Do you have what it takes? Take the â€˜gritâ€™ test and find out. In this Issue
Social Media 101
10 tips on how to get in on the conversation.
What Print Buyers Want
Never underestimate the power of your equipment list.
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IN THIS ISSU
Take the GRIT Test and see how you rate. — Page 12
Guts, Gumption & Grit
Are we born with gumption or is it LEARNED?
Looking for a New Plate?
What Print Buyers Want
Social Media 101
You’ll need to look well beyond the price; here’s a list of factors to consider.
Margie Dana offers wisdom for making the most out of your equipment list.
Discover what’s going on online and find out how to get involved.
Printers Getting into Packaging Short-run packaging offers plenty of opportunities.
You at the Show! 16 See Advice for getting the most out of industry events, trade shows and conferences.
Speed, Quality, and Price at McCoy Printing “With the Onset s40, we’re more competitive for new business.”
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy 17 The “…If we have a laser-like focus on the ROI, we aren’t likely seeing the big picture.”
& Tricks 14 Tips Creating 3D images with Fujifilm’s Acuity series of flatbed UV printers.
Fish, Bigger Pond 21 Bigger Many printers making the leap and adding marketing services.
of Two Color Books 15 Tale How two software manufacturers tackled the same problem.
You Know? 22 Did Facts and figures about Fujifilm; we just might surprise you.
About the cover We’ve coated the cover of this issue with a textured matte coating (5031D – Texture Matte #4) from Coatings & Adhesives Corporation. The C&A product line is known for its performance, consistency and economics and includes UV coatings for in-line and off-line applications for the commercial, packaging, multi wall bag, flexo, web offset, screen and digital markets. www.cacoatings.com
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A letter from Todd Zimmerman
Welcome to the new version of ENERGY Magazine. In this edition, we hope to capture your attention and curiosity with our evolving format. Our intent is to show another perspective from Fujifilm Graphic Systems Division by adding a new element and dimension to how you look at your business and our industry. The challenges and environment today are more difficult than ever before and we’re here to assure you that we will be at your side, in the trenches, as we forge ahead together. Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” I’m quite sure he wasn’t talking about the printing industry back then, but I’m also quite sure that it does apply today. There is likely a lot of debate about what makes one a pessimist or an optimist. Call it gumption, call it grit, you can even call it courage. Despite whatever word you choose, in many cases it boils down to the ability to face difficult situations and make the tough decisions necessary to create an opportunity…and there is always opportunity. In many cases, the opportunity appears to those with the vision to change their business model because they see the opportunity that will come from a transformation. They can transform with new offerings that expand their services and they can transform by re-engineering processes and improving workflows and efficiencies. While that may sound intimidating, printers should be comforted knowing they are not alone. We at Fujifilm have had to transform our business, not only in the graphic arts industry, but across much of our company. We are changing and we are leading because we see the future with optimism and we see the opportunity in print. Fujifilm is leading the way with robust R&D of new products and solutions to support your effort to change your business, while we also illustrate our value to you as a leading global solution provider. We are planning and investing and transforming as we look toward the future with optimism – as your partner in the trenches. Thanks for reading,
Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Graphic Systems Division
changing plates ? Printing plates play an important role in the printing process, but the best plate is the one you never need to take notice of. It comes up to color quickly, reduces makeready waste, carries water well and is consistent shift after shift, day after day, month after month. So, what factors should you consider when selecting the right printing plate? PRICE is always a factor, but buying the cheapest printing plate does not ensure the lowest “cost of doing business” for the printer. As Jeff Hernandez, vice
president at Classic Color in Broadview, Ill., points out, “A lot of people look at the cost of the plate. In many of these cases, you save a dime on the front and spend a dollar on the back. A lot of people buy price and that’s the most foolish thing you can do. You need to buy performance. How does t h i s process per for m ? How many impressions can I get ? How fast am I running? How consistently am I running? How many plate remakes do I have? All of that factors in and a lot of people aren’t paying attention to it. They’re just looking at the price.” So, while price is certainly a very important factor in deciding on the right plate, other factors need to be considered as well. One cost many printers overlook is the cost of plate chemistry. It seems to be an
afterthought, but it can add significant expense to your plate production. Fujifilm has developed the GATF InterTech awardwinning ZAC-enabled FLH-Z processor designed to greatly reduce chemistry consumption. How is it so different? Let’s take the example of a printer that uses two plate sizes: 30” x 40” and 13” x 19.” When those plates are processed, most processors use the same predetermined amount of plate chemistry to develop each of the plates. It’s incredibly wasteful and inefficient to use the same amount of chemistry to develop a 40” plate as you do to develop a plate half its size. Instead, Fujifilm’s ZAC system was designed to sense the size of the plate entering the processor and use only the amount of chemistry needed to process that size plate. If replenishment is not needed, then it is not added. As a result, chemistry consumption is greatly reduced and the life of the chemistry is extended without the need for multiple expensive filters.
An added benefit of the ZAC system is that it monitors the elapsed time and the number of processed plates as well and alerts the user when the chemistry has reached the end of its useful life. No more guessing if you should dump and rebatch; this processor does the thinking for you. Another factor to con sider is choosing a plate that can run the number of impressions you require.
There are a number of printers today using “bakeable plates,” ones that require a pre-bake and/or post-bake oven, for short- to medium-run work (i.e. 1,000 – 150,000 impressions). Bakeable plates were designed for very long run lengths of one million impressions or more and for resiliency when facing harsh press conditions such as using U V inks, chemicals or printing on abrasive or unusual stocks such as plastic. By baking a plate, it hardens the plate and makes it incredibly strong and resilient.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
By Matt Sisson
However, sheetfed run lengths continue to decline and most jobs now fall well within the short to medium run length range. By using ovens, printers are incurring significant electrical expenses to run the ovens and cool the room where they reside and, in most cases, it’s an unwarranted expense. If you are currently using a bakeable plate, evaluate your run lengths to determine if it’s possible to switch to a “no-bake” plate. Even if you have to use two sets of plates for that one long-run job that comes in each month, you’ll find yourself saving significant time and money by eliminating a variable in your plate making process. Another important factor is plate consistency. This can be a very difficult
attribute to determine during a single plate test, so it’s important to speak with current users of the plate you’re evaluating. Ask the user how many bad plates, due to manufacturing defects, they have had in the past year. A single bad plate should not be cause for concern, but entire boxes or skids of plates should be cause for alarm. The uniform thickness of the emulsion on a printing plate is a critical factor for consistent on-press performance.
