THE PRC PROPOSAL IS NOT GOOD FOR CATALOGERS … SUPPORT IS NEEDED IN A FIGHT FOR LIFE

by Stephen Lett

The recent Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) proposal leaves catalogers and the ACMA in the fight of its life. The PRC is the federal regulator that oversees the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). It has given the USPS approval to speed up rate increases over the next five years. This is a very serious situation. Due to decreased mail volume and the USPS’s financial struggles, this is PRC’s way to shore up finances. But there’s a right way and a wrong way and this way makes no logical sense because as postal rates increase, mail volume will continue to decrease even more. This will accelerate the downward spiral which could cause rates to increase again and again. If the USPS takes this course of action, it is a no-win situation for catalogers - and equally so for the USPS. So what does this mean for catalog companies like yours? If the industry is not successful convincing the PRC and the USPS that increasing postage rates will horrible for the industry, we are facing catalog postage to increase by as much as 55% over the ten years and certainly 34% over five years for the average cataloger. No exaggeration; this threat is real.  The PRC recently issued this proposal stemming from its Congressionally-mandated 10-year review. This is not going away and won’t get better with time. But there’s a ray of hope: We can be effective fighting this by supporting the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA). The ACMA is the only organization dedicated entirely to the well-being of catalogs. Also, unlike any other entity, the ACMA has a concrete plan on how to beat back on this unfair PRC proposal. As you know, I believe in the work of the ACMA. I even joined its Board of Directors last year and feel the personal time I spend on this vital work is more than worthwhile for our clients, suppliers and employees. Every company that mails a print catalog as well as suppliers to catalogers needs to join the ACMA. Through membership dues and necessary spot contributions, we can be successful in minimizing future rate increases. Yours and every other cataloger’s and supplier’s membership matters. Realistically, without a well-supported plan lead by the ACMA and backed by catalogers and suppliers, it is not likely that additional funds can be raised required for substantive actions within a timeframe needed to impact PRC decision-making. I know first-hand what the ACMA has been able to accomplish on behalf of catalog companies. Its small staff works tirelessly for catalog companies like yours. No bells or whistles here – the ACMA exists solely to go to bat in Washington,  for catalog mailers and their suppliers. I want to be proactive by helping to convince our clients and valued partners to join the ACMA to guard against devastating rate increases like the ones currently being considered. The ACMA offers two classes of membership, each with full and equal rights; cataloger or catalog supplier. Dues period runs October 1 to September 30 each year. First year dues can be pro-rated to the month of joining. Dues levels are tiered to member activity in cataloging, catalog postage for cataloger, catalog industry sales for suppliers. For catalog members, dues amount to an average of one-quarter of one percent of your annual postal expenditure per year. There are seven tiers as follows:

ACMA Catalog Supplier Membership dues start at $2,500. Dues are based on your annual revenue from catalog companies and run similar to a schedule above. I am taking a stand on this because I believe in the future of catalogs. I am also passionate about the work the ACMA is doing on behalf of catalogers. Without the ACMA’s necessary work, this long-proven effective form of retailing could easily become extinct. Your membership to the ACMA is a small investment in the future of your business. For most of our clients, due will range from $1,000 to $5,000 per year. We need to get behind the ACMA and I’m hoping you will support this organization by joining today. Here’s the link: ACMA JOIN NOW