, electronic document delivery, electronic payments, letter shop services, direct mail, digital printing, email campaigns and mail design consultation.
To learn more about Data Marketing Network, visit the company's website.
DemandBridge Acquires Software Development Firm Flozio
DemandBridge, a PSDA member and provider of technology solutions for print distributors, acquired the opportunity assets of Cleveland-based flozio, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider to the print industry. Financial details of the transaction, which closed Oct. 11, 2012, were not disclosed.
The acquisition is expected to further DemandBridge's ability to help print distributors increase revenue and gain accounts. DemandBridge now owns flozio's main software application, DocumentBuilder. DocumentBuilder is an interactive, web-based tool that enables organizations to create, print and distribute professionally bound documents without ever leaving the desk. The technology is a feature within DemandBridge's DB Enterprise (DB/e), an on-demand marketing, promotion and print eProcurement portal for distributors. DB Enterprise is used by more than 400,000 registered print buyers.
“We focus on ways to help our customers become more successful and profitable,” said Brian Fritsche, president and CEO of DemandBridge. “The DocumentBuilder tool gives our new and existing clients a simple way to create, finish, publish, and ship business documents and presentations — all within the same feature-rich platform they currently use for marketing content and asset management. By acquiring flozio, we are better positioned to continually upgrade the performance and stability of a tool that has already proven successful in the marketplace.”
Flottman Company Wins 2 Platinum MARCOM Awards
PSDA member the Flottman Company's marketing, communications and design team recently received two prestigious MARCOM Platinum Awards for creativity, quality and effectiveness. The annual MARCOM Awards are administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. These awards recognize excellence in creative achievement on an international level. This year, there were more than 6,000 entries from individual communicators, agencies of all sizes and Fortune 500 companies, making this competition one of the largest of its kind in the world. The prestigious Platinum Award level is presented to only those entries judged to be the most outstanding entries in the entire competition, based on excellence in quality, creativity and presentation.
WebbMason Named Preferred Printing and Promotions Supplier
PSDA member WebbMason, an integrated marketing solutions and services company, recently was selected as a business services provider in the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce ChamberPlus+ program. The company will be the preferred printing and promotional items partner in the ChamberPlus+ program and will service the business association's more than 1.3 million local employees. WebbMason works with a variety of Chicago-area vendors and is offering other chamber members a 15 percent discount in addition to its lowest negotiated rates on business cards, brochures, letterhead, signage, banners, direct mail and all other printed items. WebbMason joins other national companies in the ChamberPlus+ program, including Office Depot, Virgin America and UPS.
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in Illinois. The ChamberPlus+ program combines the purchasing power of its members to reduce costs while ensuring high levels of service. The chamber has identified a select group of business service providers whose quality and value can be extended to all members and given them category exclusivity within the program. Frank Ignatius, who oversees the ChamberPlus+ program from WebbMason's Naperville, Ill., office, said, "We are extremely pleased to be working with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and have a strong interest in promoting the success of Chicago-area business through our discount program and by sourcing to local vendors.”
PSDA Member Bill English Inducted into Printing Honor Society
PSDA member Bill English recently was inducted — along with eight other industry notables — into the Ben Franklin Honor Society of Printing Industries of America. The society recognizes and honors industry leaders who have made lasting contributions to advancing the printing and graphic communications industries. Industry visionaries who have rendered outstanding or meritorious service to those associations or the industry are eligible for membership.
English began his career at Superior Business Solutions in Kalamazoo, Mich. He served as a sales representative and IT director in 1977 and later went on to become president in 1994. Superior Business Solutions, originally Superior Business Forms, is a third-generation printing solutions reseller. English was a member of the Young Presidents Organization from 1994 to 2004 and served as its chapter forum officer from 2002 to 2003. He served on the Document Management Industries Association's Board of Directors (now known as PSDA) from 2000 to 2003, receiving the organization's President's Award in 2008; and on the Print Education and Research Foundation's Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2012, where he was its vice chairman from 2007 to 2008 and chairman from 2008 to 2012.
