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Topic: Marketing Firm Yes or No???
Message: Posted by: pikacrd (Oct 5, 2004 02:31PM)
I have been taking some time reading all of the different threads under this sub-topic in the café and have found a lot of good advice as well as some that if used could be disastrous to anyone’s career. That is why I am posting this question / subject; and the question is this Do you or have you ever used a Professional Marketing Firm to help you with the marketing of your act, show, person etc…

This question came to me as I read other topic posts regarding photographs, headshots, web pages, press kits and other general marketing advice that magicians are requesting on this board. What I have deducted is that there are some very savvy people here who are quite talented when it comes to how they market themselves and have some good advice but some advice from the same people on other topics is just insane. For the sake of not flaming anyone in particular I do not want to mention any names or give an example, which is not what this post is intended to do. What I am attempting to do is find out if anyone besides myself has ever hired a real professional marketing firm (not a friend of a friend who knows how to build a web page or a former Pro Magician turned marketing “expert”) to work with them to achieve there goals in this particular field and if so what were the positives and what where the negatives of the experience that you had?

I myself have had very positive results and found it worth the money that I spent to hire a firm that could do almost all of the leg work and creation of all of the professional marketing collateral that was needed while I could concentrate on performing and practicing. Please keep in mind that I no longer do magic full time and am currently like a lot of the part time pros who supplement their income with the shows that they currently do, so I understand that the money needed to do this can be cost prohibitive but when I depended on magic as my sole source of income it was well worth the money spent to me.

I would like to see what you all have to say.

Message: Posted by: TheDean (Oct 7, 2004 03:58PM)
Looks like no-one else has answered cuz I think you've answered you own question here.

IF it works for you, why wouldn't you continue to do it?

[quote]"I myself have had very positive results and found it worth the money..."[/quote]

Like I said, do what works for you.

My own experience is much different. I have found it to be a complete rip-off... UNLESS you are ego-driven and only aim to try and win some advertising awards that do NOT help advance your business or don't care about how much REAL business you get as a result of the money you spend.

Don't shoot the messenger! It's just my own experience and that of my friends and other business relationships who have since come to their senses.

Again, just our experience. You may find others who have enjoyed some sort of result with agencies too… who knows.

I am at your service and In His Service,
Message: Posted by: pikacrd (Oct 7, 2004 09:26PM)
That is exactly the type of response that I was looking for. I was not attempting to get anyone to agree with me or disagree with me just attempting to create some conversation regarding professional marketing in general and how the members of the Café feel about it and how it relates to getting more shows.

I do wonder what type of experience that you had or who you used as a marketing group to help you out. If you felt that there services were that bad you must have gotten one that did not do the job for you the way you expected.

I do agree with you that there are many rip off programs out there most of which are being sold by magicians containing nothing more than rehashed marketing 101 information that you need to put together for yourself. This is common sense stuff that most of us have already it is just packaged in a fancy wrapper. This is not the type of marketing company that I used. I used a company who spent several weeks with me watching me perform learning about me and what or more importantly who I am. They staffed professional photographers web designers, printing, and copy writing teams that all sat with me when it came time to design my package. I will add that it was not cheep but I did get the type of corporate shows out of it that I was looking for and increased my bottom line earnings by over 110% in year one. I know that I could have done a lot of the work myself and saved some money but what it did for me was allowed me to use the time that I would have spent producing the materials my self more creatively. I was also able to book into markets that I do not think I would have gotten into with out a professional package.

I guess over all I just wonder why more magicians do not use a professional company to put together there packages that they are going to hand out to attempt to get work.

Thanks for the time spent responding I hope that more members take the time to respond to this thread as I am very interested in what anyone has to say on this topic.

Message: Posted by: TheDean (Oct 8, 2004 01:08AM)
Like I've already said... as long as it worked for YOU, you may wish to keep doing it.

Easy, YES?

I am at your service and In His Service,
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 8, 2004 10:00AM)
On 2004-10-07 22:26, pikacrd wrote:
I do agree with you that there are many rip off programs out there most of which are being sold by magicians containing nothing more than rehashed marketing 101 information that you need to put together for yourself. This is common sense stuff that most of us have already it is just packaged in a fancy wrapper. [/quote]

Kris -

This is very interesting. While I own very few of the magic marketing programs, I do agree that a serious business person should read and learn about marketing and business, from a large personal library of good books from outside the magic industry.

For some magicians, even some who have been around a long time, "Marketing 101" isn't common sense, because they don't know where to read, or haven't read. However, for you personally, these marketing courses by magicians seem to be "rehashed Marketing 101." But to those others, it would be new and valuable information. And depending upon your attitude, even those who have been there and have read a lot (such as myself), it was nice to see it presented again in a new way, to be reminded of the basics.

