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Print

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: itsapproved – Clever print management software from Cestrian

At Cestrian, we increasingly hear from our retail clients that they really value the technology solutions we provide to them, as well as the printing process itself.

Like retail, trends within printing have changed rapidly over time, making adaptation the key to survival. Meanwhile, innovation has always been a central focus for the Cestrian team, as we constantly seek new avenues to improve our service and take inspiration from advances in other industries.

itsapproved means truly agile printing

We introduced itsapproved to unify, simplify and streamline manual print management tasks for our clients – and it certainly seems to be working, with case studies showing it can make a 71% saving in manual administration time.

It’s a cloud-based print management system that allows retailers to:

  • Automate repetitive manual tasks, thus reducing time and the risk of errors
  • Automate real-time notifications on the status of print jobs
  • Accelerate the time to market, with ‘pre-flight’ artwork checks for efficiency and speed
  • Quickly upload, back up and archive information, using cloud storage
  • Use mobile device apps to check jobs on the go (iOS and Android)

Want to find out how itsapproved could make your print campaigns better? Talk to the Cestrian team today…

Phone us: 0161 488 3300

Email us: info@cestrian.co.uk

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cestrian

Irish Government planning to monitor social media

Ireland’s Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has issued a controversial tender for firms that can supply it with social media monitoring services.

As reported by the Journal.ie, whoever wins the contract will monitor keywords on social media platforms and provide analysis in email updates or digests.

While it’s not clear exactly what will be monitored or how it will be reported, the initiative has raised concerns among privacy campaigners.

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties said it could have a “chilling effect” on freedom of expression, while Digital Rights Ireland questioned whether it was legal.

News of the social media monitoring plans actually emerged from a wider tender that the Irish Government put out that also required print and broadcast media monitoring.

It’s thought the contract will encompass up to 6,500 articles per month, split between 4,500 from print media and 2,000 from digital media.

Journal.ie says print media analysis will be provided in a digest each morning and digital media updates will be provided at regular intervals throughout the day.

The broadcast media service involves providing email updates showing the relevant coverage on all national, regional, and local radio and television stations across Ireland.

Print industry ‘yet to feel effects of Brexit’

Research from Close Brothers has revealed the supply chain concerns UK SMEs from multiple sectors have regarding Brexit, including the Print sector.

The asset finance specialist polled 900 businesses – while 56% say they have felt no impact on levels of business from the UK’s decision to leave the EU, a further 20% said it was too early to tell; only 24% had felt any kind of effect.

In the Print sector, Close Brothers says the results closely reflected those of the UK as a whole, which means it’s clear that the majority of Print businesses are yet to feel any real and tangible effect from Brexit.

In terms of spending decisions, more than three quarters (76%) of businesses have not delayed spending or investment decisions because of the EU Referendum.

Roger Aust, Managing Director of Close Brothers Asset Finance Print division, said: “Once again, Print businesses reflected exactly the national picture, but what is interesting to note is that 88% of smaller firms – those with a turnover of between £250k to £500k – were the least liable to allow the EU referendum stop them from pushing their business forward and investing.

“Close Brothers has a history of lending through all economic cycles, and experience tells us that these organisations aren’t sitting on large reserves of cash, meaning that in order to maintain business levels they typically don’t have a choice but to spend and invest to ensure a sustainable flow of cash.

“Firms don’t become unviable overnight; we see it as our responsibility to do what we can to ensure our customers, who are in the main SMEs, remain in business and can build towards a profitable future.

“One alternative to consider is restructuring your business finances to make any rise in costs easier to deal with. A great way to do this is through asset finance, which is where our team of experts at Close Brothers Asset Finance can help.

“Print is a significant player in the UK economy but there are ways to mitigate the risks and still have a productive and successful business.”

5 minutes with… Gary Peeling, CEO, Precision Printing

Precision Printing, an innovator in the print technology industry and leading supplier of litho printing, is one of the most respected companies in the sector. But, how do you manage one of the top printing companies in the UK? Here to share his insider knowledge and advice on all things print is the firm’s group CEO, Gary Peeling…

Can you tell us how you get started in print?

Yes, I began as Precision Printing’s teaboy! And that must have been about 30 years ago.

If we were to take on your role, what would a normal day at Precision Printing look like?

Rising early and getting started is really important to me and helps me get on with my work throughout the course of the day. To start, I’ll walk the production floors to make sure that everything is running smoothly. This is better than any dashboard or report, as you can see what projects we’re on, which customers we’re busy with, and the types of products that are selling well.

