pbSmart™ for Small Business

Small Business Marketing Makeover From Pitney Bowes

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Pitney Bowes Small Business Marketing Makeover Contest!

With so many quality entries to choose from, the selection process was truly difficult. Each small business marketing makeover entry was evaluated based on our stated contest rules. In addition to social voting, which counted for 50 percent of the judging, we also asked our expert panel to review each entry for three things:

  • The entrant’s commitment to his/her own business and growth
  • Customer communications needs where Pitney Bowes could improve the business
  • The entrant’s energy and enthusiasm for his/her small business

One of our favorite parts of this contest is that the each grand prize winner’s makeover will be documented right here on the pbSmart Essentials blog. That way, every contest participant, and anyone else seeking small business marketing guidance, can keep learning in the months ahead. Keep an eye out for a series of upcoming posts that focus on the stories, challenges, and solutions for each of our grand prize winners.

The Pitney Bowes team would like to thank all the contest entrants for their time and effort. We believe this participation made the contest a more valuable learning experience for everyone involved.

So, without further ado, our heartfelt congratulations to the five Grand Prize winners:

Also, congratulations to our 20 First Prize winners (in alphabetical order):

  • Baby Boomer Way
  • Board Book Albums, LLC
  • Femme Metale Inc.
  • Haute Soles
  • I Love Your Accent
  • Integrity Mortgage Licensing
  • Lickity Spit TM
  • MarketMatch
  • Michael D. Weinstein, P.A.
  • Naturally Me
  • Progressive Spaces
  • Redesign for a Dime
  • Rid it Right
  • Rosie B’s Swim Center for Dogs
  • SixFigureStart LLC
  • Socratic Parenting
  • Stick Me Designs
  • Strongest Minds, LLC
  • Synergy Beads
  • The Ladybug and Bean

See a list of all contest prizes!

Once again, a huge thank you to all of the businesses that entered the contest and to all those who voted for their favorite entry.


Meet the Experts

Melinda Emerson

Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America’s leading small business marketing experts. She is a compensated contributor to the pbSmart™ Essentials blog and Small Business Makeover Contest.

As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure.  As CEO of MFE Consulting LLC, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development, and social media marketing.

She has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Entrepreneur, Wall Street Journal and Black Enterprise Magazine. She hosts #SmallBizChat weekly on Twitter for emerging entrepreneurs and publishes a resource blog at www.succeedasyourownboss.com.

Phil Simon 

Phil Simon is the author of the The New Small (Motion, 2010), Why New Systems Fail (Cengage, 2010) and The Next Wave of Technologies (John Wiley & Sons, 2010). A recognized technology expert, he consults companies on how to optimize their use of technology. His contributions have been featured on ZDNet, the American Express Open Forum, ComputerWorld, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, ReadWriteWeb, abcnews.com, forbes.com, and many other sites. While not consulting, Phil speaks about emerging trends and technologies. He also writes for a number of technology-oriented media outlets. He received a BS in policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University and a masters in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University. Phil is not an employee of Pitney Bowes and is a paid contributor to the pbSmart Essentials community.

Jane Applegate

Jane Applegate is one of America’s most respected small business marketing experts. She’s the author of four books on small business management, including 201 Great Ideas for Your Small Business, a Bloomberg Press book published by Wiley & Sons. The third edition of ’201′ was released in paperback and all digital formats in April, 2011. Jane is not a Pitney Bowes employee and shares her insights on the pbSmart™ Essentials blog as a paid contributor.

A former syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Applegate is the leading small business speaker for Bloomberg Television’s ‘Idea Exchange’ speakers’ program. She keynotes dozens of small business events every year.

The Applegate Group Inc, founded in 1991, is a multimedia communications company. TAG produces original web content for a select group of companies including Pitney Bowes, American Express, Cox Communications and Montecito Bank. Applegate also writes and produces documentaries and independent films.

Jane’s new site: 201greatideas.com features ideas from her book and great ideas submitted by small business owners around the world. Jane has been recognized for her service to the business community by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Her national book promotion tour is being co-sponsored by several business organizations including: the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, (SCORE), the Women President’s Organization, Springboard and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). 



http://www.youtube.com/embed/2yek2SSO3w0 http://www.youtube.com/embed/2yek2SSO3w0 http://www.youtube.com/embed/eCtIUasGRY0


Contest Prizes

There are two types of winners in the Pitney Bowes Small Business Marketing Makeover Contest: grand prize winners (5) and first prize winners (20). The prize packages below show exactly what prizes will be awarded to each group of winners. Please see the contest rules for eligibility requirements and other important fine print.

