Letters to the Editor
Your editorial in the July issue of Catalog Success regarding the American Catalog Mailers Association hit the heart of the issue, why do catalogers need another association?
As one of the founding officers of the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA), I can only reiterate the questions now that we asked in March when we agreed to create the ACMA:
1. Are we satisfied that the organizations that already exist can fully represent the unique interests of the catalog mailing community?
2. Do we believe that the past rate case could have been more favorable to catalog mailers if we had a voice at the table as did the various letter mailer groups, publishers of magazines and so on?
3. Are the same issues in play today that drove this last rate case so disastrously for the catalog industry?
If you are a catalog mailer and you answered Question 1. No; Question 2. Yes; and question 3. Yes; then you should join our organization and the others who have formed the ACMA.
If, on the other hand, you feel that the rate case we just concluded had satisfactory results and you are prepared for more of the same in the future …
Executive Vice President
Positive Promotions Inc.
I am writing in reference to Paul Miller’s recent editorial regarding the creation of a new catalog mailers group. I write specifically to his assertion that what the Association for Postal Commerce has “stood for and done for catalogers … [has been] a little flawed.” From Paul, I would have expected better, but apparently he shares the same lack of knowledge as others in the press as to what the Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom) is all about, or how it goes about representing its members’ interests.
In a nutshell, PostCom is the only national trade association dedicated to advocating on behalf of companies and organizations that either use mail as a medium for business communication and commerce, and those whose businesses are designed to help others do the same.
We are a diverse group. In fact, the one factor that binds the interests of our members together is the belief that the preservation of a universal postal system is vital to their economic interests, and that mail, as a part of the nation’s economic infrastructure, should facilitate, not impede, the conduct of business and communication.
There are individuals from some 60 businesses that serve on PostCom’s board of directors. Their mission is to ensure that the policies and advocacy objectives for which PostCom stands are an accurate reflection of what we believe is in the best interests for the mailing industry as a whole.
There’s a lot that goes into this. First, you can imagine the challenge associated with getting 60 diverse parties to agree on anything. Our board faces and succeeds in mastering that challenge every time it meets. Our leaders have the sober realization that postal policies and operations must be determined in a manner that best meets the needs of the industry as a whole, or they will well-serve no one at all.
I would urge anyone who would like to experience how the PostCom board goes about its business to attend a board meeting and see things firsthand. Until the self-styled critics have availed themselves of this opportunity, I would urge them to keep their opinions about PostCom to themselves.
Gene Del Polito
Association for Postal Commerce
Your letter regarding the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) was fair and even-handed. But it’s important to emphasize that ACMA doesn’t downplay the important work that the DMA and PostCom have done and continue to do on behalf of all mailers. Many, if not most, of ACMA members, including my company, are members of either the DMA, PostCom or both — and for good reason.
I got involved with ACMA because our group is focused on the needs of catalogers. It’s my goal for the ACMA to work alongside such established and high-caliber groups as these and the other “mail-type specific” members within their organizations.
Catalogers have been, until now, the only significant mailing group without our own, focused voice. The ACMA doesn’t intend to supplant our other industry trade groups. It intends to work in concert with other groups, for the good of all flats mailers. Given the quality discourse we have had with both the DMA and PostCom, I’m confident that there’s room for all three groups to thrive and for our industry to benefit as a direct result of a collegial relationship amongst these groups.
Catalog Success readers will recognize the value that the ACMA brings to catalogers and how the ACMA, DMA and PostCom all provide high value to all of us.
President & COO
Northern Safety Co.
Your July 2007 editorial brings to light a critical issue facing the industry: the No. 1 threat to catalog success in the future may well be cataloger apathy. Without a mobilized industry actively representing its own interests in a competitive environment, the future is at risk.
There is no more competitive landscape than the postal regulatory arena, deliberately set up by the U.S. Congress for competing interests to advocate for their needs from the nation’s mail system.
What is different now is that the very future of catalogs in the mail is at risk. It is not just the past rate case. There are myriad technical, engineering, pricing and policy issues coming down the pike. Without catalogers involved and leading on these issues, catalogers may not like the outcome. This is why the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) was formed. …
However, challenges to the future are not limited to postal rates and technical issues. Consider consumer safety and privacy, do-not-mail initiatives, environmental and green concerns, application of sales taxes, Internet access and import regulations. A focused, cataloger-only association engaged on issues of economic, regulatory or public concern can partner or oppose as necessary with only one objective: what is best for catalogers.
American Catalog Mailers Association
After more than 10 years printing a slim jim size for our small niche market (dog hunting supplies), we now must tab to save in postage. Susan McIntyre’s Catalog Doctor column, “Analyze Digests and Slim Jims” (July 2007, pg. 52) was quite interesting. Except our printer tells us that 45 lb paper with tabs is adequate for the postage savings. The article stressed nothing less than 50 lb cover stock. So we’ll be mailing and hope everything works out OK. I enjoy your magazine every month, thanks a lot.
Bill Boatman & Co.