VT Legacy Eases Path To Life Beyond Print

Posted On: 10/24/2019

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Alicia Lavay

Last month I wrote a column headlined “Giving The Market What It Wants.” I outlined the role of changing consumer desires in the invention of new concepts and refinements, and how the assimilation of those developments fosters innovation and changes the business environment.

VENDING TIMES now is taking the next step in that evolution. The November/December 2019 issue will be our final print publication – for the time being. But let me set the record straight. This is not a retreat; it is an advance in a new direction. The way we present the dialogue is changing, but we will continue engaging readers, enhancing connection and keeping the VT brand relevant.

VENDING TIMES has produced original, trusted content since 1961 and that expert journalism has been shared extensively online for the last two decades. Our online publication has grown into the industry’s most widely-viewed website, with the largest and most influential social media following. We strive to fulfill our readers’ demand for quality reporting; and advertisers who align their brand with this well received, historically respected content have an opportunity to elevate their business, build awareness and generate sales.

We know that trust is one of the most important values a successful company can possess. Trust in its products, trust in its service, trust in its people – it’s a quality that’s difficult to build but easy to lose. In today’s world of mass, instant digital information, consumers continually assess their confidence, especially if the user experience feels fleeting. At a time when any site can throw together content, a legacy print publisher can cut through the clutter to deliver higher value to its audience and its advertisers.

The personal connection between Vending Times and its audience has always been an integral part of our brand identity and one of our core values. Exchanging information, sharing best practices and talking about what works and what doesn’t are essential to success and to collective industry progress. The topics change over time, but the questions and need for information from a reputable news source remain – perhaps today more than ever.

What I enjoy most as publisher of Vending Times is speaking with people who have taken a vision and made it real. I hear many inspiring stories about this, from successful operators who have built companies in many different ways. Some started in their basements and garages, and grew by providing excellent service to one customer at a time. Others have recognized underserved market niches, seen an opportunity for applying today’s amazing technology to meeting their needs, and obtained the financial backing needed to pursue that opportunity.

One thing these diverse success stories have in common is that the people who tell them all know that vending is a “people” business. In the early days of the full-line revolution that began in the mid-1950s, the pioneers saw that the typical vending patron liked the convenience of 24/7 access to refreshments, but not the impersonality of the vending machine, and they went on to develop imaginative ways to personalize the service.

Of equal or greater importance: successful operators establish strong bonds with their locations’ decision-makers. This is done by providing responsive service, keeping promises and solving problems proactively. This commitment to service, and to business relationships is founded on trust and mutual respect.

We rely on you to tell us your stories so we can retell them, to provide guidance and information to others. Trade publishing is a vital channel through which information is presented, but as the world is evolving, the way our readers are consuming information is changing. Advertising and editorial publicity remain the best way to convey information to prospective customers. As we reinforce our proven digital platform to reflect the market that we serve, we continue to look for opportunities to offer benefits to our readers and advertisers. Please continue to reach out and share your stories with us: your challenges, your solutions and your successes. We enjoy hearing them, and other readers learn from them too.

Be sure to sign up for our Ahead of the Times email newsletter, visit our website and follow us on social media. Standing outside the industry and looking in is something we have done for a long time, and it is what makes the work so interesting.

I think every journalist feels this way; I certainly do. The world is an unpredictable place. The only real trap is getting attached to anything for reasons unrelated to the purpose it serves. We believe that the value of print still is recognized, and that the future will see the return of a balanced, multichannel approach to media. For now, the industry has spoken; we’re listening, and we’re giving the market what it wants.