Grand Prize Winners

Grand prize winners will receive a combination of professional services and complimentary use of Pitney Bowes’ suite of communications tools.

Professional Services

  • One-day, in-person communications makeover that includes a coaching/consulting agenda tailored to the winner’s specific business needs
  • Two (2) follow-up consultations via phone or video chat over the next six months to ensure that winner is still seeing benefit from makeover
  • One (1) trade promotion advertisement in a mutually agreed-upon publication
  • $2,500 worth of Pitney Bowes product-related goods and services
  • Books authored by our makeover experts

Pitney Bowes Products and Services

First Prize Winners

First prize winners will receive complimentary use of Pitney Bowes’ suite of communications tools.

Pitney Bowes Products and Services

  • pbSmartTM Codes QR Codes Marketing Software
  • pbSmartTM Connections Email Marketing Software
  • pbSmartPostageTM Cloud-based Online Postage Tool
  • pbSmartMarketerTM Online Direct Mail Campaign Creation Tool
  • Mailstation 2TM Digital Mailing System
  • AddressRightNowTM Address Verification Platform
  • And more!


Contest Rules

pbSmart™Essentials Small Business Makeover Contest

Official Rules


pbSmart™Connections Small Business Makeover Contest (the “Contest”) starts on May 24, 2011 at 12:01AM Eastern Time (“ET”) and ends on July 19, 2011 at 11:59PM ET (“Contest Entry Period”).

ELIGIBILITY: Contest is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia, who are of legal age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence (and at least 18) and who are owners of a small business with $10 million in annual revenue or less. Please note: Owners of small businesses that sell or promote any of the following are not eligible to enter or win: pharmaceuticals, drugs, drug paraphernalia, pornography or sexual aids, diet aids, gambling, liquor, tobacco or firearms/weapons. Employees of Pitney Bowes Inc. (“Sponsor”) and its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, promotion and advertising agencies, and members of their immediate family (spouse and parent, children and siblings and their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside) and persons living in the same household, whether or not related, of such employees, are also not eligible to enter or win. Please note: Sponsor reserves the right to determine in its sole discretion that awarding a prize to such Entrant might reflect negatively on Sponsor. Void where prohibited by law. Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws.

HOW TO ENTER: During the Contest Entry Period, visit the pbSmart™Essentials website, click on the link titled “Contest Entry Page” on the right side of the homepage and follow the directions provided to complete the entry form and answer the questions, and you must also provide a picture of your business in action, and either (i) an essay of up to three hundred (300) words (an “Essay Entry”) or (ii) a sixty (60) second video, in each case explaining why the business is the best candidate for the Small Business Makeover (a “Video Entry”, and each of the Essay Entries and Video Entries is an “Entry”). The photographs should be of you and of you working in your place of business. Photos must be submitted in .PNG, .JPG, or .GIF formats and cannot exceed 4 MB. Any video submitted must comply with the restrictions set forth in these Official Rules, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion, or your Entry may be disqualified. All Entries must be received by 11:59PM ET on July 19, 2011 to be considered. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means or by any means which subvert the entry process are void. Limit one (1) Entry per person/email address/small business. Entries received from any person/email address/small business in excess of the stated limitation will be void. All Entries become the sole property of the Sponsor and will not be returned.

ADDITIONAL ENTRY RESTRICTIONS: Entry may not contain, as determined by the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, any content that:

  • promotes pharmaceuticals, pornography, sexual aids, diet aids, or gambling;
  • is sexually explicit or suggestive; unnecessarily violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group; profane or pornographic; contains nudity;
  • promotes illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing);
  • is obscene or offensive; endorses any form of hate or hate group;
  • defames, misrepresents or contains disparaging remarks about other people or companies;
  • contains trademarks, logos, or trade dress (such as distinctive packaging or building exteriors/interiors) owned by others, without permission; contains any personal identification, such as license plate numbers, personal names, e-mail addresses or street addresses;
  • contains copyrighted materials owned by others (including photographs, sculptures, paintings, and other works of art or images published on or in websites, television, movies or other media), without permission;
  • contains materials embodying the names, likenesses, voices, or other indicia identifying any person, including, without limitation, celebrities and/or other public or private figures, living or dead, without permission;
  • contains look-alikes of celebrities or other public or private figures, living or dead;
  • communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or good will to which we wish to associate; and/or
  • violates any law. 

