ACMA Forum Recap: Conference Provides Pick-Me-Up From ACCM
Coming on the heels of the downcast ACCM conference in New Orleans, the American Catalog Mailers Association's (ACMA) National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum offered the 50 or so attendees on hand some potential relief and plenty of optimism.
The event, coordinated by Hamilton Davison, the upstart two-year-old organization’s executive director and aggressive lobbyist for postal relief on behalf of catalog marketers, offered sessions featuring members of the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the USPS and mailers. The focus was primarily on gaining more favorable postal rates for catalogers still reeling from the killer postage increase of 2007.
“There’s a tipping point happening right now that’s incredibly important to understand,” said ACMA Chairman Stan Krangel, who’s also president of Miles Kimball Co., a cataloger of gifts and novelties, in his opening remarks. “Unless we can get involved [in postal affairs], it’s going to be tough sledding. We need to take responsibility for our own destiny.”
The sessions from the event, which was attended by representatives from such marketers as Crate & Barrel, Uno Alla Volta, Ross-Simons and Paul Fredrick MenStyle, among others, as well as such vendors as MeritDirect, Direct Media and ParadyszMatera, primarily consisted of public dialogs with PRC and USPS reps. And such heavy hitters as PRC Vice Chair Nanci Langley and USPS President, Shipping & Mailing Services, Robert Bernstock, pledged to seek action to ease future postage punishment on catalog mailers.
“Collectively, you are being noticed,” Langley said. She reminded attendees that following the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (aka postal reform), which adjusted the role of the former Postal Rate Commission from rate maker to regulator, the PRC is no longer tied down by an outdated law from 1970 distancing it from mailers. “Our door is always open; we’re easily accessible,” she said, admitting that previously the PRC was largely unaware of the market implications of postage increases.