Making millions of square feet of plate material each year can be a challenging undertaking for any printing plate manufacturer. Some manufacturers excel at this better than others. If the plate you are investigating is sourced from multiple locations around the country or world, you should be very leery. It is exceptionally difficult to replicate exact manufacturing tolerances from one facility to another and rarely is the same plate from two locations identical. Do your homework. Ask your manufacturer for three or four reference sites you can speak to directly. Utilize the power of social media to mine pertinent information from other users, friendly competitors and industry organizations. Hernandez adds that it’s also important to consider the durability of a plate as well. “Does it scratch easily? Can I put it in my bender? Can I take it from the front of the shop to the back of the shop without it getting damaged? You’ve got to think about a number of little things,” he says. In short, do your homework. If you do, the transition from one plate to another can be a relatively simple, painless and, most importantly, money-saving experience.
“Does it scratch easily? Can I put it in my bender? Can I take it from the front of the shop to the back of the shop without it getting damaged? You’ve got to think about a number of little things.” — Jeff Hernandez, Vice President, Classic Color
The new emerging market for graphic communication providers By John Kaufman
In recent years, we have witnessed explosive growth in the packaging market. Unlike the trend weâ€™ve witnessed over the last several years with the reduction in printed materials such as books, manuals, brochures, coupons and even mailers, the need for product packaging will never go away. In fact, items such as labels, folding cartons and flexible packaging offer significant opportunities for todayâ€™s printers.
This shift is a result of the expanded c apabi l it ies a nd cont i nuou s a nd uninterrupted access to the Internet, along with the impact of electronic applications and devices such as smartphones and iPads. Simply put, packaging canâ€™t be digitized. Converting and packaging manufacturers are now dealing with business issues similar to what the commercial print space faced some 15 years ago. In this consistently undulating market, brand owners are faced with the challenges of keeping their products and brands fresh and relevant. They are constantly adjusting their business models and bringing new products to market that they hope will meet the needs of the consumer, which obviously drives the bottom line and contributes to the continual growth in this portion of the industry.
revenue streams in this emerging market space. The need for digital products and automated solutions will continue to grow as this market segment evolves and delivers newer and more un ique experiences to the end users through print and electronic device applications, such as smartphones. In a 2010 study conducted by InfoTrends, results indicated that digital package printing will grow 15.7% annually, rising from $1.8 billion in 2009 to more than $3.7 billion in 2014.
Key growth contributors 1. Increases in private labeling and resulting shorter runs 2. Package testing 3. Customizing for target markets or event marketing 4. Making the package interactive
As a result, converters and packaging houses are faced with challenges in delivering solutions that can both meet and exceed the needs of the brand owners when it comes to quicker turnaround times, reduced inventory, shorter run lengths, personalization and target marketed products. This is where new digital packaging solutions fit, giving companies the ability to find new
5. Streamlined solutions for secure variable data label printing 6. Improvements in supply chain management 7. An emphasis on sustainability 8. Expanded media options 9. Available technology (e.g., the presses and beyond)
Adding to this growth is the recent trend towards private labeling in the retail space. Studies show that short-run color production opportunities are on the rise because major supermarket chains are looking to diversif y their product offerings. They are now more involved in their own brand building than ever before and these chains are stocking the alreadycrowded shelves with their own private labels, which helps them increase both brand recognition and loyalty. These stores are even introducing their own upscale branded products, growing their business and revenue by competing in this space as well. All of these brand owners and retailers are looking for new ways to create a unique, one-to-one relationship with their consumers. In order to do this, brand owners are designing packaging and messaging tailored to specific regions, which often include QR codes and specialized graphics. All of this is in an effort to build that brand loyalty. The result for the printer: shorter and shorter production runs and a demand for quicker turnaround times. In a recent study, private labels accounted for 50% of the label market in Europe; in the United States, it is currently at 20% but is predicted to grow significantly over the next several years.
Shown below is the Stora Enso Gallop™for the iGen4®. This system has seemlesly joined a coater, conveyor buffer, die cutter and press into a one-stop folding carton manufacturing system.
Over the past 10 years, we have witnessed a transition in the commercial print market as production runs have become smaller and job frequency has increased. Because of this, the more versatile commercial printer is in a position to expand product offerings and take advantage of new business challenges and opportunities. Commercial shops will find a growing niché in this space because most large converters don’t have the digital equipment or ability to efficiently handle or manage a lot of smaller orders. Because of those challenges, many packaging houses are not currently interested in developing or growing this portion of their business; instead, they want to focus on the longer and more profitable runs that are better suited for their current workflow and infrastructure. Packaging represents the single biggest analog-to-digital print opportunity in the graphic communications market and digital packaging has proven to be recession-proof. The demand for shorter run lengths, quick turnarounds and lower costs is not unfamiliar to the commercial printer, and now is the time to capitalize on these new business opportunities in the packaging arena.
The Xerox® Automated Packaging Solution powered by Stora Enso Gallop™ for the iGen4® Press seamlessly joins four components into one system for folding carton manufacturing. Designed to make short runs effective and affordable, it expands the opportunities for commercial printer by enabling them to produce targeted, specialized packaging that better meets their customers’ needs. This complete inline solution will complement existing packaging or printing operations by allowing short-run color work to be moved to a digital production line and will free up capacity on existing offset equipment.
For more information:
At McCoy Printing,
Onset S40 Delivers Speed, Quality & Price By Kristi Hubert Mendez
Speed. Quality. Price. In the printing industry, customers have typically been able to pick any two, Until Now.
“Now we’re able to offer our customers all three,” says Andy Riberdy, president of McCoy, Ltd., a Connecticut-based, familyowned business that specializes in screen, offset and wide format digital printing. “And it’s thanks to the Inca Onset S40 from Fujifilm.” It’s no secret that, over the last several years, the printing industry as a whole has been impacted by a decline in demand, more competitive pricing and shrinking margins. “The only area that is not in decline is customers’ expectation for quality,” said Riberdy. “Customers want it faster and cheaper with no compromise in quality.”
Andy Riberdy President, McCoy, Ltd.
“We looked at our existing equipment and decided that digital inkjet technologies could increase our print quality as well as speed up turnaround times,” said Riberdy. “We felt the Onset S40 would enable us to offer our customers more value and a more competitive price so we could effectively compete for new business.” In effect, he said, with the Onset S40 he’d finally to be able to deliver on speed, quality and price. The quality that the Onset S40 is able to achieve was unlike anything else Riberdy and his team investigated. “The S40’s quality is outstanding and gave us the edge we were looking for,” he said. “A good portion of our clients do work where flesh tones are critical, along with color and gloss. We’re producing near-offset quality on the S40, and our customers have been very impressed.” Riberdy adds that the quality level he’s able to achieve is “as good as I’ve seen,” especially with grays and neutrals. “Those colors have always been brutal for printers to produce,” he explains, “but not with the Onset.” In addition to higher print quality, McCoy is realizing increased cost savings and greater efficiencies when printing on the Onset as compared to traditional offset printing. “Work previously done offset is now being printed on the Onset,” according to Riberdy. “Getting up to color on our offset press results in significant waste which gets extremely costly when printing on high value substrates such as plastic. The Onset can achieve the quality our offset customers demand, and we can gang images on the large Onset print bed to turn jobs quickly with virtually no waste.” McCoy’s operations are also now more efficient because the new ColorGATE RIP provides a single production platform and allows one operator the ability to drive all of the equipment in the shop.