Entry must be the original work of the entrant, and must not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity. If the Entry contains any material or elements that are not owned by the entrant, and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, the entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the Entry, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the use and exhibition of the Entry by Sponsor in the manner set forth in these Official Rules, including, without limitation, name and likeness permissions from any person who appears in or is identifiable in the Entry. Sponsor reserves the right to request proof of these permissions in a form acceptable to Sponsor from any entrant at any time. Failure to provide such proof may, if requested, render Entry null and void. By submitting an Entry, entrant warrants and represents that he/she and any persons appearing or who are identifiable in the Entry consent to the submission and use of the Entry in the Contest and to its use as otherwise set forth herein. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any Entry it determines, in its sole discretion, does not comply with these Official Rules.

WINNER DETERMINATION: The Contest will include both judging and social voting components, which shall each count for fifty-percent (50%) of an Entrants score.

Judging Component: A panel of qualified judges will review all eligible Entries received.  The judging panel will contain both Sponsor employees and third party small business experts.  Scores in the judging component will be based equally on the following criteria: (i) entrant’s commitment to his/her own business and growth, (ii) overall customer communications need where Sponsor could improve their business, and (iii) energy and enthusiasm for his/her small business as expressed in Entry (the “Judging Criteria”). 

Social Voting Component: Essay and Video Entries will be featured on the Smart Essentials blog on Sponsor’s site between 12:01AM ET on May 24, 2011 and 11:59PM ET on July 19, 2011 (“Voting Period”). During the Voting Period, individuals will be invited to vote for an Entry based on the Voting Criteria. Limit one (1) vote per person/email address per day per Entry during the Voting Period. Votes received from any person/email address in excess of the stated limitation will be void. Entrants are prohibited from obtaining votes by any fraudulent or inappropriate means, including, without limitation, offering prizes or other inducements to members of the public, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. Scores in the social voting component will be based on Entrants who receive the highest number of valid votes, as determined by Sponsor, subject to verification of eligibility and compliance with the terms of these Official Rules. Use of script, macro or any automated system to vote or with the intent to impair the integrity of the voting process is prohibited and all such votes will be void.

Winner Selection: The twenty five (25) Entries with the highest combined scores in the judging component and the social voting component, based upon fifty-percent (50%) from each component, from among all eligible Entries received, as determined by Sponsor, will be the winners (“Winners”).   The five (5) Winners receiving the highest combined scores among the Winners, will be deemed “Grand Prize Winners,” and the other twenty (20) Winners will be “First Prize Winners. In the event of a tie, the Winners from among those tied receiving the highest score(s) in the judged component will be deemed the Grand Prize Winner(s). Sponsor reserves the right to select fewer than five (5) Grand Prize Winners and/or fewer than twenty (20) First Prize Winners, if, in its sole discretion, it does not receive a sufficient number of eligible and qualified Winners.

For the purpose of these rules, the Grand Prize Winners and First Prize Winners may be referred to herein collectively as “winners” and each as a “winner”. Sponsor’s and judges’ decisions are final and binding on all matters relating to this Contest.

WINNER NOTIFICATION: First Prize and Grand Prize winners will be notified on or about August 1, 2011 by telephone, email and/or mail and required to complete (i) an Affidavit of Eligibility, (ii) a Liability and Publicity Release (unless prohibited by law), (iii) a Non-Disclosure Agreement and Release, as well as (iv) any other documents required by Sponsor, Each of these documents must be returned to Sponsor within two (2) days of date appearing on notification. Return of any notification as undeliverable, failure to sign and return all requested documents within the specified time period(s), the inability of Sponsor to contact a potential winner within a reasonable time period or noncompliance with these Official Rules by any potential winner will result in disqualification and, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, the prize may be awarded to a runner-up.

