Live from ACCM: Greco Responds to Cataloger Groups

May 23, 2007 8:30 AM  By

Boston–Direct Marketing Association president/CEO John A. Greco Jr. wants to make it clear that he is not opposed to separate organizations popping up to help the catalog industry.

What he is opposed to, however, are organizations claiming to represent catalogers banding together and undermining his group’s efforts to help its constituents.

Referring to a letter from Hamilton Davison, president of the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA), Greco told MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT yesterday that he is willing to work with groups such as ACMA and the Coalition of Catalog Mailers (CCM), so long as they are willing to communicate and coordinate their efforts.

“I am absolutely not opposed to separate organizations,” Greco said. “What I am opposed to is being blindsided and my members not being served well by a group that is claiming to represent them. That is what I have a problem with.”

In an interview that appeared in the Show Daily on Monday, Greco said he is “a firm believer that there’s strength in unity, and this is an unfortunate but a great example of how not having unity can hurt you” and noted that CCM’s filing of a motion with the Postal Regulatory Commission to reopen the rate case record immediately stopped all reconsideration for Standard Mail flat rates. In the interview he’d added, “Had the coalition contacted us beforehand, we would have strongly urged them to reconsider.”

In his letter to Greco, portions of which were published in yesterday’s Show Daily, ACMA’s Davison contended that the DMA did not have the best interest of catalogers in mind. He wrote “…there was no ‘call to action’ to warn catalogers that 20%-40% rate increases for flats, far higher increases than those proposed by the Postal Service, were becoming a real possibility. DMA did not solicit testimony from catalogers to oppose such drastic rate increases. In fact, the PRC subsequently held that catalogers had sufficient notice of the 20%-40% rate increases to file rebuttal testimony because their trade association participated in the rate case proceeding.” In an interview with Multichannel Merchant that appeared in Monday’s Show Daily, Davison said that it is not competing with the DMA but trying to lobby for the unique needs of catalogers.

“I’d be more than happy to put the past behind us, but I want everybody to understand that we did not make the mistake,’ Greco said yesterday. “The DMA has been vigilant and consistent in fighting for catalogers. With the right coordination and communication up front, what really turned into a little chaos could have been headed off and could have been constructive.”

Jerry Cerasale, the DMA’s senior vice president of government affairs, said his group doesn’t want to play a “he said, she said” game with ACMA and CCM, adding that coordination and communication among the groups is key.

“The biggest issue is that we coordinated with a lot of other organizations. We made a tactical decision not to file to reopen the record,” Cerasale said. “We didn’t want to have flat-ship mailers paying those rates on [May 14]. It was a big effort, and the CCM went ahead and filed to ask to reopen the record.”

“The optimum word is ‘coordinate,’” Greco added. “I’ve got my members’ interest at heart. I am very open with other people who have their interest at heart. I want to work with them to solve the problem.”