"Our challenge is to show our customers, both existing and prospective, that our business offerings have gone through a tremendous transformation," DeWalt said. "We're now a mail stream, document management and outsourcing company with a technology and solutions orientation. And we've had to shift our marketing to show them how what we do affects a company's bottom line."
Last May, Pitney Bowes Management Services launched a campaign, "The Health of Your Business," that targeted a few select vertical markets, including financial services.
"Financial services decision-makers have a lot on their plates right now, especially with all the regulatory requirements and risk management processes that Sarbanes-Oxley and the Patriot Act put on their businesses," DeWalt said.
The campaign's goal was to become relevant to the C-suite, to illustrate that Pitney Bowes sold enterprise-level—not just mailroom— solutions, she said. The fully integrated campaign mixed broad mass media efforts with targeted direct mail pieces, custom regional events and prospecting.
To break through the clutter of marketing that inundates financial services decision-makers, Pitney Bowes broke free of traditional button-down, businesslike b-to-b messaging. "The piece centered on a high-tech travel mug, believe it or not," DeWalt said. "But the effect was to show senior management how Pitney Bowes could impact their bottom lines."
Existing customers and prospects received a box emblazoned with the message "There are 100,000 cups of coffee in this box." Inside each box was a travel mug, as well as a trifold postcard that continued the message: "With the money you could be saving on postage and carriers, you can buy 100,000 lattes every month. That translates to a potential savings of over $6 million a year." Also inside was a Starbucks gift card for a free latte. There was also a call to action included, demonstrating the amount of money companies could save using Pitney Bowes at www.health ofyourbusiness.com/savings, where users also could input a special code to get yet another latte.
"This business-to-consumer tactic worked better than we expected and generated a 6.50% response rate," DeWalt said. "We effectively paired a logical with emotional appeal."
Trade shows also played an important role in the campaign. "Pitney Bowes made its presence known at several major financial events, including the American Bankers Association annual conference," she said.
But the strategy that proved even more effective at targeting customer needs was the regional events, where the company brought several of its existing customers together discuss important topics affecting their businesses.
"We held one on security, and five of the seven participants decided to form a shared hub facility for mail, print and document management—with our help, of course," DeWalt said. "It was a rare chance to listen to our customers speak together so we could really understand what their needs are and be able to fulfill them."
The multipart campaign is still ongoing, with vertical market teleprospecting and webcasts just being rolled out. Already, Pitney Bowes has seen dramatic results. "For one, we've significantly shortened our sales cycles," DeWalt said. "Also, we're getting our existing customers to adopt new products and services. And we've seen a major increase in awareness, relevancy and interest among both existing and prospective customers."
Perhaps above all, DeWalt has relished turning customers' exclamations of "I didn't know you did that" into "Sign me up."