PRIZES: GRAND PRIZE (5): Each Grand Prize Winner will receive a customer communications makeover package consisting of (i) a one-day, in-person, on-site series of workshops concerning customer communications management services and solutions provided by Sponsor’s employee small business experts and third party experts (the “Small Business Makeover”), (ii) subscriptions for customer communication tools and credits towards postage and printing services, and (iii) two (2) one-hour expert video consults from Sponsor’s third party experts to occur at times mutually agreeable to Grand Prize Winner and Sponsor over the six (6) months following notification of winning. Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of Grand Prize Package: $10,000. ARV of all prizes awarded to Grand Prize winners $50,000.

FIRST PRIZE PRIZES (20): . Each First Prize Winner will receive (i) one year subscriptions to the following Sponsor products or solutions: pbSmart™Connections, pbSmartMarketer™, pbSmartPostage™, and AddressRightNow™, (ii) an invitation to serve on Sponsor’s small and medium business feedback committee for ongoing knowledge sharing and product development input, and(iii) a set of books from the small business expert judges.  A winner must initiate any such subscription within one year following prize award. Failure to initiate a subscription within one year following prize award will result in forfeiture of that portion of the prize and Sponsor will have no further obligation to such winner. ARV: 2,500 each. Total ARV of all prizes: $50,000. All subscriptions are subject to the applicable terms and conditions set forth on their respective sites. Prizes are awarded “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied. Winners may not substitute, assign or transfer a prize or redeem prize for cash, but Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to substitute prize (or portion thereof) with one of comparable or greater value. Winners are responsible for all applicable federal, state and local taxes, if any, as well as any other costs and expenses associated with prize acceptance and use not specified herein as being provided. All prize details are at Sponsor’s sole discretion.

SMALL BUSINESS MAKEOVER VIDEOS: The five (5) Grand Prize Winners must be available between August 1, 2011 and September 30, 2011 to be interviewed on video by Sponsor at winner’s place of business, unless otherwise determined by Sponsor. Such videotaped interview will be made into a “Small Business Makeover Video” (as described more fully below) and posted on the SmartEssentials blog on Sponsor’s website. A Grand Prize Winner must agree to allow Sponsor to film his/her place of business as well as specific aspects of his/her business (for example, the kitchen, if a restaurant or bakery) for the Small Business Makeover Video.  A Sponsor representative will contact each Grand Prize Winner to arrange a date and time for Grand Prize Winner to receive its Small Business Makeover, which will be filmed or otherwise recorded by Sponsor or its representatives in order for Sponsor to create a video of the services and solutions provided by Sponsor to enhance Grand Prize Winner’s business for use on Sponsor’s site and other locations. The Small Business Makeover Video will include, but not be limited to footage of, (i) a pre-session interview among the Grand Prize Winner and/or its employees, small business experts, Sponsor employees, and any other individuals Sponsor selects, (ii) a post-session interview among the Grand Prize Winner and/or its employees, small business experts, Sponsor employees, and any other individuals Sponsor selects, (iii) a lunch paid for by Sponsor, including the Grand Prize Winner and/or its employees, small business experts, Sponsor employees, and/or any other individuals, and (iv) travel footage and behind-the-scenes coverage concerning the Small Business Makeover process.   Sponsor will edit the footage to create the Small Business Makeover Video. Grand Prize Winners understand and acknowledge that Sponsor will own the Small Business Makeover Video, and Winners will not have approval over edits to the interview footage or the final Small Business Makeover Video and that Sponsor will have no obligation or liability to any Grand Prize Winner who does not like the Small Business Makeover Video made on his/her behalf. Such winner’s only remedy shall be to request that Sponsor remove the Small Business Makeover Video from its site. Each winner understands that Sponsor and its designees may exploit, edit, modify, create derivatives works of, perform, post, distribute and otherwise use the Small Business Makeover Video and all elements of such Small Business Makeover Video, including, without limitation, the names and likenesses of any persons or locations embodied therein, in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, in any manner, worldwide, in perpetuity without compensation or notification to, or permission from, entrant or any third party. Released Parties (as defined below) are not responsible for unauthorized use of Small Business Makeover Video by third parties.