Graphic Dimensions Welcomes New Staff Members
Austell, Georgia-based Graphic Dimensions, a PSDA member, recently announced new hires for its label division, New Dimension Labels. Sandy Brown has joined the company as label sales manager. Brown has more than 20 years of experience in the printing industry in various sales, customer service and operational management roles. Most recently, she was the regional sales manager, representing Cenveo's Discount Labels, Lancer Label and Synergy Label brands. Chris Knotts has joined the company as a label customer service representative. Knotts brings 20 years of customer service experience to his new position. Most recently, he worked as a customer service representative for Synergy Label.
“Our new label venture is founded on our experienced label personnel providing quality label products and exceptional service,” said Jay Scammell, president and CEO of Graphic Dimensions. “Sandy and Chris' experience and overall commitment to distributor satisfaction will help our distributor partners grow their label and packaging sales.”
(Pictured, from left: Sandy Brown and Chris Knotts)
Direct Mail: The Good, the Bad, and the Scary
MyPrintResource (11/19/12) Vruno, Mark
Direct mail is almost 30 times more effective than email and 340 times more effective than web banners, according to a Direct Marketing Association (DMA) survey. Direct mail also can be an effective ingredient in a cross-channel, multimedia marketing push, but stoking concerns are privacy issues in contemporary direct mail regulation. "When it comes to the use of data, you need to be careful and respectful," said foldfactory.com CEO Janice Reese. "There are compliance and HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] rules to follow, but it's also a huge opportunity."
Direct mail's continued success is directly tied to the fact that it is targeted, linked to geography and demographics, personal and quantifiable, said the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Still, return on investment (ROI) is more crucial than ever and could be improved. The DMA survey determined that email produces significantly better ROI than direct mail.
Reese said print providers might be shocked at how many prospective customers are unaware of how to initiate a direct mail campaign. She and foldfactory.com's Trish Witkowski think adequate print training has fallen by the wayside in the education of designers and media buyers under the age of 30. "Many of them have no clue about the basic capabilities of digital printing, for example, or variable data and imaging, not to mention segmenting lists and doing test mailings," Reese said. "We have to make the younger generation feel like print belongs to them, too — that it's not nebulous. They need to think of it as the art and science of their marketing message."
Foldfactory.com's new Direct Mail Simplified publication series presents the process of creating effective mail from strategy through to design and postal optimization, testing, tracking and measuring results. Reese said initial reviews of the content by USPS and many specialists in print, direct mail and design have been positive. Julie Shaffer with the Printing Industries of America (PIA) said the mainstreaming of digital print is so pronounced that the PIA has retitled its Digital Printing Council the Integrated Print Media Center. "It has become ubiquitous," she said.
The Differentiator: Specialty Media Helps Print to Stand Out
Wide-Format Imaging (12/12) Vruno, Mark
Some wide-format print firms are turning to the printed surface to keep end products looking good and unique. Often it's more the printed surface than the ink that keeps end products looking good, especially in the wide-format print sector. Some of these newer, differentiating products were on display in Chicago at Graph Expo in early October, while at the SGIA expo in Las Vegas, many more could be touched and seen, including flatbed printing on wooden panels.
In September, LexJet introduced versatile blockout media — Blockout PolyGloss and Blockout Water-Resistant Polypropylene — designed for multiple large-format applications. The new lay-flat polypropylene inkjet printable materials feature a gray back coat for additional opacity and can be used as a cost-effective alternative to the typical polyester inkjet materials for trade show and in-store point-of-sale graphics as well as long-term indoor banners and short-term outdoor banners.
"We already offer a fantastic water-resistant polypropylene, but our customers were looking for something more opaque," said Jeff Leto, LexJet product manager. "The great thing about the new blockout polypropylene materials is that they're economical and you can use them for practically any type of display graphics applications."
