Amidst DMA Upheaval, ACCM Revamp, Catalog Group Pushes its Forum
Washington, D.C. — Days after the resignation of the Direct Marketing Association’s beleaguered President & CEO John Greco, the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) launched an aggressive campaign for its National Catalog Forum, as well as new members.
“We’re working diligently to get word out about our forum being one of the
last remaining catalog-focused conferences,” says ACMA Vice President &
Deputy Director Paul Miller, a former editor at both of the catalog
industry’s business publications, who was brought on to the group in
January to help grow the group and its conference.
Less than a month ago, the DMA announced it would be revamping the Annual Conference for Catalog & Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) by changing it to a retail- and internet-focused event. “While the heritage of this conference is rooted in catalogs, the event is not about catalog marketing,” the DMA said in a release announcing the renamed event, the Retail Marketing Conference, taking place May 24-27 in Orlando, Fla.
On the other hand, the upstart, nearly-three-year-old ACMA is looking to build attendance of its forum, which is taking place in Nashville, Tenn., April 13-15. “The first two years of this event gave attendees the opportunity to hear from and meet with top decision makers at the USPS and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC),” points out ACMA President & Executive Director Hamilton Davison. “They opened Washington’s eyes up to the unique needs of catalog mailers.”
This year’s event will be expanded by one day. More Washington biggies are expected to speak and hear directly from catalog mailers in attendance. “Last year, when covering this event as an editor,” Miller says, “attendees couldn’t stop raving about it.”
Now, with the former ACCM distancing itself from catalogs, Miller and Davison are positioning the ACMA National Catalog Forum as the lone remaining catalog-centric event. They’re also on an all-out blitz to sign up new members. Only a small fraction of the memberships of other trade groups are catalog-based companies. On the other hand, ACMA is totally focused on catalogers.
“Before I arrived, ACMA had already helped secure last year’s postal “summer sale” while helping keep this year’s catalog postal rates steady with no rate hike,” Miller says. “With a larger war chest and more active members, I’m confident we can do a lot more for catalog mailers going forward.”
“The mere fact that our membership grew last year while the economy tanked says a lot about our small group,” Davison says. “But we still need plenty more members to be able to do all the things catalogers need us to do. I’ve challenged Paul to use his network of contacts in the business to accomplish this.”