Live From MeritDirect: USPS Wants Quality over Quantity

Jul 12, 2008 2:04 AM  By

White Plains, NY–After years of managing volume, the U.S. Postal Service wants to instead manage mail quality, according to Hamilton Davison, executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association.

“The post office is not just making sure that mailers get stuff delivered, it’s making sure that the mail is really wanted,” Davison said during a session Thursday at the MeritDirect Business Mailers Co-op and Conference.

Davison’s information stems from discussions with Postmaster General John E. Potter during ACMA’s National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum last month. Potter suggested then that the USPS may soon become a much smaller organization that would not longer be handling more than 200 billion pieces a year, including 50 billion flats.

“Jack said we may have a smaller number [of delivered mail pieces], but it needs to be relevant,” Davison said. “I thought this was interesting, because it’s the first time I every heard this from the USPS. It’s always been manage the volume, manage the volume, manage the volume, now were hearing about managing the quality, which will impact all of us.”

A big concern for catalogers remains the threats of do-not-mail legislation, as laws have been proposed in several states. Davison said Potter indicated that the responsibility will be in the hands of the mailer to clean up its lists. And that’s especially going to be a wake-up call for business-to-business mailers who have a harder time tracking career moves than consumer catalogers do residential change of addresses.

“I think do-not-mail has a spillover into the b-to-b community, though it’s really in the hearts and minds of the consumer,” Davison said. “Whether the consumer is in the home or the office, if it gets the message that catalogs are bad, that’s a real problem for us. We need to be proactive and do the right thing, and be on the right side of that issue.”