From Mail to Marketplaces - Even 100 years later, mail still the heart of data strategy

March 21, 2018
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For decades, Pitney Bowes has been known for its expertise in the mailing business. Yes, mail. Not email or voicemail, but good old-fashioned paper mail. As innovators in 1920, the company transformed the communications industry with the first postage meter. It sold and managed systems that made corporate mailrooms more efficient and less expensive; a function especially useful for major companies that sent out hundreds of millions of bills and corporate communications – and they were exceptionally good at it.

Change was on the horizon. In addition to providing mailing equipment, services, and products for both large enterprise clients and small to mid-size companies, there was a need to diversify and seek new business opportunities. Years went by and the digital revolution became more apparent. Pitney Bowes was at the very heart of its own digital transformation and would need to evolve to meet new market requirements where data would play a major role.

Would you have imagined a decade ago that Pitney Bowes would become a company supporting the top social networks like Twitter or that it would be enabling eBay’s customers to ship the goods they buy and sell from anywhere in the world? No one knew then that Pitney Bowes would evolve into the digital, data and software organization that it is today, enabling global commerce worldwide with valuable data and location intelligence.

In 2013, a five-year, business-wide transformation project was launched. Pitney Bowes set course to become more globally-integrated , partnering with many talented technology companies. The company also began acquiring tech startups and big industry players (over 20, in fact) that it believed could help fuel its digital transformation from mail to mindshare.

At that time,  Pitney Bowes started giving a very hard and deliberate look at its data. Behind the scenes the company had been an established leader in the address verification and data quality markets, without overwhelming public acclaim. Businesses, both large and small, were seeking better ways to understand and engage with their customers. Clients and partners believed that the right data could help them do just that.

Today, Pitney Bowes has more knowledge around a physical location than practically anyone else in the world. It also has a deep understanding of address verification, validation, and standardization that is unmatached across the industry. With this knowledge, they built an address-centric data portfolio that enables clients to find, understand, and act on the relationships between people, places, and things that aren’t always obvious, but can be game-changing.

This data matters to the retail businesses tasked with determining actual trade areas, competitive analysis, and site selection. It matters to companies that want to analyze demographics to determine trends in purchasing behavior, identify look alike audiences, or create a single view of their customer. It matters to business leaders that want to augment data that they already have to create analytics with specific and actionable business outcomes.

Unfortunately, access to accurate, complete data is extremely hard to find. In fact, according to a recent Forrester study, 70 percent of leaders who purchased data are challenged with the quality and accuracy of it. They are unable to maintain the quality of the data, or detect and track changes to that data. 

Pitney Bowes is working to eliminate this challenge for business leaders in the current digital era. For a nearly century-old company, Pitney Bowes has processed hundreds of billions of addresses, precision-matched thousands of data points to each address, and ensured billions of pieces of mail get to their intended recipients every year.  All that data is now being made available to people around the world through the Software and Data Marketplace. As Pitney Bowes has advanced, data is taking a leading role in both its strategic vision and portfolio offerings. The Marketplace links Pitney Bowes right back to where it started: connecting people to their locations. 

It’s been a long road, and almost 100 years later, Pitney Bowes is still at the forefront of innovation. With an eye toward the future, it continues to focus on intelligent investment, technology, and strategic partnerships to become the go-to resource for accurate and detailed location, addressing, and enrichment data. The very best is yet to be signed, sealed and delivered.

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