USTA Learns the 'AB&Cs' of Fulfillment

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The U.S. Tennis Association, organizer of the annual U.S. Open tournament, has hired fulfillment firm AB&C Group Inc. to handle its membership renewal services.

As part of the contract, AB&C receives replies to USTA direct-mail membership offers. The fulfillment house receives responses to USTA promotional material via mail, phone and fax. AB&C Group captures data from consumer responses and transmits it to USTA's member database. It also ships out membership packages to members who renew, including printed materials about the organization and a promotional gift, usually a hat or a T-shirt.

AB&C Group has handled fulfillment for USTA's new member acquisition direct-mail efforts since 1999. With the addition of the new contract for membership renewals, AB&C Group will now provide fulfillment services for all USTA member acquisition activities.

When USTA's relationship with AB&C was established in 1999, the association knew it had to outsource its fulfillment activities if it was to expand its membership acquisition efforts. It decided to outsource only part of its fulfillment activities initially to test the waters before moving over all its fulfillment to a outside provider.

"USTA is committed to outsourcing things that are not among its core competencies," said Steven Gregg, senior vice president of sales and marketing for McLean, VA-based AB&C Group. "They want to do it in a deliberate fashion."

AB&C's fulfillment house in Charles Town, WV, is responsible for the USTA contract. The staff working on the USTA account was expanded and given additional training so it could handle the extra workload, Gregg said.

The value of the new contract was not disclosed. Gregg said he could not release the volume of materials being processed for USTA by AB&C due to confidentiality concerns.

The 630,000-member USTA is the national governing body of tennis in the United States. In addition to staging the U.S. Open, the organization selects teams for the Davis, Fed and Pan American cups along with the Olympic Games, and holds more than 200 tournaments a year.

Other AB&C clients include National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy and the National Rifle Association. In addition to the Charles Town, WV fulfillment shop, AB&C maintains facilities in Orange and Winchester, VA, and processes millions of responses and orders each year.

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