Ultraflex Systems this year introduced Bali Hai, the newest embossment in its Wallscapes line. Featuring a fine, granular texture formulated without cadmium and lead compounds, it can enhance the look of any print or design and also helps to prevent glare without compromising image quality. Wallscapes are durable, flexible materials for use as wall coverings or upscale banner applications for eco-solvent, solvent, latex, UV and screen printing. They can be installed using most commercial types of adhesives or can be sewn or grommeted for use in untraditional, canvas-like applications. General applications for Bali Hai include museums and showrooms, murals, office lobbies and conference rooms, residential, retail store and display walls, school and daycare venues and tradeshow exhibits.
PSDA Blog Tom Sheehan, wide format ink specialist at Van Son Holland Ink Corporation, offers advice to print providers on how to respond to the mounting changes in the print industry in an exclusive Q&A on the PSDA Blog.
Sharing Sustainable Values
New Hampshire-based Monadnock Paper Mills, Toyota dealership Grappone Auto Group and large-format printer Image 4 collaborated on a wall mural depicting the dealership's key milestones across its nine-decade history. Monadnock recommended the use of its eco-friendly Envi Wallgraphics line, which forms part of the Envi Portfolio. The portfolio encompasses fiber-based solutions designed to provide eco-savvy brand owners with high-quality alternatives to plastics, and the Wallgraphics line is expressly designed for retail environment applications. The Forest Stewardship Council-certified substrate contains 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber and is manufactured carbon neutral with 100 percent renewable electricity.
Image 4 handled management of the mural printing process. "Monadnock's paper is the nicest and highest grade of paper we've installed in years," said Image 4 President Jeffrey Baker. "It prints extremely well in both ultra-violet and latex methods, it's incredibly easy to work with and our installer said it was the best paper he's worked with in his 35-year career." Image 4, like Monadnock and Grappone, concentrates on sustainability and social responsibility. Image 4 is intensely detail-conscious, and the printer tested Envi Wallgraphics' adhesive strength, stretch and performance on various wall surfaces. Monadnock supplied product specs to Image 4, ensuring the printer had information needed to choose the suitable machine and select the UV inks.
Designing Healthy Food Labels
Labels & Labeling (11/14/12) Houghton, Carol
Recent high demand for low-calorie or fat-free products has encouraged the launch of a number of new brands that cater to the "light" market, and this is having a significant effect on food label design. "The challenge of the new era is to create products that look as if they do not want to be sold, designs which break the rules and defy the laws of tradition," said Tridimage's Guillermo Dufranc. "Creativity has really become a basic need."
White backgrounds, opaque matte materials and simple logotypes are especially popular elements of "healthy" food labels. Dufranc cited the value of using white space as a design decision. "It is important to use it thoroughly, otherwise it could be perceived as an incomplete design," he said. Dufranc said, "White space symbolizes purity, a direct speech which does not want to distract with decorative ornaments. The usage of white background has created a new visual language."
Dufranc also observes a significant shift in package text style, characterized by more products employing verbal branding with colloquial claims and phrases posted on the front panels, which communicates to consumers in a friendlier and more relaxed manner. "Capital letters yelling 'BUY ME' are history," Dufranc said. "The new brand strategies aim to represent consumers' interests more than their own." Also impacting food label and packaging design are governmental mandates to include Guided Daily Amounts, among other things.
Smithers Pira said as much as 7 percent of food is wasted in the perishable food sector on account of poor inventory management, and smart packaging systems could address this problem. PragmatIC Printing has a project underway to integrate intelligent circuits into food packaging to help monitor food through the supply chain.
