#HID2015 is a Wrap! So What’s Next?

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To say that Hunkeler innovationdays 2015 was a success for Ricoh would be a big understatement. As we continue to take our message of the power digital print technologies brings to print service providers who are seeking new ways to communicate with their clients around the world, this latest event in picturesque Lucerne was a high point for us.

Always known to be a show that “gets right down to business,” HID 2015 did not disappoint.  With its no frills approach, HID 2015 brings together serious print buyers who want to roll up their sleeves and really get into the ins and outs of the technology and solutions.  This show is exciting and helps the adrenaline to start pumping.  This year was a non-stop rush from beginning to end – and we enjoyed every second of it.

The buzz around Ricoh and on our booth was unavoidable.  It was as if you could feel the energy under your skin – and it wasn’t just the speed of our machines! With the recent launches of our Ricoh Pro VC60000 and the Ricoh Pro C9100 series, and also the Ricoh Pro C7100X (which wasn’t even on the floor, yet still caused a stir!),  the Ricoh booth was clearly a must-see for attendees.  This year we talked with commercial printers looking to take their first step into digital, publishers who sought proven inkjet colour and monochrome offerings, service bureaux in need of better batching solutions, and so much more.  It was non-stop, but it was a great experience.

Not only were our technology demonstrations a hit, but one could argue the range and quality of our samples made its way around the floor even faster.

In fact many people – including some members of the press – commented that Ricoh has set a new bar for quality in colour inkjet.

Visitors to the stand could not only see the technology, but there were also plentiful samples from the Ricoh portfolio. This included samples from the Ricoh Pro VC60000 printed on offset-coated stock, the market-leading InfoPrint 5000, the Ricoh Pro C9100 series and the Ricoh Pro C7100X.  From trade books and marketing collateral to coffee table books, there was something for everyone to touch, feel and take home.

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA

If you were unable to join us in Lucerne, or even if your schedule did not allow the time to explore in depth how Ricoh might support your businesses evolution, you might consider visiting our new European centre of excellence, the Customer Experience Centre, in Telford, UK.

If you missed what we had to share at HID 2015, visit this blog to hear more about our technologies and applications.  You can also visit us on Facebook to see pictures from the show or follow our @RicohEUBDriver Twitter feed for flashbacks.

Danke, Switzerland.  Looking forward to 2017!

A brighter future for print

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Production Printing Ricoh Europe

Erwin Busselot
Commercial Print Solutions Director Production Printing
Ricoh Europe

Today’s print communications ecosystem is complex with a number of supply lines. Each one has weaknesses and strengths, but I see three main drivers of change – all of which are moving volumes away from offset to digital printing.

The first is the economic crisis. It was bad for some operations but good for others. Commercial printers found it hard to get loans to make capital equipment investments, and marketers spent less. Meanwhile, packaging specialists thrived for the simple reason people went to restaurants less, which meant they cooked at home more.

The second is the growing adoption of production inkjet printing for a broad range of applications previously produced using offset technology, driving the adoption life cycle of inkjet.  There has been a lot of generic talk about digital printing based on toner, but that technology has never replaced offset. Although the quality was good, digital toner-based printing was never able to offer the speed or reach the price point of offset over long runs. Full colour production inkjet is a relatively new entrant to the market. Ricoh announced the IP5000 in 2007 and had a first installation in the UK.  It is non-impact printing technology, so there is no need for a blanket or photo imaging plate. Inkjet uses heat, pressure or electrical impulses to push ink directly onto the substrate. It delivers speed, increasing quality and the ability to print on many substrates, helping it become a viable alternative to offset. Now we see production inkjet printing being adopted in book, newspaper and direct mail production and, increasingly, in general commercial applications.

The third is the change in media habits. Readership is going down. Last year in the U.S., more than a quarter of adults didn’t read a book – regardless of whether it was an ebook or printed book. However, there has been increased talk about the different penetration rates of various media including tablets and e-media. Many direct mail campaigns have been using digital for some time – either in a hybrid manufacturing model or, increasingly as full colour inkjet.  Another habit affecting print media is the use of smart phones or tablets to take advantage of interactive print capabilities using technologies such as a QR codes, Clickable Paper or page recognition in books, direct mail or newspapers. The Ikea catalogue is a very good example of this.

