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Topic: Focused marketing for Corporate work
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Apr 27, 2005 12:14PM)
I want to start doing direct mail for corporate event strolling/table hopping. I was wondering if there was one particular field that generated more interest (i.e.- lawyers, bankers, doctors, real estate, etc). Living in Chicago there are literally millions of people I could mail to but I want to focus my marketing. I thought that picking a particular profession and focusing on them might be a good way to start. Any suggestions?
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Apr 27, 2005 04:43PM)

Harvey MacKay once wrote that you have to "dance with the one that brung ya." What's your background? I suggest starting with a group you have some experience with, whether that group is someone you once worked with, something you once studied, etc. Can you show that you have some sort of understanding of their particular needs as an audience?

"My wife is a nurse.... I once studied chemestry..... My neighbor is a pharmacist, etc." You get the idea. Look for a common ground between you and the audience.

For example, I love engineers because, being a left brain thinker, I could have easily been one. I love the challenge of solving a puzzle. So do engineers. They tend to be more interested in the puzzle aspect of magic than the entertainment. Forget the jokes, just puzzle the heck out of them and you will have success with that audience. I do well with engineers and I enjoy entertaining them.

Sales people, that's a different story with me. Sure, sales departments generally have better budgets for entertainment, but they are not my best audience. Too competitive for me. I dislike the struggle for control that is a constant. Others thrive on that.

Today I do about 30% of my business with the federal governement (who would have thought!), but they are an audience that I work well with. I'm writing this from the Hotel Monoco in Washington DC after spending an entire day with members of a government agency. There were even a few engineers in the audience and we hit it right off. I suggest focusing on your strengths and find your audiences through trial and error. Build upon the successes you have every time and your business will grow naturally.

Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Apr 27, 2005 05:57PM)
Hmmm this is going to take some thinking. I have never had a job outside of performance (magic and acting). My fiance is an actress. My parents are very (very) blue collar. Honestly, I can't think of one professional person I know that isn't an entertainer. I have done a few events for technology companies that seemed to stick out in my mind. Maybe that's where I'll start.
Message: Posted by: muzicman (Apr 27, 2005 05:57PM)
I work for a company that routinely hires outside entertainment for special functions. I do not get to pick the entertainer (darnit) but I did speak to the person who does. She said, typically, they use a local talent agent vs someone that may have approached us directly. The agent will "pitch" certain entertainers based on many factors that we provide. This is how 90% of the entertainers are chosen. The other 10% is from acts that the person saw themselves or were recommended by others. Only once was an entertainer hired from contacting us directly with a demo tape. I do not know how "normal" this is, but for my company, that is how it is done.
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Apr 27, 2005 06:51PM)
Thanks. That is interesting. The corporate work I'm doing right now is through a agency. I just wanted to do more. My first step has been to contact corporate party planners and try to get more jobs. I'm still rolling around in my head what Jim said.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Apr 27, 2005 08:29PM)
You are on the right track. Find the audiences you enjoy working for, then approach those businesses. I don't think that a unsolicited direct mail promotion will result in a lot of work, but it could be part of a strategy to create name recognition. Periodic postcards to VP of Sales & Marketing for trade show workers, for example, can be part of an awareness strategy, but you will probably have to sell them in person.

I doubt that someone will hire you without you being referred by a trusted entertainment agency or them having seen you perform. The potential downside is too great. Remember that people have to watch their backs in the corporate world.

Build relationships with party planners, but also try to be visible to corporate meeting planners so they ask about you. Can you get a feature story in the publications they read?

One great strategy for reaching corporate meeting planners is through their professional associations. Offer to work as a strolling performer for an association sponsored event at less than your regular fee or even free, in exchange for a feature story in the newsletter/magazine, perhaps a few months of advertising in their publication, maybe even their mailing list (that will be a tough sell, but not impossible). Now you are in front of their members (who work in businesses), and you have some credibility, being featured in their newsletter. Anytime you get an association booking, picture each audience member as a potential lead into their company. You will get spin-off work from them.

Corporations are a tough market because people move around a lot and often committees have the responsibility for hiring entertainment. Once you get your foot in the door of a large company, build a strong relationship with your contact who becomes your advocate,selling you to the rest of the committee. They may move around within the company, and use you for other things. They may even move to another company, but they won't forget you if you make them look good.

Message: Posted by: The Village Idiots (Apr 27, 2005 10:24PM)
When I made a living giging I had over ten agents hiring me. I still booked myself 90% of the time but they made up the other ten percent. Word of mouth booked most of my work.

If I, and I am, sending out promo that costs me money I send it to agents. They get the calls.

Prune your demo for the market and find the right agent. You must provide the product.
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Apr 28, 2005 07:41AM)
Thanks Jim, and Will, Lots to think about here. Well, I'm off to a big muckedy muck financial company for there "Take your kids to work day." Business cards for everyone. Plus, I'm going to hang around a few minutes and try to do some close up for the decision makers.
Message: Posted by: bsears (Apr 28, 2005 05:00PM)
My experience is more in line with Muzicman's post. Corporations like either a referral, an agency recommendation, or having seen you. (you can't blame them when their rep and some good money is on the line).

Jim - in your opinion, does this leave "direct mailers" and "cold callers" at a huge disadvantage and, if so, what can be done to overcome it?
Message: Posted by: Tom Frank (Apr 29, 2005 03:41AM)
I will be posting some of the in's and out's of SELLING magic services on my blog.

Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Apr 29, 2005 11:35PM)
I do not think that direct mailers and cold callers are at a huge disadvantage at all. They are both legitimate marketing activities that can be part of an overall strategic campaign. It depends upon your budget (for direct mail) and motivation (for cold calling). I tend to rely much more on referrals and spin off work.

Message: Posted by: steve_seguin (May 2, 2005 11:25PM)
Tom -

I enjoyed your blog. Thanks for putting the link here.