New Kid in Town: the American Catalog Mailers Association

Born out of the frustration with skyrocketing postal rates, an advocacy group formed in April promises to fight in Washington for print catalogers.

The American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) was created to ensure that “the U.S. regulatory and legislative bodies understand our enormous contribution to the health and growth of the American economy,” says executive director Hamilton Davison. The group already has about 40 member companies including Gardener’s Supply Co., Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Levenger, Lillian Vernon, Northern Safety, and Paul Fredrick MenStyle.

Some may wonder if the industry needs another trade group. Davison contends that, because of its narrower focus, the ACMA is not in competition with the Direct Marketing Association (copresenter of ACCM) and similar groups. “Some excellent organizations exist to serve the needs of direct marketers,” he says. “Catalogers, however, have unique characteristics and needs.”

ACMA plans to bring the battle to Congress through a lobbying effort, possible litigation, and a broad membership. To that end, Davison is urging catalogers and their vendor partners to join the fight. Membership dues are $5,000 for catalogers and vendors.

The ACMA is organized as a 501(c)(6) association and is governed by a board of directors made up of 12 catalogers and nine vendors. Neil Sexton, president/chief operating officer of industrial supplies mailer Northern Safety, is chairman; Ralph Drybrough, founder of business-to-business list services firm MeritDirect, is vice president of membership.