This is how today’s market is shaping up, and there is a further development on the way that will impact operations in the longer term – functional printing. This term encompasses an array of sectors from 3D to textiles and packaging. Frank Romano stated a few years ago that, in 20 years’ time, functional print could represent 40% of a printer’s business. It offers improved efficiencies in production for products such as solar cells and touch screens, which are labour intensive to produce with current processes. Some operations are already pioneering printed electronics with this end use in mind. This approach could be expanded so a book printer could be responsible for creating single-use electronic books, printed in short runs, on demand, by high volume inkjet presses. And for those concerned that this might create more waste, the end product is much easier to recycle than traditional electronic goods.

Currently inkjet presses are frequently replacing web fed presses for limited applications such as books, newspapers and direct mail. But I expect there to be a growing volume of true commercial print applications produced with production inkjet printing, such as catalogues, brochures, fliers, etc., as many of the big players look over the shoulders of pioneers. And those that doubted that inkjet could conquer the true playing field of commercial print can turn their attention to installations in operations such as Zalsman, in the Netherlands who have invested in a Ricoh ProTM VC60000.  Zalsman is a successful mid-sized commercial printer that believes production inkjet will help it continue to grow and thrive – for me that is proof that this is going to happen throughout the industry. Inkjet is not going to stay in its corner, and Zalsman is proof of that.

Some people have the view that the graphic arts sector is not an interesting business any more. I disagree with that and can see the transformation that is happening. Steve Jobs said it all comes down to innovation, and innovation is the difference between leaders and followers. There is a great deal of innovation happening in our industry, especially as it relates to production inkjet, and that makes it an exciting business.

I see two ways in which production inkjet is bringing innovation to the graphic arts industry – as a communications technology and as a functional printing technology. If you stick your head in the sand, these opportunities will pass you by; but if you go after them, there are tremendous opportunities for growth. I will be discussing all of this and more during the EBDA Seminar at Hunkleler Innovationdays, 26 February 2015, in Lucerne, Switzerland. Drop by and hear more about how Ricoh can help you investigate the best way to secure a brighter future.

Book printing – an industry in transformation

Book printing dates back to the invention of movable type in the fourteenth century. It has undergone surprisingly few process changes in the intervening centuries—rotary letter presses in the industrial revolution, lithography, and more recently, digital printing. Profound changes in the publishing industry, however, are shaking up the book supply chain as never before and remaking how, when, and where books are
printed.

Online and mobile technology has disrupted the conventional book publishing industry in relatively short order. It has touched virtually every aspect of the industry: how books are published, how they are distributed, how (and if) they are printed, and how they are read. In the process, traditional roles and responsibilities have been rearranged.

Ricoh’s new whitepaper Book Printing – the Remaking of an Industry created by Interquest examines the impact of these transformations on the book printing supply chain, and explores how and why digital book printing is being used in North America and Europe to adapt to the fastchanging environment.

Some of the key findings are:

  • In North America twice as many books are printed digitally as in Western Europe – 10% vs 5%
  • More than half (56%) of the North American book printers recently surveyed by INTERQUEST use high-speed inkjet presses to produce books
Western Europe

In Western Europe, where only 5% of books are printed digitally, the focus is dealing with shorter print runs

Download the whitepaper here.

 

Understanding the value and effectiveness of multichannel advertising

Direct mail and catalogues suffered through a perfect storm during and immediately after the recession of 2009. The sharp downturn in the global economy shrank marketing budgets as consumers closed their wallets and businesses struggled to stay afloat. At the same time maturing online and mobile channels began attracting a growing portion of advertising revenue by offering more economical alternatives to print-based marketing. To some observers, print-based direct marketing was in crisis and headed towards irrelevancy.

Despite the rapid growth of electronic forms of advertising, print media accounts for about two-thirds of direct marketing expenditures in the U.S.

Despite the rapid growth of electronic forms of advertising,
print media accounts for about two-thirds of direct
marketing expenditures in the U.S.

Since then the dust of the recession has largely settled and world economies are slowly recovering. Marketers are beginning to understand the value and effectiveness of multichannel advertising, and direct mail and catalogue volume has stablised and grown.

For marketers as well as consumers, print-based direct marketing will remain a trusted and valuable complement to online and mobile channels.

By most reckoning, however, it will never be “business as usual.” Volumes will likely never return to pre-recession levels. While marketers and consumers alike continue to
value direct mail and catalogues, they are increasingly looking for more relevance and personalised content. This report will explore recent trends, challenges, and developments with direct mail and catalogues in North America and Europe. It will also examine how developments in digital printing technology are enabling print providers to transform print-based direct marketing into a vibrant and viable medium for the future. For marketers as well as consumers, print-based direct marketing will remain a trusted and valuable complement to online and mobile channels.

