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National Mail Order Association

 John Schulte, Chairman

I was so fascinated with NMOA, that I thought an interview for E-Tailer's Digest would be in order. So I asked John Schulte to answer some questions. First, John talked about "How to find a drop shipper."

Two things. In most cases it's not a good idea to pick a product to sell just because someone will drop ship it. If you plan on being in business for any length of time, you have to be very interested in what you sell.

Most people should first decide what they want to specialize in selling and then look for suppliers in this area that are willing to drop-ship.

On another note, for those already in business and those not wanting to take my advice, we are working on a directory of manufacturers and distributors that will drop ship their products.

I expect it to be ready in about 2-3 weeks. If anybody wants to be notified about this compilation when it's ready they can sign up to get news at the free stuff section of our web site. http://www.nmoa.com/comments.htm

Now the interview:

1. What is your organizations name?

National Mail Order Association (NMOA)

2. What does it do?

The NMOA is an entrepreneurial type of association. We provide education,information and vital business contacts to members, information that directly affects the bottom line of their business. For people looking to get into a direct marketing related business, we also pass along new opportunities we find.

We do no lobbying or industry watch-dogging. (NMOA members must, however, conduct themselves in a professional and honest manner to remain members.) We concentrate on bringing people together for the purposes of conducting business and creating sales.

3. When was it started and by whom? And why was it started?

The NMOA is a membership organization that was founded in l972 by mail order expert Paul Muchnick, a well know mail order and advertising expert of '40s, '50s, '60s up until his death in 1994. His memorial, one of his best articles and one of his award winning direct mail letters can be found in the NMOA museum; http://www.nmoa.org/Museum/index.htm.

It was Paul and his friends of the day that invented, modified and improved the direct marketing techniques widely in use today. Since then, these techniques are also now known by many names; database marketing, direct mail marketing, catalog marketing, direct response marketing, mail order marketing, television marketing, and now Internet marketing. No matter what name you give it, direct marketing, as a whole, it is the most powerful marketing tool on earth. The NMOA was formed to help small to midsize businesses and entrepreneurs that were involved or wanted to become involved in Mail Order Marketing. Until this time, there was no organized effort to help the proverbial "small guy".

4. What is the makeup of the membership? Mail order companies? Retailers? Manufacturers? Service organizations?

Most members of the National Mail Order Association fall into one of these four groups.

  1. Resellers (someone that sells to the end-user)

  2. Manufacturers (somebody that makes a product and is looking to increase

  3. Industry Service Providers (someone that provides direct marketing
    services to others)

  4. Entrepreneurs (someone just learning direct marketing or with sales of
    under $100,000 per year)

5. What is the geographic distribution of the membership? US-based? In how many countries are there members?

95% of our membership is US based with the rest being in a few other countries, Canada, India, Europe, Australia, South America, Asia, Israel.

6. What is the benefit of joining your organization?

Why a Reseller Should be an NMOA Member. This includes Catalog Companies, Mail Order Companies, Infomercial Companies, Specialty Retailers like Kiosk vendors, etc. (Keep in mind- you can also use direct marketing techniques to market your service or retail store.)

o Valuable How-To Information that Will Help You SELL MORE of What You Sell.

We have a broad spectrum of editorial advisors and contributors that is second to none. Over 30 experts from every dimension of direct marketing supplying information to help you. How-to information on; Mail Order, Catalogs, Database, Mailing Lists, Infomercials and Television shopping,Web Marketing, Legal Issues, etc… The NMOA list of contributing experts keeps on growing everyday- providing you the right information to keep your sales growing.

o The Privilege of Displaying the NMOA Member Logo on Your Web Site or Catalog.

Customers are extremely concerned about getting good service. With all the people out there trying to sell something (especially on the Internet) it's hard for the consumer to know who is reliable and trustworthy and who is not. I'm sure you have experienced this for yourself. Being an NMOA Member sets you apart from the rest. It is your seal of distinction that sets you apart from the crowd. Consumers know that they can shop in confidence when they see you displaying the NMOA Member logo. It guarantees them assistance if they experience difficulty. Display the NMOA Member logo to show your customers that you respect them and that they can trust you. Use the NMOA Member logo on your promotions and advertisements, on your web site, on your envelope,on all marketing materials. The more it's used the better.

Consider this. In a survey of Web shoppers conducted by Greenfield Online for the Better Business Bureau, a large majority (84%) agreed that the recognition of companies on the Web by a reputable third party would make them more confident about buying from companies they do not know. More than three-quarters (78%) report that they would shop more on-line if they could be assured a company is reputable.

o New Contacts that can Help Your Business GROW.

Most of the time who you know is more important than what you know. This is a fact for every business person. But it is especially important when you are new to the direct marketing industry or just starting a new direct marketing business. You need to expand your contacts as fast as possible. There is no better way to do this than being part of the NMOA. Membership Will Connect You with 66 other Direct Marketing Organizations in 41 Countries.

o Find Exciting New Products to SELL.

