Thanks to those who were able to join our August 4th Postal Strategy discussion. For those who couldn’t make it, we encourage you to view the replay (click here; then enter pass code umJ.f1&G) as it provides context for the information below.
Some attendees have asked about immediate action steps and priorities. We are seeking to raise a total of $300,000 now to accomplish the initial objectives discussed. Please make your pledge to our Postal Action Fund right now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ACMA members: equal to your annual ACMA dues investment.
- Non-members: please review our dues schedule (merchants – click here; suppliers – click here) and base your donation on where your company size fits – also equal to a year’s dues level.
But in both cases, please do more if you can. Here are specific steps we will take once we raise necessary funds:
- We have scheduled a meeting with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for Tuesday, September 5th at 3 pm at Commission’s offices in Washington. We are seeking senior level merchants / marketers to attend help tell our story and build some goodwill amongst Commission staff.
- The next morning, Sept. 6th, we will meet with USPS Marketing and Product Solutions executives at USPS headquarters in Washington to discuss catalog incentive ideas that work for both mailers and the USPS. We want the USPS to have a good experience with incentives and continue to offer them just like those we announced last week.
- We will petition the PRC to waive the extra +2% surcharge on Carrier Route flat mail for the January 2024 postage increase since after successive rate increases, CR is expected to be “above water.” This legal pleading demands postal-specific legal help, which doesn’t come cheap.
- Neither the PRC nor USPS understand catalogs’ actual elasticity of demand. A full-blown elasticity study is costly. To start, we will gauge the opportunity, then determine how to proceed.
- Retain a postal-savvy engineer who can help keep the USPS on track as we work to reduce the costs of handling catalogs by identifying a “perfect catalog” and a “perfect prep.” This includes bundling, palletization and more as well as opportunities to improve the flats workflows.
- The USPS has used the same attributable cost methodology for catalogs since the 1990s; it has not been reviewed or questioned since. The ACMA will conduct an econometric assessment to see if a full-blown study can be material to correct these outdated cost allocations. For years, catalogs’ poor reported costs have been grounds for the PRC denying requests for catalog-specific promotions and incentives. We aim to change that.
Use of Funds
The costs to accomplish this are:
- Legal expenses relating to +2% waiver: $50K
- Initial elasticity study to assess the value of a full-blown study of catalog elasticity: $100K
- Postal engineering consultant: $75K
- Initial economic study on outdated cost allocations: $25K
- Extra unbudgeted staff travel cost: $10K
- Miscellaneous and contingency: $40K
- Total immediate funds needed: $300,000
To date, we have $30K in commitments, so we are 10% of the way home. We need many other companies to step up, both ACMA members and non-members. Feel free to ask your suppliers, particularly if they are not ACMA members, to help underwrite the costs. There’s a lot here and a lot at stake. Confused? We are happy to answer any questions; just email us and one of us will respond quickly.
Please make your pledge now and help us help you!