“We have a lot of people touching that RIP – prepress sends files into that RIP, our machine operators are ripping files – and it’s a huge advantage that they all know and understand ColorGATE. It’s allowed us to cross train as well as ask employees to pitch in when we need it,” he says. “It’s a tremendous achievement for us,” Riberdy said, “to have one standard interface across all platforms. We now run all our inkjet equipment, even those not supplied by Fujifilm, as well as our computer-to-screen device with one RIP.”
Color management was another critical aspect of the selection process for McCoy, an area where Fujifilm’s expertise provided a definite advantage. Fujifilm’s Print Performance Team worked with McCoy and helped them achieve G7® certification.
All print methods – screen, offset and digital inkjet – are now running to G7 standards and producing consistent color across all three print technologies. “We’ve had a long relationship with Fujifilm, and we felt very comfortable going through this process with them,” he said. Riberdy admitted that making the decision to implement G7 wasn’t a quick one, but one that came after several conversations with Fujifilm’s technical experts. “Eventually, we were convinced about all of the benefits to our organization, not just for color, but for our entire print process. John Toombs, sales manager at McCoy, spoke of one particular customer, a global communications company that has demanding color standards in order to ensure brand integrity. “The company produces a number of campaigns, in varying run lengths and in different formats, some offset, and some wide format. The G7 print method and consistency in our color management gives us the ability to deliver the color integrity they demand, across all of the devices in our shop.” We knew there was more we could be doing for our customers,” said Toombs. “There were some jobs we couldn’t compete on, mainly because of run length and quality expectations, but the S40 provides us with lower cost compared with our offset presses, especially on short run lengths. Now we’re able to provide higher quality, shorter run lengths and faster turnaround times, and pass along cost savings to our customers.” “New technology is always a good story to tell,” Riberdy said. “We talked to some of our customers about our new capabilities with the S40, and they were absolutely stunned by the quality of the samples we showed them. Customers were constantly asking us when the S40 would be up and running so that they could take advantage of the new technology to produce their next job.” Toombs added, “We’re finding new applications for the S40 every day. This is a real avenue for growth for McCoy.”
‘Make an Impression’ with Inca Digital’s IDEAS 2012
Inca Digital has launched its second Inca Digital Excellence Awards (IDEAS 2012), celebrating the global creativity and ingenuity of printers. The program acknowledges the extraordinary work produced on Inca Digital printers and recognizes the power of digital print by showcasing the stunning effects made possible by Inca’s state-of-the-art UV inkjet technology. Judges are looking for a combination of quality, innovation, and creativity across six different categories: Display Graphics, 3D Point-Of-Sale, Retail Interiors, Decor and Furniture, Product Decoration, and, for the first time, an ‘Interactive Display’ category. “Customers are creating impressive interactive displays, merging digital print with screens, projectors and video — and the clever use of QR codes,” says Heather Kendle, sales and marketing director, Inca Digital. The six category winners will receive an IDEAS trophy and an expenses-paid, two-night trip to Las Vegas to attend SGIA Expo, October 18-20, 2012. For full IDEAS competition details and simple online entr y, visit: w w w.incadigital.com/ ideas2012. Closing date for entries is July 31. Award presentations will take place during SGIA in Las Vegas.
They tell me you are a man with true grit.”
– Mattie Ross from the movie “True Grit”
~ Guts, Gumption & Grit ~
In the popular western story, “True Grit,” 14-year-old Mattie Ross sets out on a quest to avenge her father’s death. Her arduous endeavor doesn’t appeal much to the most professional gunslingers. With unrelenting determination and doggedness (grit), she enlists the help of an aging, half-blind, half-drunk U.S. marshal. She believes he’s the man with true grit – a trait this intuitive (and gritty) girl believes is needed to navigate the perils of the untamed territory. By Lorrie Bryan Whether facing the perils posed by rough terrain, hungry rattlesnakes and desperate outlaws, or facing the challenges created by disappearing profits, global instability and increasing competition, grit is the factor that embodies the indomitable character of the U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn and his unlikely sidekick. Grit, it turns out, is the key to success – the defining characteristic that overrides fear, doubt and roadblocks.
So, if you are a leader trying to navigate this perilous, never-ending economic landscape to venture into the unknown – grit is what you need. The Grit Factor A leading research psychologist, Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., contends that people who accomplish great things often combine a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the
obstacles and however long it might take. That appears to be the case with businesses today. Over the past three decades, Dome Printing has become one of the largest privately held commercial printing companies in northern California. Tim Poole, who r uns the centur y-old company along with his brothers, Andy and Bob, says that guts, gumption and grit define his leadership style. This is
evidenced by the company’s steadfast devotion to its mission to be a worldclass print solutions provider, supplying the best customer experience, and using its competitive advantage. “My leadership style has a call for all of these attributes timed, delivered and executed in the right doses to insure balance in our organization,” Poole says. “Steadiness of character is measured by a leader’s commitment to applying values consistently. Trust is achieved by building respect, and respect is acquired by people knowing what you stand for. Without displaying grit, guts and gumption, I guess that the opposite would apply – a spineless, selfish individual with a lack of the resourcefulness needed to make good decisions.”
“I have always maintained that excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work. And I still think this is an eminently important difference.” — Charles Darwin David Bailey, Jr., president of Lithographics, a 36-year-old Nashville printing company says that having guts and grit is a major reason why the company still is in business today. “Considering the way things have been for the last several years, if you are the leader of a business and don’t have a whole lot of guts and grit, you are probably not going to be in business much longer,” he says. Poole says there definitely is a lack of the “grit factor” in today’s world. “We love the Reagan years. He was one of the first presidents in years that had the guts, gumption and grit to make changes in the White House. I have admiration when I meet great leaders. They are easy to recognize. On the flip side, there seems to be more companies being led by people who lack strong character – guts, gumption and grit. I have had the opportunity to visit failed companies, and it is usually obvious that the root cause of failure is lack of vision and not enough guts. It takes guts to do the right things.” Bailey says that, unfortunately, it seems that some business leaders want to take the easy way out. “Sadly, the majority of businesses that I interact with are continuing to work on or manage how they are going to ‘look’ in order to survive and prosper in this new economy.” Jill Wangler, marketing director at Fineline Printing Group, says some people like to take the path of least resistance. “A lot of people inherently don’t like confrontation – don’t like to be challenged. For certain roles in a business, there’s a fit for these folks. But for a manager or leader, I think a lack of these traits – guts, gumption and grit – are detrimental to the organization as a whole
Informal – courage and fortitude; nerve; determination; stamina
gumpt ion [guhmp-shuh n] noun
Shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness
Firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck
for a lot of reasons.”