Meanwhile, Bonnie Jams' label design represents a prime example of design for niche "artisan products." "In the many makeovers I have done for food packaging, I have found that a lot can be changed, as long as one or two elements stay the same," said graphic designer Louise Flli. "In this case, we kept the jar, changed the lid from gold to silver and retained the black and white, all-type label. From there, I developed a font based on samples from my many collections of alphabets and handwriting, specifically from the 40s. The rubber-stamped batch number was reconfigured to look more authentically hand-crafted and the text was arranged in a grid that could accommodate type both horizontally and vertically, for a vintage yet crisp apothecary look."
Italian Company Opens Large Plant
Labels & Labeling (11/16/12) Houghton, Carol
Italian converter Pilot Italia SpA has opened a new plant at Cornate D'Adda near Milan on a site that spans 20,000 square meters. With only 7,500 square meters of the site developed, the company has room to grow. The company handles combination printing on 11 presses: two Nilpeter MO 3300, two Drent 520 Offset, five Gallus (silk and letter press combination), one Arsoma and one Codimag waterless offset. It took the company five weeks to move to the new factory, but it kept up with production. Andrea Vimercati, sales manager at Pilot Italia, said, "The customers had no idea and we experienced zero losses in production." At the new plant, printing and finishing take place on the same floor, using the Japanese principle of Kaizen, or "continuous improvement." It also has an extraction system that transports matrix waste from each production line to a compactor and then to an incineration plant to create energy, and it is collaborating with suppliers to move from a three-week warehouse inventory to just-in-time delivery.
Right now, Pilot Italia prints labels, film and flexible packaging, and it plans to print cartons at some point in the future. "When we go to customers we want to give them the best total solution — to understand more than just the printed label," Vimercati said. Also as part of its growth strategy, the company is working to create a network of like-minded European printers. It has forged a partnership with Germany's Schaeffer Etiketten to exchange technology and ideas and offload work as part of a disaster recovery policy. Pilot Italia has partnered with three other Italian printers — Notarianni, Aro Etichette and Mida Etichette — and is working on a new partnership with Spain's Germark. "The network is an additional offering to the customer," said Vimercati. "It will be used for a creative purpose but also act as a purchasing group."
InnerWorkings Predicts Managed Print Growth in 2013
PrintWeek (11/22/12) Ward, David
InnerWorkings CEO Eric Belcher expects his company's managed print services to expand in the coming year as more big corporations seek a single vendor to accommodate their global brand and print management. "We see more entrants on both sides of the marketplace, and I expect we'll continue to see new people in this space for many years to come," Belcher said. "I'm not necessarily concerned, though I hope these new entrants are good at what they do to continue to reinforce the benefits of managing the supply chain the way we and others are doing it."
InnerWorkings' third-quarter results included a 27 percent increase in revenue from the same period in 2011 to $199.8 million, as well as 19 percent organic revenue growth. The company said year-to-date new enterprise account growth has reached 77 percent, a 17 percent gain from the prior year. Approximately 18 percent of InnerWorkings' revenue stems from U.S. domestic sales, while 19 percent comes from international sales. Belcher said international revenue had increased more than twofold since last year, although that boost is not due to any specific region.
"We're not really thinking about the market in terms of one region or another," Belcher said. "We're thinking about it in terms of a global corporation using a single provider to manage their brand and their materials in all major markets that they do business in. So we advocate global contracts, and I think we're going to see substantial growth in all the markets." Belcher anticipates that most commercial print growth outside of newspaper, periodicals and books will hold steady during the next decade. "I don't think we'll see meaningful growth in the print categories we're in during the next five to 10 years, but I don't think we'll see decline either," Belcher said. "It's about a half a trillion annual global business, and my guess is that in five to 10 years it will be around that as well."
It's Electric! (But Definitely Not Static)
MyPrintResource (11/12/12) Vruno, Mark
The increasing affordability of electronic signage hardware means that more print service providers (PSPs) can move into this market. Concurrent with this is a growing interest for signage that combines digital and printed media, as digital signage can add dynamic, media-rich and interactive elements to broader graphics projects. "It's more than digital retail now and more than digital advertising," said consultant Alan Brawn. Before PSPs start shopping for digital signage hardware and software, if behooves them to learn how to sell the service through identification of target markets.
