Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI) announced today the launch of the pbSmart™ Small Business Communications Makeover, a national contest designed to help small businesses improve customer communications to better position themselves for growth. Five Grand Prize winners will receive a customer communications plan makeover, valued at $10,000.
“Customers are demanding more varied communications channels depending on their circumstances, but small businesses are challenged to find the additional time and resources to understand and implement a change”
The Grand Prize winners will receive a full-day consultation and planning session with renowned small business experts Jane Applegate, author of “201 Great Ideas for Your Small Business,” Melinda Emerson, known to many on Twitter as “SmallBizLady,” a seasoned entrepreneur and small business coach, and Phil Simon, a small business technology expert and author of “The New Small.” Together with a team of Pitney Bowes communication specialists, the experts will assess each grand prize winner’s existing communications profile and provide custom coaching to develop a new program better suiting their unique needs.
Winners will also receive one-year of free access to the pbSmart suite of customer communications tools, including pbSmartPostage™, cloud based postage for shipping and mailing, and pbSmart™ Connections for email marketing.
In addition, 20 First Prize winners will receive one-year free access to the pbSmart suite of products, valued at $2,500, and have their businesses featured as part of the pbSmart™ Essentials online community. The contest will enable small businesses to share their communications successes and challenges with each other.
A recent study commissioned by Pitney Bowes shows the majority of small business owners agree that given the tools, they would focus on multi-channel marketing, integrating traditional methods such as direct mail and advertising with new tools, including email, social media and mobile.
“Customers are demanding more varied communications channels depending on their circumstances, but small businesses are challenged to find the additional time and resources to understand and implement a change,” said Neil Rader, Vice President and General Manager, Small and Medium Business, Pitney Bowes. “This is a way for Pitney Bowes to help its customers become experts in sending resonating messages, paper and digital, so they can acquire, service, and retaining valuable customers.”
To enter, small business owners need to visit www.pbsmartessentials.com/makeover, click on Contest Entry Page, complete the entry form and answer a brief questionnaire to qualify. All entrants must submit a photo of themselves in their place of business and either an essay of up to 300 words or a 60-second video, in each case explaining why the business is the best candidate for the Small Business Makeover. Entries must be received by July 19, 2011.
Each submission will be judged based on the following criteria:
Entrant’s commitment to his/her own business and growth
Overall customer communications need wherein Sponsor could improve the business
Energy and enthusiasm for his/her small business as expressed in entry
Public support through online voting
The contest will include both expert panel judging and social voting components, with each counting for 50 percent of the score.
Essay and video entries will be featured on the pbSmart Essentials website May 24 - July 19 during which time individuals from the general public will be invited to vote for an entry. Scores from online voting will be based on the highest number of votes received. In addition, a panel of expert judges will review all entries. The five highest scoring businesses will be Grand Prize winners. The next top 20 scorers will be First Prize winners.
Pitney Bowes recently launched the pbSmart Essentials website to offer an online resource for small businesses that provides knowledge and tools, creating opportunities to achieve their business goals by connecting with customers, expanding customer bases, streamlining processes and growing business utilizing multi-channel communications tools. Pitney Bowes’s pbSmart suite of products is about making these solutions easy and accessible for small businesses-often a daunting challenge without the proper tools, training, and support.
About Pitney Bowes:
Delivering more than 90 years of innovation, Pitney Bowes provides software, hardware and services that integrate physical and digital communications channels. Long known for making its customers more productive, Pitney Bowes is increasingly helping other companies grow their business through advanced customer communications management. Pitney Bowes is a $5.4 billion company and employs more than 30,000 worldwide. Pitney Bowes: Every connection is a new opportunity™. www.pb.com
Pitney Bowes Inc.
Manager, External Communications