When Duckworth took the Grit Scale into the field, she found it to be remarkably predictive. At the University of Pennsylvania, research indicated that high grit ratings enabled students with relatively low college-board scores to nonetheless achieve high GPAs. Next, Duckworth administered the grit test to more than 1,200 freshman cadets as they entered West Point, embarking on a grueling summer training course known as Beast Barracks. The military also has developed its own complex evaluation to judge incoming cadets and predict which ones would survive the demands of West Point. The test includes grades, a physical fitness evaluation and a leadership test. But at the end of Beast Barracks, the more accurate analysis of which cadets persisted and which dropped out turned out to be Duckworth’s 12-item grit questionnaire.
“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me.... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
– Walt Disney
Duckworth carried out a similar “success study” with kids who competed in spelling bees. Again, it turned out that grit – in this case, the ability to persist and passionately pursue your goal of winning the spelling bee by doing whatever it takes – was the best judge of success.
OR Is grit an inborn ability, just like intelligence, or a talent? Or, can grit be cultivated? Many psychologists and philosophers contend that adversity is essential for character development.
Nature or Nurture Is grit an inborn ability, just like intelligence, or a talent? Or, can grit be cultivated? Many psychologists and philosophers contend that adversity is essential for character development. Was young Mattie Ross, the heroine of “True Grit,” born with grit, or did she grow gritty due to adversity (the loss of her father)? Would Rooster Cogburn have had less grit if he still had both of his eyes?
can. What’s especially important for young professionals is for them to know that making mistakes is okay.”
Lithographic’s Bailey argues that qualities such as grit come from your core being. “I agree with the saying that, ‘adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals whether someone has it or not.’ I’m sure that everyone possesses some of these, but at different levels. If you don’t have much of it, it is very difficult for it to be nurtured or grown or developed.”
Perhaps the adverse economic climate has fueled the growth of grit in some individuals, and the challenges we face should be hailed as opportunities for evolution. Dome Printing’s Poole says his character strength is deeply rooted in his DNA, but that experiences also have shaped who he is. “The fear of failure causes me to constantly examine what is working and what changes need to occur to drive innovation and ward off complacency,” he says. “I have had and still do experience influences that help shape my character. The older I get, it seems that the rate of influence is accelerated, or the economy has forced me to examine everything much closer. I challenge my weaknesses and never give up.”
Fineline Printing Group’s Wangler believes in the power of both forces – nature and nurture. “I’m not saying they’re equal, but the ‘nurture’ influence can vary based on one’s upbringing and relationships. For employees, I think it’s i mpor t ant to challenge t hem appropriately and provide opportunities to build on their passion wherever I
“If a company desires to have a business culture of grit, gumption and guts, the rewards should be felt throughout the organization,” Poole says. “In leadership training, we teach individuals how to make decisions. I think we will add a segment on the value of understanding these defined characteristics as we build leaders in our organization.”
SO... Do You Have Grit? Not only is grit important, but Duckworth also contends that having grit – that perseverance and passion for long-term goals – can better predict success than traits such as IQ or conscientiousness. A few years ago, she set out to determine what qualities most accurately would predict outstanding achievement. She developed a test to measure grit, which she called the Grit Scale. This simple test requires you to rate yourself on 12 questions (it relies entirely on self-report). The test takes about three minutes to complete. Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., & Kelly, D.R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9, 1087-1101.
Directions for taking the 12-Item Grit Scale Test:
Please respond to the following 12 items. Be honest – there are no right or wrong answers! The following statements describe me:
Not at all
1. I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge.
2. New ideas and projects sometimes
distract me from previous ones.
3. My interests change from year to year. 4. Setbacks don’t discourage me. 5. I have been obsessed with a certain idea or
project for a short time but later lost interest.
6. I am a hard worker. 7. I often set a goal but later choose to
pursue a different one.
8. I have difficulty maintaining my focus on projects
that take more than a few months to complete.
9. I finish whatever I begin. 10. I have achieved a goal that took years of work. 11. I become interested in new pursuits every
12. I am diligent. Scoring: For questions 1, 4, 6, 9, 10 and 12 assign the following points:
5 = Very much, 4 = Mostly, 3 = Somewhat, 2 = Not much, 1 = Not at all For questions 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 11 assign the following points:
1 = Very much, 2 = Mostly, 3 = Somewhat, 4 = Not much, 5 = Not at all Add up the points and divide by 12. The maximum score on this scale is 5 (extremely gritty), and the lowest score on this scale is 1 (not at all gritty).
By Margie Dana
N e v e r Und e r e st i mat e t h e
o f t h e Eq u i pm e nt L i st © 2011 Margie Dana. All rights reserved.
If there’s one thing that separates experienced print buyers from novices, it’s using a printer’s equipment list. As dry and impersonal as these lists are, they are absolutely essential for experienced customers. New buyers and designers, on the other hand, aren’t familiar with print manufacturing capabilities. They don’t rely on a printer’s equipment list because it’s Greek to them. But give them time! Recently, I posted this topic as a discussion in our Print Buyers International Group on LinkedIn. (It’s a group for print customers only; service providers, unfortunately, aren’t eligible to join.)