"Bars, restaurants and lounges are ideal for washroom signage and behind-the-bar signage," said eHow.com contributor Erick Kristian. "Property owners who currently have traditional billboards are good candidates for digital signage. If the digital signage is already in place and ad space is being sold, then consider where the equipment is located and approach complementary businesses."
Digital signs can take the form of flat-screen TVs looping sponsored ads, images of ads projected on building surfaces or huge, billboard-sized screens in public spaces. Essential for printers eager to dive into digital signage is communicating the new product and service offerings to their existing customer base. One sample of such an initiative is Black Box's campaign highlighting its audio-visual multimedia products. Constituting the project were integrated components that included a print catalog, an e-catalog, end-user and reseller emails, videos, case studies, trade shows, social media, print ads and articles.
Combining the Best of Both Worlds With Hybrid Inkjet Presses
PrintWeek (11/15/12) Francis, Jo
The addition of inkjet printheads to a conventional press can open up a broad spectrum of new applications, including quality control, or the combination of print processes by generating personalized or versioned print directly on an offset press. Although this concept is not new, it has gained new vitality as a result of upgraded levels of quality, speed and flexibility facilitated by the latest generation of inkjet systems.
However, there are pitfalls inherent in hybrid printing if the technology is incorrectly configured. "We can do inkjet imprinting on-press in black in terms of putting a mark or code on a sheet, or for a specific purpose such as counting sheets in security printing," said KBA UK managing director Christian Knapp. "There it makes sense and these heads can keep up with the press. But a printing press platform lasts for several years, and we need to put equipment on it that allows users to use the machine for the purpose it was built for — without slowing it down to first or second gear only."
One example of hybrid printing in Britain is supported by Lettershop, which has developed its own hybrid system using parts from established suppliers, such as Kodak Prosper heads. Lettershop constructed an offline printing-finishing system that can print two 105 mm-wide strips of four-color variable print at up to 188 meters per minute onto reels of standard offset printed base stock produced on the company's conventional presses.
"We can drop four-color digital into a standard product without people having to redesign it, and we can do it without breaking the bank," said Lettershop CEO John Hornby. "The biggest problem with digital is still the cost of the paper and the consumables. This is a great way of improving response rates, even if 90 percent of the job is static." Hornby expects the versatility of hybrid technology to increase.
Cloud Printing: Turning Digital into Hard Copy via the Cloud
Formtek Blog (10/31/2012) Weisinger, Dick
Although a study by AIIM found that offices gradually are reducing their dependency on paper — 35 percent of companies, especially larger companies, are using less paper than previously — many people still prefer paper over digital, and for certain applications, paper is more convenient and practical. In the legal industry, 80 percent of documents received electronically are immediately printed, and 79 percent of documents that are exchanged are done so as hard-copy.
Still, the feel and look of paper, compared to digital, can be appealing. A case study by Millward Brown comparing digital media to paper concluded "that physical material is more 'real' to the brain. It has a meaning, and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks." A new step in the evolution of printing enables people to send prints to their printer not only from their desktop applications, but also from cloud applications, even when they are using their application remotely on a mobile device. Services such as "Google Cloud Print" allow an online printer to be accessed from anywhere. On-demand print services like HubCast and MagCloud allow digital content to be sent on-demand to quality high-end online printers. Even 3-D digital designs can be sent to 3-D printers like those of Shapeways.
The "Cloud Printing Manifesto" concludes that "services based on cloud print technology replace a priori mass production by local production on demand, thereby reducing carbon emissions, energy use and the amount of raw materials needed. By accessing professional print as a shared commodity resource, content owners can avoid the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware, software and processes." Sander Nagtegaal, co-founder of Peecho — a service that enables digital publications to be sold as physical products — notes that "websites, applications and games can be powered by a single cloud print infrastructure that allows access to a network of professional print facilities, leveraging print as a shared commodity resource while avoiding costs and complexity."