Find out more – download our new whitepaper:  Direct Mail & Catalogues: The Transformation of Print-Based Direct Marketing

How print is evolving to meet the new needs of the connected world

With more than one-third of the world’s population now online (Pew Research Center), it is little wonder that the role of printed communications is changing. The challenge is that the time spent with various media is rapidly shifting from traditional channels such as radio, TV, and print to internet and mobile channels. This means the role of printed communications must be readjusted and redefined in the broad spectrum of all media.

Time spent on each Media vs Advertising Spend

Time spent on each Media vs Advertising Spend

Not surprisingly advertising dollars are now moving to online and mobile markets. According to PWC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2013, internet advertising grew by about 16%, and mobile advertising by 47% in 2013.

This has major implications for key areas of printed communications of interest to Print Service Providers.

Direct mail and direct marketing catalogue volume has suffered at the hands of the recent recession and the rise of electronic media. Although both remain key marketing channels for businesses, they are increasingly being orchestrated alongside digital forms of communications.

Transactional printing – unlike direct mail and catalogues, which are business-driven marketing expenditures, transactional printing is increasingly consumer-driven since recipients dictate their preferred delivery methods

Books – Electronic media has profoundly disrupted the book publishing industry by fundamentally altering the dynamics of how books are sold and consumed. Book publishers and book printers are adjusting to the fast moving realities of the market and tapping new business models enabled by publishing in a multichannel world.

Newspapers and magazines have been impacted by online advertising, rising postal costs, and competition from electronic media. Newspapers and magazines remain widely read and trusted, however, and publishers are finding new and innovative ways to combine print with electronic channels.

Our new white paper, Multichannel Communications The Evolution of Printing in a Connected World,  examines how advertisers and publishers are adapting printed products to multichannel realities in a number of key markets: direct mail and direct marketing catalogues; transactional printing; books; and newspapers and magazines.

Download the white paper here

Transforming transactions to engage customers

Letters, bills and statements are the largest part of the customer communications iceberg.

They are central to the customer experience. Yet the chance to say something powerful usually remains beneath the waves. That makes transactional printing a massive, largely
hidden marketing opportunity.

It has the potential to transform itself from transactional documentation to become a central force in customer communications – and a fundamental part of the marketing mix.

Inforgraphic - Transforming transactions to engage customers

Inforgraphic – Transforming transactions to engage customers

Download in PDF format: RICOH Infographic_transactional_FINAL

Never underestimate the power of Direct Mail

 

Direct mail is proving an incredibly resilient medium. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. In our information overload world, where 2,5 exabytes of data are generated each day, the noise can be deafening. Both the volume of advertising messages that consumers are subject to and the multitude of advertising channels available to brands continue to expand. In this frantic climate, it is no surprise that humble direct mail, a letter or brochure posted in an envelope, was predicted to fade away. Trampled upon by the convenience, cheapness and immediacy of the email and its attendant digital touch points.

Zig, don’t zag

Ricoh Infographic -the power of Direct Mail

Infographic -The power of Direct Mail

But wait, it hasn’t happened. Direct mail offers a number of attributes that alternative channels just cannot beat as Ricoh’s new infographic illustrates. Trust, shelf life and the scope for creativity are all vital elements in direct mail’s staying power. There is another important factor though. It is that the agency community, which thrives on freshness, and challenging accepted thinking, is turning back to direct mail as the centrepiece for integrated campaigns. Nicky Bullard, Executive Creative Director at direct marketing agency Lida says in Print Power magazine: “Clients are starting to get an appetite back for direct mail, particularly with younger audiences. Their lives have been so digital that direct mail is hugely disruptive for them.” Rory Sutherland, executive creative director and vice chairman of OgilvyOne London and vice-chairman of Ogilvy & Mather UK recently said in Britain’s Cross Media Magazine, “when everyone zigs, zag”.

The future is bright

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Direct mail volumes are holding up well across much of Europe, the use of colour is on the up, and smart print services providers are working with agencies to extract insights from data to fuel powerful campaigns across sector after sector. Particularly on behalf of premium products and services where a compelling Return on Marketing Investment can be most readily secured. Further, direct mail is bridging the offline-online gap – interactive print technologies like Ricoh’s Clickable Paper(TM) can move consumers seamlessly from print to digital to find out more or purchase an item.

The message is clear: never underestimate the power of direct mail

 

 

 

For more insights into Direct Mail see: http://www.ricoh-europe.com/services-solutions/production-printing/print-and-beyond/marketing-services/index.aspx