Do print customers really rely on equipment lists – and if so, how? The responses didn’t surprise me, but they may surprise print CEOs and sales reps, who assume that customers are focused on price and price alone. One buying pro with 30+ years in the field said she certainly considers the equipment list, but it’s “one of a number of variables I consider in making the decision on a printer.” Her experience is with offset presses, not digital equipment. The press manufacturer doesn’t matter so much as its capabilities. A publishing production professional with about the same amount of experience notes that “equipment” is certainly where you start. But he meets and evaluates the people who run the equipment, as well as the customer service staff. To him, this is much more important in the long run. He wants to
meet the support team and learn how they resolve problems when considering working with a new provider. “I use the equipment list as the first filter to see if the printer has the necessary equipment types and sizes to handle the work,” added another experienced customer in the insurance industry. Then his real “due diligence” starts, as he determines how CSRs interact with customers and, “just as important, how they interact with production personnel.” I was impressed to hear that this buyer likes to watch how equipment operators work to see if they’re efficient or, as he puts it, “frantic.” “Understanding and knowing how to select the right equipment, whether digital or conventional, is what separates t h e s e r io u s p r i n t p r o c u r e m e n t professionals from those who just happen to buy print,” wrote another seasoned paper and print production specialist. Her first step is deciding which process is called for: digital, sheetfed, web offset, inkjet, etc. “With digital, there is no apples-to-apples equipment, so I do spec brand equipment, “ she noted. But with offset jobs, she doesn’t usually factor in the equipment manufacturer, unless she’s looking for certain unique features. “Absolutely! I use the equipment list as the first filter, also,” noted another customer. “I know which piece of equipment will print my job most cost effectively and whether or not it is a
digital or conventional job.” She also sources international printers and adds, “…although language and terminology may be different, the presses are the same! Sourcing by press is the fastest way for me to determine who is a good fit for my jobs.” One customer with extensive experience in print manufacturing has a very interesting purpose when reviewing the equipment list. As critical as the equipment is, he’s far more interested in the staff and equipment maintenance. “You can have the best equipment in the world, but if you are ignoring maintenance and running it 24/7, then the list means nothing.” He tries to visit every prospective printer to see the job flow. He also meets with the team to learn how jobs run through the shop. Should he see files strewn all over and a sloppy press room, then “all bets are off,” and the equipment they have won’t matter. I share all of this to make the point loud a nd cle a r: to d ay ’s ex p e r ie nce d professional print buyers pay close at te nt ion to t he m a nu fac t u r i ng equipment when qualifying printers. Printers need to understand this and do two key things: 1) market their presses to print buyers and creatives; and 2) make sure the list is current, accurate and has descriptions (for the novices) of what each press is capable of – in terms of applications and unique features. Now that would be an exceptional equipment list.
Margie Dana is the founder of Print Buyers International, the leading professional association for those who source or influence the source of printing and related services. She’s a former print buyer who now focuses on building communication between customers and the print industry, through annual conferences, networking events, public speaking, consulting, and her weekly newsletter, “Margie’s Print Tips,” written since 1999. www. printbuyersinternational.com 13
steps; first laying down as much ink as necessary to build the texture and then printing Photoshop and converted it to black and white. Tips for printing textured images a full color image top. Creating a raised or textured print on the on the Fujifilm line of UV printers consists of 2 main Step 1. steps; first laying down as much ink as Based on the original technique by Matt Schroeder. Here we’ve opened our lizard image in necessary to build the texture and then printing Photoshop and converted it to black and white. Step 1a full color image top. Creating a raised or textured print on the Open the image in Photoshop and convert it to Fujifilm line of UV printers consists of 2 main Step 1. black and white. steps; first laying down as much ink as Here we’ve opened our lizard image in Raised or Textured Ink necessary to build the texture and then printing Photoshop and converted it to black and white. Step 2a full color image top.
Based on the original technique by Matt Schroeder. Here we’ve opened our lizard image in
Tips for printing textured images on the Acuity Advance HS By Frank Skupien
Creating a raised or textured print on the Fujifilm Acuity line of UV printers consists of creating and printing three different layers. Layer 1 will lay down as much ink as possible to build the texture; Layer 2 covers the first layer with white ink; and Layer 3 will print the finished image.
Press “Ctrl+I” to invert the colors. This swaps Step 1. and shadows. the highlights
1 Step 2. Press “Ctrl+I” to invert the colors. Here we’ve opened our lizard image in Raised or Textured Ink Step 3. Step 3Photoshop and converted it to black and white. Using the levels slider or burn tool you can Using the levels slider for overall contrast or adjust or focus where you’d like the darkest Step 2. the burn/dodge tool, adjust where you’dareas to be(the darker the more raised your like Press “Ctrl+I” to invert the colors. printed the darkest areas to be (the darker the Step 3. area, image will be in that the more raised the printed image will Using the levels slider or burn tool you can be in adjust or focus where you’d like the darkest area. 2 that area). areas to be(the darker the more raised your printed Step 4Step 3. image will Step 4. Erase areas you don’t want to have any depth. be in that Erase areas you do not want to have any Using the levels slider or burn tool you can area. adjust or focus where you’d like the darkest depth. In this case it’s all around the In this example, I’ve erased the area around the areas to be(the darker the more raised your lizard plus his other arm. lizard asprinted well as the left arm. Step 4. Step 3. image will Tips for printing textured images Step 5 Erase areas you do not want to have any Using the levels slider or burn tool you can be in that on the depth. In this case it’s all around the 3 area. For theadjust or focus where you’d like the darkest first layer of the technique, open the areas to be(the darker the more raised your lizard plus his other arm. black-and-white file in the ColorGATE RIP and printed Based on the original technique by Matt Schroeder. image will select the “Quality Layered” mode: be in that C reating a raised or textured print on the area. Fujifilm line of UV printers consists of 2 main Color Management > Advanced Settings > steps; first laying down as much ink as Print Mode > Quality Layered. necessary to build the texture and then printing a full color image top.
Ste Era dep liza
Step Era dep liza
In the settings drop down menu under “Special 4 Colors White,” Step 1. choose “Pixel.” In the drop down Step 5. Here we’ve opened our lizard image in Raised or Textured Ink menu Step 5. for “Layers,” choose “User Defined” and Now I’ve opened the black and white file in the Photoshop and converted it to black and white. Now I’ve opened the black and white file in the then click the box to the right of the Layer drop Colorgate RIP and chose “Quality Layered” mode from within the “Print Mode” tab found in “Advanced down Colorgate RIP and chose “Quality Layered” mode from menu to define them by checking all five within the “Print Mode” tab found in “Advanced Step 2. boxes Settings” under the “Color Management” tab. In the for all three layers. Settings” under the “Color Management” tab. In the Press “Ctrl+I” to invert the colors. settings drop down menu under “Special Colors” settings drop down menu under “Special Colors”
This piece was created by Frank Skupien as a sales sample and display piece at our national demonstration center in Hanover Park, Ill. Matt Schroeder, who works at our wide format demonstration center in Kansas City, Mo., first developed the layered ink process to achieve a simulated roofing tile texture. Since perfecting the process, Frank and Matt have created multiple pieces including Braille, simulated rubber tires, stained glass, printed floor tiles, and simulated football leather and grass.
