Pitney Bowes Reinvents To Become A Company For Today And Tomorrow

I recently spent a few days in Connecticut, USA, with Pitney Bowes. So why, you ask, is a CIO advisor who spends most of his time talking about the future of business technology in Asia Pacific spending time with a company that makes machines that stamp mail? That is a good question, and one I hope to answer while at the same time showing where I believe Pitney Bowes can help in your organisation.

So Pitney Bowes stamps mail. Yes — but they see it differently. They see that they enable communications with customers. Interesting. But mail is declining — right? Yes, it is, and Pitney Bowes has made many acquisitions to position itself as the leader in the digital mail space. And they have gone from just providing the communications capability to working across the entire customer lifecycle. Acquisitions of Portrait Software, MapInfo, Group 1 Software and many of the other firms they have acquired in the last 10 years have given them the ability to do:

-       Customer profiling and segmentation
-       Data preparation and composition
-       Multi-channel customer output
-       Customer response management
-       Response analysis

In effect, Pitney Bowes’ legacy has become a key asset — and has also given them a perspective that I do not believe any other player in the market can bring. Other big CRM and marketing automation vendors have traditionally been about back-end processes — automating otherwise manual processes, linking customer systems to supplier systems, etc. Some are moving into managing customer interactions or the “customer experience” — but none (as far as I am aware anyway!) have such a strong focus around managing customer communications and can go so deep into the communications supply chain.

In Asia Pacific, Pitney Bowes has a presence — but it is not a huge player — and it is generally not thought of as a software provider (outside of the MapInfo space — although the recent win with Australia Post for the Volly digital mail platform may change that). Their message for their customers and prospects is good — but needs to be spread further. Their messaging for CIOs and the IT shop is weak. They have some great software assets — that are more integrated now than they ever have been — but I feel they still don’t have the messaging to grab your attention. Yes, the CMO might be interested — but they need to bring you and your team along for the ride too, so they have some work to do.

So what do you think about Pitney Bowes — are you working with them outside of the traditional mail space? Are they making a pitch for any of your business? Any large firm that is B2C should give them the time of day — their pitch is unique and might be a good fit for your business.

Comments

PB is in the process of re-making

Thanks for the great post, Tim. As you rightly said, PB has a very strong SW portfolio - thanks to no. of great acquisitions they have done. Among all, the most interesting is Portrait that gives them a strong hold on predictive analytics which is gaining attention from BT CIOs. The key for PB is positioning and messaging now.

One to watch

Tim, thanks for the post. I had the opportunity to work with the PB folks recently. I was highly surprised by their extensive software offering and great products to enhance customer communications. They indeed have an extremely strong portfolio in this area. As a matter a fact, they are even stretching the communications to anonymous online visitors to support and optimize the communication process from the very first contact moment. This is a well known blind spot for marketers in the overall communication supply chain and it proves that PB thinks and delivers far beyond the traditional, still solid, mail stamp business.

Thanks Hans for your comment.

Thanks Hans for your comment. I actually met up with a printer/imaging vendor last week and figured that they could do with a bit of the same thinking as PB - whereas these vendors have all gone into the document management space, they never asked the question "why do people print documents" - the answer is to communicate information with customers, stakeholders, employees etc. Had these vendors rethought their strategy they might not have gone into the (relevant, but unsexy) document management space - they may have also been able to move into the customer/stakeholder communications segment like PB has.