Live from NEMOA: Washington Still Needs to Understand Rate Increase Impact

Cambridge, MA–Even if the catalog industry cannot avoid the U.S. Postal Service’s rate increase, which could be as high as 40% for some catalogers come May 14, New England Mail Order Association members said the industry cannot afford to take its foot off the gas pedal when it comes to talking to elected officials.

During a “town hall” meeting during its spring conference Thursday to discuss ways its members can alleviate the blow of the new rates, members reminded each other that the upcoming increase could be followed by another increase later this year, and that the industry still needs to talk with its representatives.

Michael Winn, director of postal affairs for R.R. Donnelley Print Solutions, encouraged NEMOA to become more connected with Washington officials in the way the Direct Marketing Association has. He also encouraged the industry to provide case study data that could show the impact of the rate increase on mailers.

“That data needs to be included in letter,” Winn said. “We need to show Washington how many jobs will be affected and how many dollars that will mean to the economy.”

Larry Maher, vice president of sales and marketing for Mach2K, a Cincinnati-based catalog management software developer, added that individuals also need to write their local representatives with those stories of potential impact on their companies.

“When a representative receives a personal e-mail or a personal letter, it’s like receiving 10,000 form letters from an organization,” Maher said. “They will see the letter as something received from a real person and a real voter.”

George Mollo, president of Nanuet, NY-based consultancy GJM Associates and head of DMA’s Catalog Council, also invited NEMOA members to join his group for a trip to Washington in June, where it will meet with senators and representatives about the government’s impact on the industry.