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“Good advertising is just salesmanship in print” – Just one of the reasons we have been so successfu

“Good advertising is just salesmanship in print” – Just one of the reasons we have been so successful in business for fifty years

Famously said by a very great advertising man and by and large the promotional motto of my company UK Vending Ltd – although, we now also include every other form of media as well as print.

We are Britain’s longest serving vending company (just another way of saying we are the oldest). We’ve been around for some fifty years as a family business and we’ve been a private limited company since 1969.In our fifty or so years we have seen quite literally thousands of other vending companies come and go and probably tens of thousands of other types of business. So why are we still here and relentlessly growing year after year and even through a recession as we did through the last recession? Why do we attract new customers daily yet keep customers in some cases for forty or so years? The answer is not simple and includes of course good customer service, excellent products, affordable and reasonable pricing, sound IT systems. But what we learned half a century ago is not to keep our proverbial light hidden under a bushel. We go to market every day. We take our message out to our prospective customers and our existing customers each and every day. We know we are good so we want to tell our prospective world all about what we do and how we do it for people and businesses just like them. Our existing customers we never, ever take for granted and our offers extend to them too and are not just used to attract tomorrow’s customers.

We ask ourselves the same question of every advert or promotional item we create: “Does it at least do what a professionally trained salesperson would do”

Yes of course we are selling. We are salespeople and proud of it. When did you last hear of a good idea that didn’t need selling? Never right? Why? Because otherwise you just would not have heard of it. For most of us existing in the real business world without the financial resources of international car makers, banks or canned drinks companies we seek the biggest bang for our buck we can get. What works? A sound clear message delivered regularly. Whilst others are still contemplating whether to use a leopard or a tiger as the principle image or a serif or non-serif font, we have already arrived on our prospects desktop. Our salespeople speak a common tongue peppered with words like ‘value for money’, ‘excellent customer service’ and our other standards.

Have you noticed just how many adverts aren’t actually ‘selling’ in anything they say or do? One well known marketing man calls these sorts of adverts “promotional masturbation” designed to please the advertising designer and not achieve much by way of message delivery to prospects or any motivational selling.

Years ago it was called the ‘singer not the song’ stratagem and by and large it has never really worked. No matter how good the voice is, if the song is actually crap then it becomes somewhat pointless and unrememberable.  The big advertising agencies seek to show the differences however small between them as they pursue the same corporate clients. This means they have endlessly to come up with new differences in the same way tooth-paste adverts annually include another unpronounceable additive to make it ‘new’ and ‘improved’ and improve for a time at least its market share. So they add ever more esoteric imagery in the same way that some clothes designers march models up and down catwalks wearing creations no-one in their right mind will ever actually wear.

Sadly, what the advertisers with the biggest budget do is muddy the waters for the rest of us. A sleek and loping tiger in a forest may attract attention in an advert just before an already famous car marque comes on the screen. We already know about the car marque and the pre-imagery is there to reinforce our irrational interpretation of the marque. But how does that help the rest of us in business who don’t have the same product identity or budget? It doesn’t; in fact it hinders us because it gets in the way of our clear thinking. It makes us all aspire to this form of presentation – sleek, gimmicky and full of imagery – because we feel this is now what our public expects through their day to day conditioning and exposure. Anyone other than me remember the old mnemonic ‘KISS’ (Keep it simple stoooopid!).



Martin Button is the Managing Director of UK Vending Ltd, Britain’s longest serving vending company. UK Vending Ltd (UKV) is a national supplier of prestige vending products and a provider of unique financial packages supporting UKV sales. UKV is a family owned business started some fifty years ago by Martin’s father John. It was the first vending company anywhere in the world hosted on the internet when most had not yet heard of the World Wide Web. One of Google’s ‘naturals’, UKV had an online shop before Amazon and Ebay. UKV had a successful background in email marketing before most companies had begun to understand its power. Imaginative marketing coupled with excellent staff recruitment and management, planning and customer service may be key to UKV’s long-term success in this competitive market. However, sheer business savvy and insight is what makes it work.


UK Vending Ltd, Fort Bridgewood, Maidstone Road, Rochester, Kent. ME1 3DQ. Company No: 00952912 VAT No: 203190022
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