Step “White” I’ve selected “Pixel”. Under the drop down 6 “White” I’ve selected “Pixel”. Under the drop down menu for “Layers” configure the layers as shown. This is
menu for “Layers” configure the layers as shown. This is Also listed in the “Color Management” menu is where the ink piling will build to create the raised feel. where the ink piling will build to create the raised feel. the “Color Correction” tab. Create two points on Step 5. the curve and set properties simultaneously for Step 6. Step 6. Now I’ve opened the black and white file in the Also under “Color Management” is the “Color all channels. The first point properties should Also under “Color Management” is the “Color Colorgate RIP and chose “Quality Layered” mode from Correction” tab. Create two points on the curve and set be: Input 50 and Output 0. The second point Correction” tab. Create two points on the curve and set within the “Print Mode” tab found in “Advanced properties simultaneously for all channels. The first point properties simultaneously for all channels. The first point shouldSettings” under the “Color Management” tab. In the be: Input 50.1 and Output 100. properties should be Input 50 and Output 0. The second
properties should be Input 50 and Output 0. The second settings drop down menu under “Special Colors” point should be Input 50.1 Output 100. Step 3. point should be Input 50.1 Output 100. “White” I’ve selected “Pixel”. Under the drop down Using the levels slider or burn tool you can Then, menu for “Layers” configure the layers as shown. This is print the image to your substrate. adjust or focus where you’d like the darkest where the ink piling will build to create the raised feel. areas to be(the darker the more raised your Step 7 printed Step 7. Step 7. To create the second print layer, open the blackimage will RIP the color version of the file at any mode you like and Step 6. RIP the color version of the file at any mode you like and be in that and-white file again and repeat steps 5 and 6, simply print directly on top of the first. For more depth Also under “Color Management” is the “Color simply print directly on top of the first. For more depth area. repeat step 1 as many times as necessary for desired Correction” tab. Create two points on the curve and set checking only the “W” box for each of the three repeat step 1 as many times as necessary for desired result before moving to step 2. result before moving to step 2. layers properties simultaneously for all channels. The first point in Step 5. properties should be Input 50 and Output 0. The second point should be Input 50.1 Output 100.
Step 4. Erase areas you do not want to have any depth. In this case it’s all around the 6 lizard plus his other arm.
Finally, to create the third layer, RIP the color version of the file at any mode you like and simplyStep 7. print directly on top of the first two This piece was created as a sales sample for our RIP the color version of the file at any mode you like and prints.This piece was created as a sales sample for our sales for and a display piece at our National simply print directly on top of the first. For more depth sales for and a display piece at our National Demonstration Center in Hanover Park, IL. repeat step 1 as many times as necessary for desired Demonstration Center in Hanover Park, IL. Matt Schroeder at Fujifilm Graphics Division result before moving to step 2. *For more depth, repeat Layer 1 as many times as Matt Schroeder at Fujifilm Graphics Division Kansas City first developed the layered ink Kansas City first developed the layered ink necessary for the desired result before printing process to achieve a simulated roofing tile process to achieve a simulated roofing tile texture and has since created multiple pieces the final two layers. texture and has since created multiple pieces equally as innovating such as floor tiles, equally as innovating such as floor tiles, football skin, grass and more! football skin, grass and more! This piece was created as a sales sample for our sales for and a display piece at our National Demonstration Center in Hanover Park, IL. Matt Schroeder at Fujifilm Graphics Division
TIPS & TRICKS
A Tale of Two Color Books Matching Corporate Spots on Inkjet Printers By Jeffrey Nelson
Anyone who has wide format inkjet printers knows hitting spot colors, or corporate brand colors, is important – not to mention challenging. Unfortunately it’s often a “hit or miss” process that can tie things up for several minutes or even a few hours, depending on the skill set of the operator and the tools available to them. Since printers who utilize wide format inkjet devices don’t have the option of opening a can of PANTONE 286 and putting it on the press, they instead must struggle with the task of matching spot colors using only using cyan, yellow, magenta and black. The “lucky” ones have an orange or violet or green to further expand the color gamut of the press, but that’s it. There is some relief, though, as most wide format inkjet RIPs available today have the ability to perform a colorimetric match of any given color and report the Delta E according to the color gamut of the printer. However, while a match made “by the numbers” may be the closest match according to a complex mathematical equation, visually it’s not necessarily the closest match. The lure of a closer visual match leads us down the slippery slope of color matching through old-fashioned trial and error. Although some shops will continue to tweak the color of the job at the press and print the piece over and over again, most use a stand alone utility to assist them by bracketing the spot color and then comparing those swatches to the target color. While this method does work, it adds yet another piece of software to buy and maintain and also introduces the likelihood of human error. This is an all-too-common production problem, prompting, the two leaders in the wide format inkjet RIP category to each release major revisions to their software. Both ColorGATE and
Caldera included tools to assist us in this process. Interestingly, each took a very different approach to solving the same problem.
With this, the designer can pick a color (Figure 5) from the swatch book and know preciously what the color will look like on that press.
ColorGATE Color Atlas When ColorGATE released V7, they included a new module called Color Atlas. This module is standard in the Fujifilm Diamond Edition of ColorGATE and is optional in the Emerald edition. The Color Atlas allows the press operator to print brackets, or ranges, of color to allow him to then easily match corporate spot colors by visually evaluating printed swatches and match to the desired spot color. (Figure 1) Once the desired color is located on the chart (Figure 2), the operator simply inputs this value into the RIP, where it automatically adjusts the spot color throughout the job (Figure 3). If these spot color matches are to be used on a recurring basis, ColorGATE allows the user to save and export these color libraries to be used later. With this, an operator can create a color library for a specific customer or brand that can be loaded whenever that color needs to be matched in the future.
These color books can be printed as various color builds of CYMK or, conversely, entire PANTONE books can be printed on various stocks at whatever size would be appropriate. The advantage of this process is that it shifts the burden of the color match out of the production area and moves it upstream to content creation, where it’s normally more cost effective than making these adjustments on press.
Caldera’s Color Book Caldera introduced the Color Book module with their V9 release last year. This optional module takes a different approach to this production problem. Rather than printing various swatches on press and letting the press operator make a visual match, Caldera takes the approach of creating swatch books (Figure 4) on the inkjet printer (i.e. the Fujifilm Acuity) to be used by the designer when creating the content.
Summary It should be noted that, with some effort, one could adopt either of these approaches to spot colors. The advantage of ColorGATE’s “fix it fast” approach is that the press operator knows the exact printing conditions and the desired outcome when running the job. Conversely, the merit of Caldera’s “design it right” approach is that it pushes the responsibility for matching the color to the people that are actually creating the content. By printing the swatches with the press and on the substrate that will be used ensure that what the designer wants is what will be realized get when the job is printed. To determine what’s best for your shop, carefully consider your workflow and your specific operations. Spend time with each product and it will be easy to understand why they are market leaders in this space.
See you at the
show! By Terry Mitchell
Every year, our industry holds trade shows throughout the country that provide printers an opportunity to get out of the shop and see firsthand the new products, technologies and innovations that will impact the industry and potentially their operation. By far, the most common response to “Why do you attend a trade show?” is “to see what’s new.” Trade shows provide an excellent opportunity to see equipment demonstrations in person and get a bit of “hands-on” experience before you make a large investment. Beyond seeing what’s new, trade shows provide a forum to make connections and learn more about industry trends. Oftentimes there are educational forums, seminars and workshops held in conjunction with trade shows that feature presentations on hot topics and “how to” sessions that provide great information on production techniques, applications, color management and more. Industry consultants, trade magazine editors, designers and educators also attend trade shows and are often very open about sharing their perspectives, creating a great learning opportunity for attendees. Additionally, there are opportunities during shows to attend networking receptions or various social events, providing another opportunity to exchange ideas, ask questions and learn more about industry trends.
