We’ve seen icons fade. And others thrive.
Pitney Bowes helped invent the mailing category, but unlike the Kodak and Xeroxes of the world, they’re fighting the tide by evolving. For Pitney Bowes, the pivot is to the adjacent space of shipping and ecommerce, and the marketing organization is helping drive that change.
I spoke to Bill Borrelle, CMO of Pitney Bowes, about what it takes and his own path. Like me, Borrelle comes from the agency world and a mix of brand shops (McGarryBowen), digital (Digitas) and performance marketing (Wunderman). We agreed this mix is an asset. This diversity and well-roundedness provides the agility to undertake a large scale brand transformation, and at the same time, modernize the company’s digital ecosystem and customer experience.
Transformation at its best is driven by a clear agenda, even if the most visible components are a series of related yet separate actions. For Pitney Bowes, Borrelle described a strategic methodology of sticking to a vision, set by CEO Marc Lautenbach, with a view for long-term value not just short-term results.
- Redefine the conversation. Borrelle has updated the classic marketing 4P’s (product, promotion, price, place) with new set of 4Ps—people, precision, pace and profit. The idea is to modernize the marketing function to drive outcomes and be more focused on technology, data, and the digital ecosystem. And he believes this focus is not only across his organization, but also across most businesses operating today.
- Expand the conversation. To do “Capital M” marketing and be a “Capital M” CMO, you need to contribute far beyond what marketing used to do. This might mean partnering with the CIO on data strategy or customer data security, drive usage of real-time dashboards for real-time tracking, or building out the digital client relationship journey on pb.com.
Some early wins: the value of momentum
- Unleash the power of data. Having a common big data platform used by marketing and the entire company enables relevant, personalized experiences at scale. Cloud enablement fuels marketing automation and improved campaign performance with data-triggered communications.
- One common design system. The creation of one design system for all Pitney Bowes product experiences unifies software and hardware products to the brand with modern, simple, clean design interactions and patterns.
- People: There’s a clear talent challenge. “Ironically, digital transformations are powered by people, and we didn’t have a complete team with the skills, data proficiency, ability to work agile, or market SaaS products.” Borrelle built a team that is 50% new to the company since 5 years ago, creating marketing analytics, user experience and customer experience— all new teams. His advice: If you’re looking for people to support a digital transformation, it’s not just skills but mindset — a mindset that is intellectually curious, questions the status quo, creative with budgets (get more done with less), and can adapt to constant change.
- Technology: In addition to large, enterprise-wide technologies, there are smaller MarTech offerings that enable research, customer monitoring or discrete activities like webinars. “Some [technologies] get old very quickly” Borrelle’s advice: Look at what technology has done for you lately. “We have quarterly stack reviews. We compare what we have used them before and what’s new.”
- Customers: One group that he hasn’t spent enough time on was unique for me to hear about: the later adopters, the digital laggards. While Pitney Bowes has built more and more client experiences online and get behavior shifts, there are still those laggards. “It’s my job to understand why each client is not interacting with us online. There are some behavioral barriers to overcome. They might be happier.”
What’s ahead for Pitney Bowes
- Figuring out which marketing levers to pull that deliver the most value (e.g., What they are getting from every dollar in a campaign — cracking MROI and attribution).
- Client experience will continue to be the driver – what can they do for companies that mail and ship to take out the complexity.
- Additionally, Borrelle wants the marketing organization to be at the very edge of that thinking – defining the role marketing plays. He says they will do a fourth quarter survey to get our hands on the mindset of e-commerce buyer on fast and free.