Obviously, checking how our business is doing is vital, too. So, after walking the floors, I review our ecommerce channels. Often, I also use the quiet time to complete more complex cost and business proposals, analytical or planning work. Then, I check all of my emails and usually follow this with a few meetings — often, there’s one away from our premises and two or three conducted on our site.  I tend to finish work at about 6:30pm.

How do you relax after work?

Family time and separating my mind from work is, of course, important. We enjoy doing things together, and I also love cycling, travelling the world and listening to Billy Joel!

Do you know any industry secrets you can let us in on?

I think readers would be surprised by how fast-changing print is and how much there is to learn. An insider view of print, that many people don’t know about, could be the monetising of emerging technologies, which often includes printing and graphic arts. Good examples of this are e-commerce, digital photography and Apple Mac.

What is it like being a CEO?

At the heart of my job, is the task of leading the executive teams. In a normal week, I dedicate around 50% of my time to analysing and reviewing marketing, sales and business development. Aside from that, I spend about 20% of my time on operational efficiency, 15% on finance and 10% on HR and staff.

Are there any role models in the sector that you admire?

Being in my position, I have decent knowledge of people in my industry and think it’s important to keep an eye on their careers and decisions. One gentleman that I find particularly inspirational is Alon Bar Shany, HP Indigo’s general manager. He’s somebody I really admire. Alon Bar Shany ran a revolution in digital printing and managed a massive global business, yet still somehow makes time to meet and know most of his significant customers.

Do you have any advice you can share with us about being in the print industry or working as a CEO?

Harbouring a creative flair and being able to adapt and change with each new trend is critical to anyone’s survival in the print sector. Believe it or not, every business slowly dies as soon as it launches. Also, don’t think that it’s ever too late or too complicated to do something — it rarely is.

I’d recommended keeping up to date with advances in tech if you want to excel in print, too. Print is versatile and dependent on new technologies, so being creative, marketing fresh ideas, and producing innovative products. If you can understand different business industries, print is going to be perfect for you.

What are the main problems that the print industry is facing?

It surprises me that people today have such reservations about the longevity and capabilities of the print sector. So, dismissing the myths that print is obsolete is a slight issue for use at the moment. Many believe that physical printing will be replaced with digital formats and this has resulted in reduced demand and margin pressure based on perceived value.

But are things improving?

Well, print is certainly prospering, so hopefully people will start recognising that it isn’t a dying industry. As digital marketing costs rise and the channels become busier, printing is starting to look like a remarkably good-value alternative.

Lastly, would you give us your Precision Printing highlights?

As part of Precision Printing for such a long time, there have been many stand-out moments that I cherish. Firstly, I’d say sending out 50,000 orders in just one day was a massive achievement for us. Next, receiving the UK Print Company of the Year award in 2007 was a very proud moment. After these, I’ll never forget when I was selected to be Dscoop: Global Chairman, and was delighted when we launched our “Oneflow” software as a commercial business.

NME

NME pulls the plug after 66-year print run

Iconic music mag NME will cease its 66-year print run, with the Friday 9th March issue being its last ever going to print.

Parent company Time Inc has blamed the decision to close the title on increasing production costs and a ‘tough’ print advertising market, with a new aim of expanding NME’s digital offering and increasing online readership.

The NME switched from a newstand mag to a free sheet back in 2015 in a bid to increase it’s print circulation and win back commercial partners.

“The print re-invention has helped us to attract a range of cover stars that the previous paid-for magazine could only have dreamed of,” said Paul Cheal, Time Inc UK Group Managing Director for Music. “At the same time, we have also faced increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market. Unfortunately we have now reached a point where the free weekly magazine is no longer financially viable.

“It is in the digital space where effort and investment will focus to secure a strong future for this famous brand.”

Time Inc has said that it will continue to publish special one-off print versions of the magazine and will continue to explore ‘other opportunities to bring its best class music journalism to market in print’.

Print Marketing

GUEST BLOG: Why should start-ups take advantage of print marketing?

By Where The Trade Buys

Despite the rumours and the attitudes in the world of business, print is not dead!

Whilst many companies are making a transition towards a more digitally focused marketing strategy, they could be missing out on the benefits that still exist for the traditional method of print marketing, as they get carried away with the digital craze.

Because digital platforms have so many active users, companies believe their business has the best chance of getting their message across to their audience on social and digital platforms – however, 80% of online users do not click on any online banner adverts, meaning just 20% do!

