ACMA Success: Actions & Achievements

The ACMA has made tremendous progress since its inception in 2007. We have had a major impact in most of the annual postal rate setting processes, testified before Congress and regulatory bodies, and established strong relationships with national policy makers in Washington. But it’s our ability to impact our members’ bottom lines that we’re particularly proud of. For example, our members got advanced warning of the USPS summer sales and subsequent incentive discount offers – saving some of them millions of dollars.

Some key highlights, both specific and ongoing, are as follows:

  • The ACMA provides Members with early notice of industry developments and offers greater visibility for catalogers interests in Washington.
  • ACMA Members who joined early on in our history have generated a 22x return on their dues investment in money saved on lower postage if not for ACMA’s advocacy. Yes, 22x – that’s no typo.
  • Because of the ACMA, the USPS has modified a variety of regulations on programs to better accommodate catalogs, such as Address Placement Location, Intelligent Mail Barcode, and in the late 2000s/early 2010s the Summer Sale parameters.
  • Without ACMA’s advocacy, catalogers would have had higher rate hikes virtually every year since 2008.

Recent Actions & Achievements, 2020-21:

The following achievements were made possible due to member support. A number of these are ongoing…

Postal Enhancements

Flats Cost Reduction Work

  • Continuing work to reduce reported flats costs and moderate catalog postage increases. Having secured the removal of the 4.5% FSS rate premium in 2017, ACMA continues to document excessive flats cost growth and question why, given all the investment, reported flats cost growth continues at over 2.5x the cost inputs (factor prices)
  • Got the USPS to acknowledge the FSS system was not meeting objectives and costs more to operate than the manual methods it replaces, prompting a 3-year phase out plan that starts in 2021.
  • Continuing work to redesign the flats workflows to materially reduce the cost of handing flat mail.

Postal Reform Legislation

  • Aggressively lobbying for legislation that addresses USPS finances, cost structure, and innovation, while highlighting Congressional overcharges to postal rate payers.
  • Additional lobbying to ensure business mailers receive no mid-year postage increases.
  • Litigating postal regulator’s 10-year additional rate authority order as exceeding its statutory authority to get the new rate authority declared illegal.
  • Worked aggressively to ensure that new legislation proposed in May 2021 includes language for postal action and accountability to reverse excessive costs for catalogs and magazines. 

Catalog Postage Discount

  • Conceived of and won USPS buy-in for a catalog postal discount/incentive to spur additional catalog mail volume. The most recently reported costs, which have increased as much as 15% in a single year, have upended this work.

Importance of Catalogs in the Mail

  • Ongoing efforts to advocate for catalogs in the mail and the special role they play in the “mail moment,” which drives interest in mail, positively impact all mail-born communications. Succeeded in getting USPS to conduct market research that documents this role. Ongoing promotion of catalog interests before USPS decision makers.

Consumer Privacy

  • ACMA’s Privacy Committee was formed in 2020 to influence Congress to pass a comprehensive federal privacy law in light of the aftereffects of assorted states aiming to copy the California Consumer Privacy Act.
  • ACMA Member companies have been meeting with appropriate Members of Congress on the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee, impressing upon them the need for one federal bill.
  • In addition to specifically advocating for our provisions around privacy that will provide a framework and guidance to small businesses, we have also used these calls to gather intelligence on privacy legislation and build relationships with key lawmakers who are driving this policy in Congress.
  • Our committee has met with Sens. Schatz, Wicker, and Cantwell; as well as Reps. DelBene, Rep. Kinzinger, Doyle, and others as we continue to advocate on provisions that are beneficial to our membership.

Remote Sales Tax

  • The ACMA and its Tax Committee have conducted hundreds of direct meetings with congressional offices in less than one year to promote sound legislation to address unworkable state tax collection policies from a national level, sharing our stories with them and to push for federal legislation.
  • With heavy Committee input, ACMA developed a draft of federal legislation to standardize and streamline its concerns. As of early 2021, we had begun working with Congressional offices of interest to translate this into bi-partisan legislation.
  • ACMA urges Congress to champion measures that require extensive simplification mechanisms for small businesses to navigate the 12,000 different tax jurisdictions in the United States. Such simplifications are essential for any potential piece of legislation to gain ACMA’s support. States and municipalities should not be allowed to require sales tax compliance until they address the unworkable patchwork of state and local tax laws.
  • Developed a statement of workable solutions and continue to present to the appropriate congressional committees.

 Catalog Industry Advocacy & Education

  • Produced groundbreaking catalog industry surveys to encourage fact-based policy discussions.
  • Published valuable member reports on policy, postal and legal developments that will affect members.
  • Raised profile of catalogs both in D.C. and nationally by educating policymakers and the public about the benefits catalogs bring to America.
  • Initiated quarterly webinar series to increase education and awareness of critical issues throughout the catalog and ecommerce industries.