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Embracing Technology: Graph Expo 2011

Chicago event, September 11-14, prepares to help print providers adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace.



Branded as a one-stop shop for all things print, Graph Expo will hit the Windy City this year September 11-14 at McCormick Place. The 2011 event is slated to beat out its already impressive 2010 numbers, the show’s organizers report, with an expected attendance of 20,000 plus and more than 400 exhibiting companies on the 300,000 square foot show floor.

Its theme this year, “Embrace Technology,” reflects a focus on utilizing ever-changing technological advances in the industry to thrive in your own print business. “In our opinion, print is alive but needs to learn to move beyond defending this media and find more effective ways that print and other media can work in unison to provide better results,” says Chris Price, executive vice president of the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC), which produces the event.

“The global marketplace is changing as is the print media and technology is making it so that they can and must adapt. ‘Embracing Technology’ is an appropriate theme because the key objective of this year’s Graph Expo is to show ways print can integrate with other media,” Price continues. “Also, all of our segments are using technology to be more efficient, improve quality, reduce waste, sell new services, and expand their sales to new markets. This year, show attendees will discover just how to adapt to this quickly changing marketplace.”

The event will feature not only a section dedicated to wide format, but other segments including: digital print imaging/quick printing; package printing; commercial print; book printing and publishing; transactional print; in-plant print; mailing and fulfillment; marketing and advertising; print and media buyers; and newspaper printing.

All things marketing
Graph Expo will also debut its latest special-interest pavilion dedicated exclusively to those graphic-communications professionals looking to expand their services to include marketing. The marketing pavilion is sponsored by Chicago American Marketing Association and attractions will include the latest innovations in: digital marketing services, social-media and social-content generation tools, lead generation and management services, search engine optimization (SEO) software, e-mail marketing, mobile and Internet services, and more.

“Today’s graphic communications professionals are moving away from being exclusively print providers and transitioning into the world of marketing services,” explains GASC president Ralph Nappi, “Given the expanded focus of these attendees and to provide offerings for experienced marketers at the show as well, we determined the best way to meet the increasing need for marketing products, information, and knowledge was to provide a concentrated area right on the show floor where the emphasis is on all things marketing.”


The pavilion will also offer a Marketing Theater, a learning center providing a series of educational presentations and workshops to accommodate all levels of expertise on the “how to’s” of marketing led by the Chicago AMA. And a Marketer’s Networking Lounge will serve as a casual networking environment for print providers to network, exchange ideas with, and learn from likeminded professionals.

Learning curve
Experiencing Graph Expo isn’t only about finding the latest cutting-edge technologies, but also networking with and learning from fellow industry leaders. The show features more than 50 educational seminars covering the industry’s most prominent issues. The sessions will cover 11 market segments within graphic communication and provide the latest forecasts, trends, and in-depth information on pivotal technologies and successful business strategies. Educational sessions include the following topics: color management, design/creative, digital media, digital presses, entrepreneurship, graphic applications, interactive media, lean management and manufacturing, mailing and fulfillment, joint ventures/mergers/acquisitions, non-print digital media, packaging, printable electronics, production, proofing, and much more.

In addition, on the eve of Graph Expo, the Executive Outlook event will take place. The annual pre-show technology and trends conference is themed “Embracing Technology and Market Trends for Profitability,” and will provide tips for utilizing technology as a competitive advantage in today’s recovering economy. The event will take place Saturday, September 10 from noon to 6 p.m. Executive Outlook will conclude with a presentation of the “Must See ‘Ems” nominees – exhibits and products chosen by a panel of 19 industry experts as the most compelling of the show. “Must See ‘Ems” is conducted independently by the PrintCom Consulting Group of Charlotte, North Carolina. “Positively Print” awardees are also announced– campaigns that creatively and effectively promote the enduring power of print in today’s media. At the conclusion of the Executive Outlook event, EFI will sponsor a post-conference networking reception.

Educational Sampler
Here are just a few of the educational seminars being offered at Graph Expo 2011:
• Optimizing Color Quality on Wide-Format Devices
• New Business Opportunities for Printers
• Technology Revolution: The Quickening Pace of Change
• Digital Printing and Packaging
• The State of Our Industry 2011
• Digital Presses “Can-Do, How-To”: Matching Conventional Work
• Everything You Need to Know About Lean in 90 Minutes
• Improving Productivity on a Shoestring Budget
• QR Codes and Augmented Reality: How to Drive Print-to-Web
• What Went Wrong? Analyzing the Culprit: Real-World Print Case Studies Revealed
• Digital Presses: A Pre-Purchase Primer
• Color Managing a Digital Press: Experience From the Field
• Change Management: Growing Printers in 2011– Methodology for Success
• The Future of Printing Profits
• The New A-B-Cs of Print Production Profitability
• UV Curing Exposed: Markets, Implementation & Technical Pitfalls
• Elimination of Lamination: Digital Synthetics and the Economic Impact in the Print Room

Co-located events
This year, 32 user-group meetings and small conferences will run in conjunction to the Graph Expo, an increase of 80 percent in co-located events since 2009. The simultaneous events are intended to maximize attendee’s time and travel and include events like: DScoop HP Users Conference; EFI Fiery User Group; Xerox Premier Partners; GUA-Kodak Graphics User Association; and others.

Among the co-located events is the G7 Summit, an IDEAlliance conference. Presented right from the Graph Expo show floor, the summit will offer an industry-leading set of best practices for achieving gray balance and visual similarity across all print processes. The G7 Summit will focus on the entire workflow and cover all facets of print production, from content creation to final output. Topics discussed will include the cost and ROI of G7 implementation and a case-study round table among others.


The Xplor Conference will also occur at McCormick Place simultaneously. The two-day, 18-session educational event being held September 12-13, will offer print-related sessions including: The Ugly Truth about QR Codes; Knowledge Management in Print – Expanding the Value Chain; Increasing Customer Loyalty; and more.

Join the Conversation
Graph Expo isn’t only encouraging the attendees to embrace technology; the show itself is working to utilize the latest trends as well. For example, more than 400 exhibitors, co-located event presenters, and seminar presenters will be provided QR codes, so attendees are able to access their website simply by photographing the QR codes on their mobile phones. “Graph Expo is a fully integrated-cross media campaign using direct mail, online, e-mail, QR codes, pURLS, telemarketing, social media, and beyond,” says Price. “We have even proactively created social media 101 primers for our exhibitors to show them how to join and use social media.”

Looking to keep up with the latest happenings regarding Graph Expo and its exhibitors? Have something to say about seminar topics or debuting products? These social media sites offer an opportunity to not only participate in industry conversations, but also to feel apart of the Expo whether you can make it to the show floor or not. Here is a list of Graph Expo’s social-media presence – simply search the following key terms on the respective sites:

Twitter: @Graph_Expo and #graphexpo
Facebook: Graph Expo
Youtube: Graphic Arts Show Co
Linkedin: Graph Expo & Print, GASC Shows

Graph Expo




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