Sunday, January 10, 2010

Enuff already with "Print is Dead" and "XYZ" is the next big thing. Just follow the money.

I have a feeling that 2010 will finally be the time to retire a couple of buzzwords that obscure what's going on. My first nomination is "Print is Dead." My second is "Market Service Provider".

As I've said since January 2009, when I first started blogging, Printers print. To survive and thrive it means printing better, faster and cheaper than the other guy. And it means inventing new uses for Print, not trying to make believe we're something we're not.

Rather than a long blah blah, I thought it might be useful to share some numbers.

Consolidated Graphics (CGX) is up 92.47% since 8/20 and McClatchey (MNI) is up 773.28% since 4/15 . Check out some of the other stocks in my IRA printernet portfolio to see what I'm seeing.


  1. Speaking of revenue, this video made me smile.

  2. We will also see a move towards clients moving data intelligence (cleansing, processing and document management) in-house, removing these from the PSP's. The printer then becomes a 'printer'; judged by the quality of their print! Long live the printer!

  3. Martin and Semperlic thanks for stopping by...Thanks for the video. I like the point it makes about print being boring.

    A while ago President Obama gave a speech at Home Depot talking about weather proofing. In it he said "Caulking is sexy." Given Buffet's recent investment in railroads, my sense of the new normal is that "infrastructure is sexy" Print is the original and most efficient and ubiquitous information infrastructure.

    You make a very nice point. I've always felt that the real resistance to getting to scale on transpromo was the sloppiness of most client's databases. While no CMO wants to admit it, the dirty little secret is that most brands have awful messy databases that do not allow them to take advantage of the new capabilities of print.

    Hopefully the trend towards clients moving data intelligence in house means that there will actually be a critical mass of companies with data intelligence.

    My bet is that as they get their houses in order they will enter the market for what printers know how to do.

    The way I see the value a professional printer always delivered was "risk of failure" insurance. In a network economy, minimizing the risk of delivery failure in a finely timed and far reaching campaign will continue to separate the winners from the losers.

    The implication is that insurance is worth money, but the marginal cost of insurance is small. It critically depends on the maturity and culture of the printing company.

    High value delivered at low marginal cost is a good path to sustainable profits.

  4. Excellent points, well made.

    Check out's business model - it epitomises 'high value, low marginal cost' and in terms of delivery, across 300+ outlets in the UK, on-time or before delivery is at 99.8% ... pretty much unheard of in the on-demand print sector.

    If you want to see a company that has re-invented print, has opened up the market to the end-user, making it easy and efficient to order high-end print on a range of marketing-focused printed products.

    "Print is dead"? Not from where I'm standing. It just needed a little spring clean and a swift kick up the... :)

  5. Sarah, got on my radar a while ago. I've been tweeting atand about them a for a bit. It's great to find out that first impressions turned out to be correct.

    The offering seems just right to me, I think I read they give commsissions for the life of the cookie. So smart! I think that eliminates the biggest problem of "affiliate marketing" in the Print industry.

    The combination of physcial stores a industrial strength printing hub and an open affiliate program sounds unbeatable to me.

    I'm hoping I don't miss the IPO if and when it happens.