USE OF ENTRIES: By participating, each entrant grants Sponsor an irrevocable, assignable, perpetual, worldwide, royalty free, fully paid-up license to exploit, edit, modify, create derivative works of, post, perform, distribute and otherwise use his/her Entry (including any photos or videos included as attachments to the Entry) and all elements of such Entry, including, without limitation, the names and likenesses of any persons or locations embodied therein, in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised (including, but not limited to, Sponsor’s company logos and trademarks, and Sponsor websites), in any manner, without compensation or notification to, or permission from, entrant or any third party.

GENERAL CONDITIONS: By participating, each entrant agrees: (a) to abide by these Official Rules and decisions of Sponsor and judges, which shall be final and binding in all respects relating to this Contest; (b) to release, discharge, indemnify and hold harmless Sponsor and its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and the officers, directors, shareholders, employees, agents and representatives of the forgoing (collectively, “Released Parties”) from any and all injuries, liability, losses and damages of any kind to persons, including death, or property resulting, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from entrant’s participation in the Contest or any Contest-related activity or the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any awarded prize (including any travel/activity related thereto) or Released Parties’ use of any of the rights granted herein; and (c) to the use by Sponsor and its designees of his/her name, voice, performance, photograph/video, image and/or likeness and/or entrant’s company name, logo and trademarks, for advertising, publicity and promotional purposes in any and all media, now or hereafter known, worldwide, and in perpetuity, without compensation (unless prohibited by law) or additional consents from entrant or any third party and without prior notice, approval or inspection, and to execute specific consent to such use if asked to do so.

MISCELLANEOUS: Released Parties are not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, damaged, inaccurate, stolen, delayed, misdirected, undelivered or garbled Entries, votes or Video Entries; or for lost, interrupted or unavailable network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), website, or other connections, availability or accessibility or miscommunications or failed computer, satellite, telephone or cable transmissions, lines, or technical failure or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions or computer hardware or software malfunctions, failures or difficulties, or other errors or difficulties of any kind whether human, mechanical, electronic, computer, network, typographical, printing or otherwise relating to or in connection with the Contest, including, without limitation, errors or difficulties which may occur in connection with the administration of the Contest, the processing or judging of Entries, the tabulation of votes, the announcement of the prizes, the incorrect uploading of the video or photo or in any Contest-related materials. Released Parties are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by site users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest. Released Parties are not responsible for injury or damage to any person’s computer related to or resulting from participating in this Contest or downloading materials from or use of the website. Persons who tamper with or abuse any aspect of the Contest or website, who act in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner or who are in violation of these Official Rules, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified and all associated Entries will be void. Should any portion of the Contest be, in Sponsor’s sole opinion, compromised by virus, worms, bugs, non-authorized human intervention or other causes which, in the sole opinion of the Sponsor, corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness or proper play, or submission of Entries, Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to suspend, modify or terminate the Contest and, if terminated, at its discretion, select the potential winners from all eligible, non-suspect Entries received prior to action taken using the judging procedure outlined above. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE THE WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES AND OTHER REMEDIES (INCLUDING ATTORNEYS’ FEES) FROM ANY SUCH INDIVIDUAL TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW, INCLUDING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

GOVERNING LAW: This Contest shall be governed by and interpreted under the laws of the State of Connecticut, U.S.A. without regard to its conflicts of laws provisions.

REQUEST FOR WINNERS’ LIST: For a list of winners (available after August 1, 2011), send a self-addressed, stamped, envelope by September 1, 2011 to: pbSmart™Connections Small Business Makeover ContestWinnersPitney Bowes Inc., One Elmcroft Road, Stamford, MSC 55-01, Connecticut 06926, Attention: Small & Medium Business Division.

Sponsor: Pitney Bowes Inc., One Elmcroft Road, Stamford, Connecticut 06926.

Abbreviated Rules:
No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & DC, who are of legal age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence (and at least 18) & who are owners of a small business with $10 million in annual revenue or less. Additional eligibility restrictions apply. Contest starts 12:01AM ET May 24, 2011, ends 11:59PM ET July 19, 2011. Void where prohibited. See Official Rules, which govern, for complete details, available at pbSmartEssentials.com/small-business-marketing-makeover.


  • http://www.collegequest.com/ Jake Rowe

    Setting up a strong business administration for a small business firm is very crucial. It could act as a base for the business expansion and success.