Getting the most from a show
Before filling out your registration form and booking your travel, make a list of the goals and objectives you want to achieve by visiting the show. Decide which booths to visit, and what forums or workshops to attend. Once you’ve decided which exhibitors you need to see, get a map of the show floor and prioritize your route. Most trade shows now have an online planner and, with it, you can choose to allow the exhibitors that you add on your planner to see your contact information, allowing them to start a dialogue in advance of the event. Collect the information that is of interest to you or that could be valuable to others in your company. Many exhibitors will gladly mail literature and samples, which relieves you of having to carry them around the exhibit hall. There will also be opportunities to scan QR codes so be sure to download a reader if you have a smartphone so you can access the online information during the show as well. Having a clear plan of action will make sure that the time you spent at the show was a worthwhile investment.
Fujifilm @ ISA 2012
As a sponsor of this year’s Sign Expo, Fujifilm will highlight a number of products and solutions – including the latest in inkjet printing – for sign and display graphic printers when this year’s Sign Expo kicks off in Orlando, Fla., on March 22nd.
The new FUJIFILM Acuity® LED 1600, the FUJIFILM Acuity® Advance HS and the Uvistar 2 are a few of the devices that will be on display. For more information, visit us at the show at Booth # 2536 – and don’t forget your business cards. TRADE SHOW
Be Wary of a
Self-Fulfilling Pr phecy By Mark Potter
was sitting at a conference full of powerful marketing professionals. The keynote speaker was a big-named CMO who has known nothing but success in building brands and sustainable competitive advantage. He spoke of marketing’s rightful place at the big table and asserted that marketers will be considered more often for the corner office. He talked about a marketer’s mindset and how taking care of a brand started with becoming an intimate part of a specific community. The audience was predominately newage marketers who were well versed in the latest tools and were committed to measuring everything from ad spending to the fresh pot of coffee in the cafeteria. Our speaker noted this by saying, “You guys are a whole lot smarter than I am.” He went on to mention that he was kind of “old school” and that he didn’t really understand all the sophisticated stuff that marketers were doing today. Afterwards, I was sitting with the speaker and he said to me, “Is this the way it is?” Without needing further clarification, I knew exactly what he was talking about. I replied, “Yes. The short-term pressures to measure everything are enormous.”
He looked at me, sighed and said, “The last decade belonged to the accountants. This decade belongs to the visionaries.” The moral of the story is that marketing has long fought for its rightful place. However, the short-term pressure and the constant need to measure can quickly become a selffulfilling prophecy. In other words, if we have a laser-like focus on the ROI of every single thing we do, we most likely aren’t seeing the big picture.
can invest in some sort of short-term tool to propel us ahead of the competition simply doesn’t hold water. Granted, there are some amazing tools out there, and I subscribe to many of them. However, the tools are worthless without an unwavering commitment to the markets we serve. Marketing is about building deep-rooted relationships with specific segments of people. To develop real relationships in the world, as it is today, we have to create
Marketing is everything. Most importantly, marketing is about the relationship you have with the world you serve. Regardless of the vehicles we use to connect with our community, it is critical to be engaged in an honest and trustworthy relationship. Accordingly, all good relationships have solid two-way communication that includes an unparalleled level of understanding and trust. Now, I am not interested in condemning the use of new-age tools and measurements. I am, however, condemning
The moral of the story is that marketing has long fought for its rightful place. However, the short-term pressure and the constant need to measure can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, if we have a laser-like focus on the ROI of every single thing we do, we most likely aren’t seeing the big picture. – Mark Potter, Publisher of CANVAS Magazine
I have a bunch of friends who play golf, and some of them are downright fanatical about the sport. Often I see these guys sporting the latest in club technology. Forget technology, perimeter weighted irons or some new white-headed driver—it seems like there is a new gimmick every other week. Their relentless pursuit of lower golf scores is almost comical. The clubs may feel good for a round or two and give them a short-term boost in confidence. However, I have yet to witness a significant long-term decrease in their scores. I have some news for my golfing buddies. “It ain’t the clubs boys! It is the player holding the clubs that matters.” This idea that we
trust. In turn, when building trust in any relationship, we must be willing to share more of ourselves and invest in the long term. Marriage, business partnerships, friendships and brands are all forms of relationships. They all take time and cannot be measured in some sort of speed-dating ritual. The greatest brands of all time are intimately involved in their communities. They started out defined by the markets they served, but, in time, they developed trust and were soon defining the markets they served. That is the power of branding, and it may be difficult to accurately measure that in the moment.
the use of such tools without truly caring about your market. True empathy is not necessarily something you can teach, but you can’t market without it. And we can’t succeed without marketing.
Mark Potter is the publisher of CANVAS Magazine. Written specifically for print sales and marketing professionals, CANVAS is a vehicle that focuses on the realities of today’s printing and communication industry. Subscribe at www.thecanvasmag.com or reach Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Media 101
A cheat sheet for
Offer a peek behind the scenes.
Offering a sneak preview of new products, services or features online can help build demand and provide critical feedback to help smooth the launch.
Put your site’s content to work.
Want to draw more traffic to your website? Help spread the word by encouraging visitors to share content they enjoy. One way to promote the sharing of your site’s content is to install a widget, such as AddThis, that automates linking to popular sites.
In unsure economic times, transparency goes a long way toward retaining and attracting customers. Giving readers the scoop on your company blog is an easy way to keep the lines of communication open.
Be careful what you say about others.
While recounting negative experiences with others won’t necessarily lead to a court battle (although it could), it’s best to steer clear of name-calling.
See what people are saying about you.
A quick search for mentions of your company on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp can yield a goldmine of information concerning your reputation. Applications such as monitter and Trackur can help you keep track of the conversation across the Web.
Link to the “In 60 Seconds“ infographic
By Kristi Hubert Mendez
Fujifilm Graphic Systems Division
Social media is officially mainstream and, while it’s a bit of a brave new world, it provides new opportunities for printing industry companies that build the right marketing strategies. Our day-to-day lives are increasingly being lived online, both personally and professionally. We go to Google and not the phone book to find phone numbers; we look up the weekend forecast with a phone app; we get the latest breaking news from Twitter; and we catch up with business colleagues via LinkedIn. As a result, customers are having conversations – online – about your company and your brand. It’s crucial to know what they’re saying – and to be a part of that conversation. As a critical component of any marketing mix, print service providers must learn how to listen to, engage in and participate in those online conversations. While we all naturally want social media to build buzz and engagement with customers, those customers are seeking a return. A December 2009 MarketingSherpa survey indicated that learning about specials and sales was the top motivation of those who “liked” or followed a brand or company online. Learning about new products, features, or services was a close second. Third on the list? Entertainment.
previous year. (Yes, 700%.) However, Facebook remained the top social application at the office, accounting for 39% of employees’ usage of social media.
