Have you ever spent time in a dog park? I don’t mean the time you spend at work—they say it is a dog eat dog world out there, after all—but time in a real, actual dog park? If you have not I would highly recommend it. It is a great venue to learn about life, about business, and about dogs.
According to Investopedia, “dog eat dog” refers to “markets where products or services have become commoditized… no company can create a competitive advantage in any way other than competing on price.” Some people might say this about the markets that Pitney Bowes and our Transactional and Direct Mail Service Bureau customers participate in, but I disagree. While this may have been true as recently as five years ago, with all of the new technologies available I do not believe it is true today. And I also know from experience at our local dog park that things are not commoditized there, and there are certainly no dogs eating each other.
It’s a dog’s life
If you have a dog you probably think of him or her as just a dog. I know, your dog is special and a member of the family and all of that (just like my dog!), but at the end of the day your dog eats, he sleeps, he runs, he digs and he barks—he is a dog. That is what I always thought, too, until I started spending time with our dog Wolfgang at the dog park. The dog park is where I learned there is truly a difference between breeds, and not just the “this breed is cute” or “this breed sheds” or worse, “this breed drools” types of differences.
At the dog park I learned that Golden Retrievers like to retrieve, they are good at it, and they really don’t like to do anything else. Beagles like to bark, in fact, they pretty much never stop barking (“when is that dog going home?”). Huskies always dig in the water bowls (“drat, I just filled that”). The shepherding dogs typically run on the outskirts of the larger group and nip at everyone. Each breed is ultimately very specialized and their personalities reflect it. The breeds that like to run will run together, the retrievers typically interact with people and not the other dogs, and the breeds that like to wrestle are always at the center of everyone’s attention.
Of course my dog is the best dog at the park. He is a mixed breed so he has a lot of qualities from different breeds. He is part Huskie so he likes to run and wrestle. He is part German Shepherd so he can take care of himself if there is ever a problem. He typically is able to play and interact with any other dog, regardless of that dog’s preferences. Although if I had to pick a single activity, doggie wrestling would be his top choice.
A company and an industry transforming
Being able to interact and play in different environments is how I think of Pitney Bowes. Our heritage may have been with a single, specialized “breed”, but we have acquired so many new capabilities in the past ten years that we have transformed ourselves into the equivalent of a “communications mutt.” We are experts at a lot of different things and we bring a variety of good qualities to bear as we help our customers reach their own goals.
The customer communications industry is evolving as well. While past technologies may have limited our industry to “speeds and feeds” comparisons, today’s technologies have opened up many new opportunities. Instead of just looking for efficiencies organizations are now able to add more value to each and every communication. The ability to print in full, digital color, to meet customer channel preferences, and to customize every single communication both on the inside and outside of the mail piece make this possible.
If you look in the right context, you really can see the differences
Going to a tradeshow is like spending time at the dog park. If you were able to visit each individual company on its own turf you would find it to be very much like every other company. It is at the tradeshow—like the dog park—that you can really see the differences. As the fall tradeshow season gets underway, ask yourself what each individual company is emphasizing? How is it different from the other companies in its market? What do individuals from the company want to talk about? Which vendor can help you transform your organization to meet future needs?
Of course, I want you to consider these questions because I believe that Pitney Bowes will stack up very well against our competitors. We look forward to seeing you at these upcoming events in North America:
- October 7-10, Graph Expo 2012, Chicago, Illinois, booth 1238. We are not holding back this year at Graph Expo—we are including some new solutions that may surprise you. The ones I can tell you about ahead of time are featured on our Graph Expo promotional page (where you can request an appointment and even get a free tradeshow pass), including our Mailstream Wrapper™ Inline Envelope Converting Module that has already won a Must See ‘Ems award.
- October 13-18, DMA2012, Las Vegas, Nevada. We will rubbing elbows our fellow marketers at DMA2012 where we will showcase solutions that can help drive revenue for your business. PB’s Ramesh Ratan and Mark Smith will be joined by Dave Fenske, President, Fenske Media Corporation, to present Communications Convergence: Break through the Clutter and Increase Lifetime Value during a spotlight session on October 16.
Please let us know what events you will attending. If you want to set up a personalized meeting, I am happy to let the appropriate people know.
What upcoming events are you looking forward to most, and what do you hope to find out? What kind of breed is your company?