The American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA), formed nearly one year ago, has joined the Washington-based Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom). What’s more, ACMA will hold a seat on the PostCom Board of Directors.
“It is our desire to work collaboratively within the existing mailing industry forums, while ensuring the cataloger voice is well represented in discussions, input generally acknowledged by many to have been missing in the past,” says Hamilton Davison, ACMA’s executive director. “Impact in the $900 billion mailing industry necessarily means working within groups already engaged in postal affairs. PostCom certainly meets this test.”
PostCom, Davison says, “gathers and makes available to members information that we could gather and assimilate ourselves, but at much greater cost than our PostCom membership. These resources are better spent on catalog-specific matters.”
The chief concern raised, Davison adds, is that by joining PostCom’s board, ACMA might be viewed as “potentially jeopardizing our independence. Nothing is further from the case.” By participating in the dialog to shape postal policy, ACMA will “articulate clearly cataloger issues and work collaboratively to shape a future that meets the needs of all mailers,” he notes. “Our board-level involvement with PostCom does not mean we cannot dissent. Actually this is a good forum for informed debate on the alternatives.”
By having a “catalog only focus,” Davison says the ACMA can take cataloger-specific positions without regard to how it “reads” with other mailer constituencies or worry of its impact elsewhere. “We look forward to working with all the mail groups who participate in PostCom so they better understand catalog needs,” he says.
The ACMA has gained a certain level of visibility in the past year, but Davison maintains that the catalog industry needs a louder voice. He used an historical reference to dramatize the U.S. Postal Service’s effect on daily life: “Two billion seconds ago, FDR was in the White House and we were fighting WWII. Two billion pieces of mail ago was the day before yesterday.”
The size, scope, and scale of the USPS “defies most people’s understanding,” Davis says. With its extensive reporting on postal operations, “PostCom helps break down a complex topic into a more digestible form.”