According to The Nielsen Company, Americans spend 23% of their online time on social media sites.
Social marketing is an increasingly important part of your customers’ everyday lives, and you need to build a social marketing game plan for your business. The statistics are compelling:
Research conducted by security company Palo Alto Networks found that Twitter usage in 2011 was up 700% from the
78% of consumers trust peer recommendations; only 14% trust advertising.
Don’t go on the defensive.
A harsh rebuke of your business on sites like Yelp can not only bruise your ego, but also hurt your livelihood. But resist the temptation to lash out in public. Instead, respond privately and respectfully to less-than-flattering comments. Remember, you can’t please everyone.
A survey done by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and published in February 2012 found that a full 90% of marketing executives surveyed use social media, and three quarters believe it has a positive impact on their business; yet, more than half (54.5%) of the respondents said their company’s marketing team spends less than 10 hours per week investing in social media.
Don’t promote too aggressively.
While social network users have proven to be open to marketing — especially if it involves a discount — they’re not flocking to Facebook or MySpace to hear sales pitches. If your profile or blog reads like an ad, it’ll turn visitors away.
Find influential people in your industry.
In addition to maintaining your blog, make sure to keep your eyes open to what others in the industry are buzzing about online. Reading independent blogs and joining industry groups on Facebook and LinkedIn are good opportunities to join the larger conversation.
34% of bloggers post opinions about products and services…what are they saying about yours? A number of savvy print buyers and marketers are getting in the game and effectively leveraging social media in campaigns and to keep the “conversation” going with their customers. As a result, printers need to build strategies that deliver against the expectations of those print buyers and marketers, while also driving business results. But, wading into the swift waters of social media can be intimidating and difficult for printers, especially for small- and medium-sized operations that don’t have a formal marketing staff. In an effort to help, we’ve put together a cheat sheet for using social media for business –
no matter the size.
Come on in. The water’s fine.
Boost your credibility by helping others.
For printers, establishing yourself as an expert in the field can bring in a steady stream of business. Demonstrate your ability to help print buyers and creatives come up with ideas and solutions. That will build credibility and, ultimately, leads.
Measure, measure, measure. Services like bit.ly, Digsby and Google Analytics can measure traffic and serve as tools to tell you how well you’re doing. And don’t forget to measure.
By Matt Sisson
Swimming in a pond
It’s no secret that our industry is undergoing significant change. Electronic gadgets and applications are becoming a larger part of people’s daily lives, print run lengths continue to decline and the competition for marketing dollars is stiffer than ever. As a result, printers are under increasing pressure to react, to adapt and to change. But, change how? PSP? MSP? Maybe VCP? No matter the moniker, the message is the same: printers must evolve.
There has been a tremendous amount of talk lately about printers moving from Print Service Providers (PSP) to Marketing Service Providers (MSP). The reason for this, of course, is the continued decline of traditional print work. The message to the printer is, “Evolve and expand your offerings if you want to stay relevant. Do more things for your customers. Become more of a ‘one-stop shop’ for your clients.” Admittedly, this is a necessary evolution, but I’m not so sure the term MSP is a good description of what printers will – or should – evolve into. A wise and progressive customer of ours suggested a more accurate description of the modern day pr i nter would be a Visual Communication Provider (VCP). By controlling the visual content for their customers, this printer acts as a “content consultant,” not simply another print pur veyor. Print is certainly a key component of most campaigns, but more often than not it is supported by alternative mediums.
For example, a direct mail piece may be coupled with a follow-up email campaign. Or a brochure may include a QR code that pushes a customer to a PURL. Cross-media marketing is not a threat to our printers, it’s an opportunity for growth and expansion into new areas of production and profitability. When visiting a Smashburger restaurant for the first time recently, I was greeted by a digital menu board. It was large, br ight, easy to read, and even incorporated short videos of a few of their most popular (and likely most profitable) menu items. I was impressed by the menu board… and the burger. But, it made me wonder – where does this evolution leave the printer? At first glance, it would appear the printer of the static menu board would lose a customer, but then I remembered the phrase “content consultant.” With a willingness to change and evolve his business, this printer could control and stream the content to these boards, he could create additional short videos highlighting seasonal menu items, and he could produce table tents to further promote those key items, maybe even include a QR code that would provide the scanner of the code with a coupon.
As I looked around the restaurant more closely, I also began to see very familiar items: tray liners, printed menus, P.O.P. displays and calorie content brochures. So while my attention was first grabbed by the pretty, shiny new menu board, there were still many, many familiar items printers produce every single day. Digital displays, tablet computers and smartphones have certainly modified the way we send and receive information, but that does not mean they will totally displace print. A tangible printed piece is still very attractive to many consumers. I see the creative use of coatings more and more in printed pieces these days and I assume this is to encourage the consumer to pick up the piece, touch it and feel it. That is a sensory experience a digital menu board, a blog post or a QR code simply cannot replace. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest or most intelligent of the species that survive, but those that are most responsive to change.” Seems like a great mantra for the print community, doesn’t it?
Having spent more than 15 years in sales, Matt is now Marketing Manager for FUJIFILM Graphic Systems Division. Have some feedback? Reach him at email@example.com. 21
Lights. Camera. Action. Fujifilm introduced motion picture film in 1934 and, since then, our film has shown you Halloween, Avatar, Black Swan and many others.
More than 50% of the products Fujifilm makes today were not part of the company’s portfolio five years ago.
Start spreading the news. If you stacked all of the plates we sell in one year, it would be taller than the Empire State Building.
Winner of 4 InterTech™ Awards for development of new technology in the graphic arts industry.
Quality. Quality. Quality. Winner of 3 Deming Awards for exceptional quality and control.
Let’s Print Something. And the winner is ... Fujifilm! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented FUJIFILM Corporation with an Academy Award® for scientific and technical achievement at a special awards dinner held in Los Angeles earlier this year.
In 2010, we introduced the world’s first half-size, sheetfed inkjet press – the J Press 720.
We. Know. Color. We’ve done more G7 implementations than ANYONE else in the industry.
That’s no typo. Billion, with a “B.” Fujifilm spends nearly $2,000,000,000 per year in R&D. DID YOU KNOW?
L o s e t h e s e L ATE LY ? Too much makeready? Registration problems? Underestimated dry-time? We hear you ... and we can help, before you lose your shorts.
Fujifilm Inkjet Technology
FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division
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