Opinion: Seriously Consider Attending New Postal Event in Washington, D.C.
To our readers, this is a personal and highly opinionated message from your industry publication’s editor-in-chief. We at Catalog Success strive to bring you objective and implemental money-making ideas, and it’s quite rare I’d ever outwardly promote anything, although you’ll notice that in the past few editions we’ve been aggressively promoting an exciting upcoming seminar we’re co-presenting with F. Curtis Barry & Co. (see the Ops Tip of the Week for further details). But I want to take a time-out from our usual efforts to plug something special here that’s also in your best interests.
Specifically, it’s an upcoming postal event in Washington, D.C. on June 26-27 called National Catalog Advocacy and Strategy Forum, being presented by the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA), a small trade group launched a year ago.
First a little about ACMA. In its one-year existence, this group has been persistent in its efforts to give catalogers, and only catalogers, their own advocacy in Washington to support them in fighting to keep catalog postal rate increases down.
Member Sign-Ups a Challenge
Taken as a whole, it’s no secret that most catalog/multichannel companies don’t have much extra cash on hand — especially this year with business being so challenging for many and costs going through the roof. What’s more, many catalogers already pay dues as members of the Direct Marketing Association or other trade groups.
As a result, ACMA has struggled to build its membership. Whereas it had originally set a goal of signing up about 100 members by the end of its first year, it’s only reached about 70 members in a little more than a year — about 70 percent of which are catalogers, the rest being printers, list firms, paper manufacturers and consulting firms.
The organization was launched because some catalogers felt the DMA’s ties to its letter-mailer members prohibited it from acting in flats (catalog) mailers’ best interests when it came to getting favorable postal rates for letters vs. flats. I want to make it perfectly clear that, in my opinion, this is not the DMA’s fault. This has come about because the evolving structure of postal rate setting has effectively driven a wedge between bulk letter mailers and bulk flats mailers for more than a decade now. Letter mailers gain better discounts because letters are cheaper to process and deliver. That certainly makes sense, but the flip side of it is catalogers’ rates, most notably in last year’s postage increase, have skyrocketed. That’s made the DMA’s task in trying to serve both letter mailers and flat mailers more challenging.