Pitney Bowes Wants to Tap $250B 'Mailstream' Marketplace

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Pitney Bowes Inc. launched a new strategic business plan yesterday designed to tap into a $250 billion market opportunity within a $900 billion global category called the mailstream. The company marked the event by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday.

Pitney Bowes' chairman/CEO Michael J. Critelli said the concept of the mailstream will be the company's organizing principle with customers, shareholders and employees. The mailstream is the sum of all mail and documents, both physical and electronic, flowing in and out of a business, as well as the people and systems that enable it. Mailstream content includes direct marketing collateral, bills and monthly statements, catalogs, parcels, letters, invoices, magazines, DVD rentals and anything sold and purchased through eBay.

Pitney Bowes begins the direct mail part of the campaign next month targeting its existing high-end customer base. Roughly 25,000 pieces will be mailed to medium and large enterprise decision makers. OgilvyOne Worldwide created the effort in conjunction with Pitney Bowes.

Television, outdoor and online advertising have already begun. Print ads targeting business and government executives are running in BusinessWeek, Time, Harvard Business Review, Fortune and Government Executive.

A key component of the company's strategy is to strengthen communications effectiveness between business and customers, according to Critelli.

Despite three straight years of growth in direct mail spending, recent indicators suggest that customer responses are down, the company said. A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Pitney Bowes highlights areas where businesses can improve customer communications through the mailstream.

The findings, which were released yesterday, include:

* 49 percent of U.S. adults surveyed said they would be less likely to become or remain a solicitor's customer because of poorly targeted communications, such as addressing mistakes or inappropriate offers.

* 92 percent have received multiple copies of the same piece of mail.

* 91 percent have received offers or solicitations for a service or product they already subscribe to.

* 74 percent have received inappropriate offers or solicitations from businesses in the mail, such as credit card offers for children.

Pitney Bowes said the results suggest a number of ways businesses can use the mail to ensure that business solicitations are more effective, including:

* 73 percent are much more or somewhat more likely to respond to timely solicitations.

* 76 percent are much more or somewhat more likely to respond to solicitations relevant to their interests.

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey Nov. 10-14 with a nationwide sampling of 2,403 U.S. adults ages 18 and over, of whom 2,369 have encountered problems with business communications.

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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