EFI Leverages New Technologies to Boost Productivity, Image Quality
WhatTheyThink (11/07/12) Romano, Richard
At the recent SGIA expo, EFI showcased new products to improve ultraviolet (UV) printing and grayscale imaging. In UV printing, UV light and a significant amount of heat are used to cure and dry the ink. However, heat is taken out of the equation with LED-based UV printing. "[LED] allows curing to take place with light instead of heat," said Patrick Morrissey of EFI. "Things that were thought impossible are now possible." LED UV enables printing on thin, plastic substrates, and it is faster than traditional UV printing. "There is no loss of speed, no loss of color — it's a real gain in terms of what you can print on," Morrissey said.
EFI's Vutek GS3250LX is a hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll LED printer that can manage flexible or rigid substrates as big as 126.5 inches wide and 2 inches thick and is multi-roll capable. EFI's Vutek QS2 Pro, QS3 Pro or HS100 Pro feature new grayscale printhead technology that smooths the appearance of images by combining different size ink droplets. According to Morrissey, "[The combination of] LED and grayscale is about technology enabling better quality images, more applications and taking the cost out of the process, and the ink."
How to Appear Social Media-Savvy Even When You're Not
Intuit Small Business Blog (11/16/12) Johnson, Sarah
Languishing social media business accounts can have a detrimental long-term effect on a company's brand and cause opportunities to engage with existing and potential clients to be missed. However, a firm's social media presence can be expanded with minimal effort even without being tech-savvy. Strategies in this vein include highlighting relevant and informative points on the social media feeds and regularly responding to feedback and inquiries.
Posting updates less than twice a week will result in staleness, while using tools to automate activity can yield benefits. Branching out and establishing a local presence outside of social media can also be advantageous. Seeking out local organizations, including chambers of commerce, regional economic-development organizations and visitors' bureaus could work well since these accounts tend to be active and may be willing to post information about the company on their pages. This strategy is applicable to nationwide operators, as these groups could post about recent hires, job openings or expansion plans. In exchange, firms should consider re-posting some of their content.
It also could pay to hire interns to handle the social media activity, as they may be more savvy in this regard. Interns can manage the firm's social media strategy in just a few hours per week if they are guided and regularly checked up on.
Make Mail Part of Your 2013 Integrated Marketing Plan
Chief Marketer (11/15/12) Johnson, Grant
Johnson Direct's Grant Johnson said direct mail can still be an essential ingredient in the generation of quality leads as part of an integrated marketing campaign, and the conversion of prospective clients and past buyers into lifelong customers. "Too many marketers still look at mail as a single-channel communication tool and neglect its unique ability to play a key role in a well-executed, integrated multichannel communication plan," he said.
Johnson listed several examples where direct mail was beneficial. In one, a nonprofit was faced with the challenge of creating credibility with a growing female prospect base that perceived the organization as out of touch and not relevant for their needs. The objective was to change that view and encourage these women to join the nonprofit. A plan was devised, and the central driver in re-establishing the nonprofit as a group relevant to women was social media, while newsletters, PR and some limited advertising and PPC and SEO provided supplemental support to the push. Once engagement transpired, a direct mail testing plan was put into action to convert these "fans" into paying organization members.
Johnson offered a number of tips for the coming year in terms of the use of direct mail. The first tip is to make sure your data is accurate, with Johnson saying that you should "spend a disproportionate amount of time on your data/lists." He also said a niche focus can be critical. "Effective direct mail is rarely homogeneous," Johnson said. "Thus, you have to vary your copy and design based on the segments that emerge from your database analysis." Johnson's third tip is to test offers and messaging to see if it is relatable to audiences. His fourth and final tip is to assess and take note of your competitors' direct mail strategies. "Understand, to the best of your ability, what differentiates you from your competitors and then exploit your unique selling proposition," Johnson said.