If you are in the business of selling products through some form of direct marketing, you know that you need a constant flow of unique and interesting new products coming your way…items that are not easily found at local retail stores. That has been a fact of direct marketing in the past and it will be in the future. For 29 years the NMOA has been digging up and reporting about new products to members. Over that time our reach has spread worldwide, we have products coming in from around the world. (Check our "New Products" section on our web site for a sample.) We also run the NMOA "Hot Product Contest" each year (See Web Site) to help us find even more unique new products for you to choose from.

o Connect with Others.

Currently every NMOA Member gets to put a message in Mail Order Digest and on the NMOA web site as part of Membership to communicate with other Members. But soon we will have a brand new way for all Members to communicate with each other 24 hours a day, 365 days a year…worldwide. It will all be done through our upcoming web site; www.dmChat.com.

o Moneymaking and Moneysaving Opportunities.

Through our e-mail "Opportunity Hot Line" Members get sent the details of information we receive at the NMOA headquarters. Every day we get new opportunities sent to us from around the world, we pass this information on to you- our Members. Things like, new products available, manufacturers looking for representatives and representatives looking for manufacturers, new lower cost service suppliers/providers, businesses for sale, people looking for partnerships, companies outside the USA looking for products made in USA. The list goes on. Only when you are an NMOA Member do you get to tap into this vast resource of information and opportunities.

Why a Manufacturer, Importer or Distributor should be an NMOA Member?

o Get Your Products in Front of Merchandise Buyers Representing Resellers.

If you manufacture, import, or represent a product that you feel is suitable for direct marketing companies; Catalog Companies, Mail Order Companies, Infomercial Companies, Specialty Retailers like Kiosk vendors, etc. you should be part of the NMOA. We offer a low cost way to get the word out concerning your product(s).

o Learn to Sell Direct.

Sometimes a manufacturer is not in position to wholesale (e.g. their product can not easily be reproduced in mass) or on the other hand they just want to start selling direct to the end user, bypassing all other agents in-between. And to do this you have to learn the tricks of the trade or even find out if it's feasible to try it.

o Find Representatives for Your Products.

Many manufacturers out source the sales and marketing of their products to others. Some manufacturers have trouble finding the right people to do this or they want to expand the force that does it. By becoming an NMOA Member you put your product(s) into the NMOA international network of marketers. By doing this you expand your potential market substantially.

o Learn Lead Generation for Your In-House Sales Force.

For the manufacturers that want to keep the sales force in-house, there are three basic ways for sales people to sell.

1.) Finding calling lists for cold calling buyers.
2.) Finding suitable mailing lists and using direct mail to contact as many potential buyers as possible to get calls coming in.
3.) Publicity…sending out press releases about the product to editors of suitable magazines.

Why Industry Service Providers Should be NMOA Members. (List brokers, printers, consultants, copywriters, call centers, fulfillment houses, etc.)

o Both the Reseller and Manufacturing Members have similar needs. All need printing, all need marketing lists and contacts, many need call centers, many need fulfillment, all need creative work done, many need software, many need consultants, many need web sites and many need mailing services. The list goes on. If you provide any type of direct marketing service, you should make it available to the others by being an NMOA Member.

Why the Budding Entrepreneur Should be an NMOA Member?

o Simply Put - Education, Information and Contacts. Jumping into any form of direct marketing without the proper know-how and contacts can be financially disastrous. It's hard enough when you know what you're doing. Ongoing information and education is paramount.

Opportunities! You may not even have a concrete idea or plan of what you want to do right now, you only know you want to be involved in one facet or another related to direct marketing. When you are an NMOA Member you are exposed to many opportunities, this way when you see the one that's right for you… you can take hold of it and run.

7. Do you sell products or services? If I join, do I get a special deal when purchasing? Can I sell my products through NMOA?

Over the years we have provided many different services to help our members. Among them, Research, Ad Creation, Order Taking, Fulfillment, Product Marketing.

There are many discounts provided to NMOA members by other businesses, 401K plans, Parcel Insurance, Inbound Order Taking, Fulfillment, Special Seminars, Long Distance Phone Rates, CarRental, Airline Discounts, and many others, the list keeps growing.

We have a special membership for manufacturers to help them market their products on a wholesale basis and we are working on a new on-line retail shopping mall for all our members to sell on.

8. How do you market the organization? Word of mouth? Newsletter (subscribers)? Affiliates? Ads?

Primarily people learn about the NMOA from these places: United States Post Office, Small Business Administration, SCORE offices, libraries, major business directories, trade councils, and the Internet. We rank number 1 on Yahoo and 3 on Google when you search using the words Mail Order.

9. What does it cost to join

NMOA yearly membership dues ranges from $199.00 for Individuals/entrepreneurs to $365.00 for companies or individuals with sales over $100,000 in yearly sales.

10. How do I sign up?

We provide opportunities in Direct Marketing. People that want to do business, and not just read about it, will easily pay for their membership many times over.

John Schulte, Chairman
National Mail Order Association (NMOA)
2807 Polk Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418-2954
United States of America
http://www.nmoa.org/ Email: schu-(at)nmoa.org

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Last modified February 23, 2005