Commentary: The Little Engine That Can't (Without You)
ACMA members on hand met with Deputy Postmaster General Pat Donahoe, USPS Manager for Catalogs and Periodicals Dave Mastervich and his colleague Doug King, who is USPS manager of direct mail services, and others — all of whom have taken the ACMA’s cry for help to the USPS brass. Members also met with key PRC reps, including assistant directors Margaret Cigno and Charles Robinson, and Director of the Office of Accountability and Compliance John Waller.
As the ACMA’s hard-lobbying executive director, Hamilton Davison, told me after the event, the “quality of the dialogue was incredible. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time the USPS, the PRC and catalogers sat down for a detailed discussion together.”
Representatives from three vendor firms were in attendance, along with one trade group, NEMOA. The DMA, which recently set up a catalog and multichannel marketing segment advisory board to work with its catalog VP, Neil O’Keefe, essentially won’t have anything to do with the ACMA. Four other vendors had signed up to come, but last-minute issues arose. But imagine how incredible the dialogue might have been if more from the catalog mailing community were on hand?
(Full disclosure: Although I was on hand for the ACMA’s postal event this past May in D.C., which drew 70 attendees, I didn’t make the August forum — but then again, my business doesn’t rely on the print catalog; we in the media have our own set of issues to deal with this year.)
At this forum, members discussed with the USPS suits issues ranging from catalog postal processing costs to updated plans for automation of catalog mail to the latest on flats sorting machines. They analyzed ways to make future postage sales, like the one held this past summer, more successful — all while explaining to the PRC reps how they make business decisions on mail volume, which has plummeted since the 2007 postage increase.