Is it worth paying the competitive price for the digital space for just 20% – to which not all of those users will convert into sales? If you also consider that magazines are still very much a part of our lives, with 63% of UK adults still reading magazines, according to YouGov – whereas only one in ten UK adults regularly read online magazines – maybe digital isn’t so perfect after all.

Print marketing, however, is tried and tested, and it works – it still exists for a reason, and that is because it is successful, when done properly. 34% of all printing is for advertising and marketing products, such as event programmes, tickets etc, and 30% is attributed to newspapers, magazine and brochures etc. The print industry is heavily reliant on marketing and advertising.

So why, and how, can entrepreneurs utilise print marketing, as opposed to digital marketing, to take their start-ups down the road of success – without breaking the bank?

Direct mail is sometimes referred to as ‘junk mail’, however, figures suggest that the term junk mail couldn’t be further from reality. In 2015, more than 2.5 billion direct mail coupons were redeemed and 54% of consumers that were surveyed revealed that they want to receive direct mail from brands that they are interested in. With 80-90% of direct mail getting opened, and just 20-30% of emails getting opened, there is a clear winner for start-up companies looking to get their message across to potential new consumers.

A big concern for many entrepreneurs is their marketing budget – but for those start-ups which don’t have money to burn when it comes to their marketing campaigns, it doesn’t mean your campaign won’t succeed. There are several print marketing techniques that can make your campaign a success whilst on a budget.

According to findings from StartUp Britain (a national campaign supported by the government), there are around 80 new businesses launching in the UK every hour, so it’s clear that entrepreneurial competition is fierce. Direct mail and brochures are a good place to start – neither need to break the bank either, but it is a big business. In 2009, direct mail accounted for 10.7% of the UK’s whole advertising expenditure.

Creating a brochure or leaflet on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. Simplicity works. Your main priority when designing your brochure is to ensure your branding is clear, your message stands out and your style is eye catching. Remember you are on a budget so you don’t have pages and pages to play with; stick to 8-12 pages. You want to encourage consumers to act after all, not take up an hour of their time reading your brochure. There are several must-haves, which even when designing on a budget, you must consider:

  • Attention grabbing headline.
  • Unique selling point(s).
  • Call to action.
  • Clear design.
  • Concise content – keep this limited to ‘need-to-know’ information as you don’t want to throw too much information at consumers, and this will also save you money in printing costs.
  • Keep everything accurate – don’t allow mistakes to slip through the net.

When your brochure or leaflet is ready for print, where budget is concerned, it is important to print the right amount of copies. Whilst the more copies you order, the less you pay per copy, ordering 500 brochures if you are only going to use 250 is simply a waste. Your spent money is likely to sit on a coffee table or in a cupboard gathering dust on unused brochures too. Therefore, make sure you utilise your budget wisely.

Overall, print marketing, although a traditional marketing method, is tried, tested and trusted. If the figures aren’t enough to convince you, then the affordability of it could sway you. Whilst digital platforms are useful to have to engage with customers on a familiar and mobile platform, print marketing has been proven to drive results. For start-ups, print marketing is definitely something that should be addressed.

www.wherethetradebuys.co.uk

Sources

https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/01/direct-mail-marketing-statistics.html

http://www.britishprint.com/downloads/documents/HE6LE8HOCC_UK_PRINTING_Facts_and_Figures_webflyer.pdf

GUEST BLOG: What’s new in print and digital? Here’s your opportunity to find out…

By Chris Cannon, Portfolio Manager, Forum Events…

Print is dead! Long live print! Here at Forum Events, we have a long history of working within the print sector, having hosted our Print Services Summit for 10 years.

In that decade, much has changed, of course – and nothing more so than the rapid rise in digital print products and services, juxtaposed with the consolidation of the traditional print sector.

But print ISN’T dead. We still love the smell of a magazine hot off the press, freemium newspapers such as the Metro are holding steady and book sales are showing growth.

However, the savvy print businesses have adapted to provide new products and services that suit the brave new (or not so new) world of digital – and we have too.

The Print & Digital Innovations Summit is the result. Like its previous form, it’s a one-day event aimed at print and marketing professionals who are looking for new product, technology and solutions providers.

Simply put, we match buyers’ requirements with the suppliers who attend the event for a series of one-to-one meetings throughout the day.

In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to attend seminars sessions hosted by industry thought-leaders.

And we’ll even throw in lunch and refreshments, too.

Print and marketing professionals are invited to attend for free.

Simply contact Paige Aitken via p.aitken@forumevents.co.uk to find out more.

Or, if you’re a supplier to the sector, please contact Sam Walker via s.walker@forumevents.co.uk.