Notes From My Meeting With Pitney Bowes CEO Marc Lautenbach

Back in July 2012, I authored a post about Pitney Bowes and the company’s focus on reinventing itself. At that time, the company had a great portfolio of software assets and a good overall market message — but its market approach was fragmented, its solutions were not integrated, and it was a difficult company to figure out from the perspective of a customer or prospect. About 15 months ago, Pitney Bowes appointed Marc Lautenbach as its new CEO to address these issues.

Fast forward to today. Last week I had the opportunity to spend some time with Marc while he was in Sydney. In his brief time with the company, he has sorted out a number of the challenges I was referring to — including giving the firm a laser-sharp focus on a few key areas, bringing traditional assets into the digital world, refining its sales model, and leveraging those areas in which it has competitive advantage.

Marc sees PB’s main opportunities in the following areas:

  • eCommerce. PB has the ability to classify assets for all types of commerce providers and ship them anywhere around the globe.
  • Location-based solutions. Not only does PB have great mapping information, but it can also integrate data from any domain and apply its own algorithms to make that data valuable.
  • Printers, sorters, meters, and inserters. This isn’t a fast-growing business, but it’s a big one — and one that’s still important to many companies. It’s also a segment in which PB has some unique capabilities.
  • Data quality and cleansing. PB can use its best-in-class capabilities to cleanse data and improve its quality. (Incidentally, this may be useful for Australian companies and government departments facing the new Australian Privacy Principles, which go into force on March 12, 2014).
  • Digital mailboxes. Secure digital mailboxes from PB can help move traditional customer communications into the digital world.
  • Analytics. PB can help its marketing customers understand the next best action to undertake with customers or prospects.

While these may not be as sexy as the idea of owning customer communications management, they are real and quantifiable opportunities and fill needs that customers have today. I understand that the company will be relaunching and repositioning the brand at some point this year; this should bring a better focus to the business and a better understanding of how PB could help you.

I consider Pitney Bowes to be one of the biggest software companies that no one has ever heard of. Its challenge is to change this perception and to do so quickly — going after the marketing technology dollar means that the firm is operating in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

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