Personally speaking, I would not pay a Professional Marketing Firm to design my portfolio, as I thought that I understood enough about that topic (from reading and learning from different sources) to take that on myself. So, for me personally, designing an effective portfolio was "101 level."

For some entertainers, who have more money that time, or perhaps little interest in the topic, can take a more hands off approach. No problem with that, as long as the company you work with delivers real tangible "cash in your wallet" results.

It sounds as though you found a very good company that effectively researched you and your needs before delivering on an effective product. Great news indeed to hear this can happen!

- Donald

P.S. I don't agree that most marketing courses by magicians are "rip-offs", in my limited experience. I also don't think that Dean said exactly that either. Perhaps you misunderstood him. He said in his experience with [b]Professional Marketing Firms[/b], was that most were "a rip-off", unless you are ego driven, because they tend not to produce tangible results. Dean's Yellow Page story is a great example to back his opinion -- you'll have to ask him for the link, where it is posted on The Dean's List.
Message: Posted by: pikacrd (Oct 8, 2004 10:33AM)
Thanks for the time spent responding. I have read quite a few of your posts in the past and have found them to be very well thought out.

I would like to clarify that my opinions regarding marketing stem from my study of the subject during my collage years. I love the topic and wished that I had followed it as a career path. This is why I guess I feel so strongly about it. The major problems that I have with some of the products that are being sold are that they seem to pass along a thought that if I buy these courses and follow the step by step instructions I will get rich. Again this is my opinion I am not attempting to put words in anyone’s mouth. I purchased a few of the courses while writing my thesis for school I also purchased a few of the other programs that are not directed at magicians to see what value they provided, and other than the fact that they put the information in one place I did not find a lot of real value that could not be obtained from going to the library and taking your time to study the subject. This brings me back to why I chose to use a Professional Marketing Firm to create my package. I wanted a professional looking presentation. Something that looked like the materials that the companies I have worked for were handing out at trade shows. Not something that looked like it was printed on my home printer or filmed with my personal video camera. I also wanted something that was cleverly drafted in a manner that would stand out from crowd. Having a company that was willing to spend the time working with me on this was a huge value to me.

I guess what I do not understand is that industry such as magic where people are going after business with major companies why don’t more people do this. Do you think it is because of the cost? Or do you think that as magicians because we are prone to being creative people and that we feel that we can do it on our own? There is no correct answer here I am just wondering what people think.

I admire the creativity of people who do things on there own but I also admire the creativity of professionals who do this for a living. In my case I just want to be presented as first class. I have spent far too much time working on my magic and my craft for it to get pushed aside on a Marketing Directors desk because of less than industry standard package when I am going after a job. So I think that the real question is if you spend hundreds of hours working on perfecting your act, or material why would you go with anything less than the best when it comes to marketing yourself?

Again I hope to here how others feel about this.

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Oct 8, 2004 10:44AM)
Kris -

I see your point. Allow me to illustrate with an example.

I had read Dale Carnegie's book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." I really liked it, and tried to apply the strategies as best I could.

Understanding others, communicating effectively, and also building relationships is essential to being an effective sales person, and also being a person who relates well with others.

So, because I saw the value in this, I took the Dale Carnegie Training. I have taken both the "Dale Carnegie Course in Human Relations, Communication and Leadership" (commonly known as the Dale Course) and also the "Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage Course". They were of tremendous value to me in my business, and would be invaluable for other entertainers to participate in.

Getting along with others, and building relationships, is what our business is all about. And the courses are so much more than just reading the books, they are ways of learning, and more importantly, DOING the material in a lasting way, that produces tangible, life-altering results.

Just like you wonder why magicians (who want to be professional) would not be serious students of marketing, I wonder why they would not be serious students of relationship materials and training.

A magician / marketer can have the most beautiful marketing materials in the world, but blow it by having poor human relation skills.

- Donald

P.S. Some people have the mistaken impression that Dale Carnegie is about public speaking, and akin to Toastmasters. I would recommend that they do some more research before reaching that conclusion. :)
Message: Posted by: pikacrd (Oct 8, 2004 12:06PM)

Now we are cooking with butter. This is the type of conversation that I was looking for with this topic. You have hit the nail on the head with your illustration.

I have also studied the Carnegie books and courses. I loved them I have found them to be life changing studies that are invaluable to me within my day to day life as well as in my professional career, as a Magician, and in my current career field. I was sent to NYC to take the courses several years ago by a firm that I worked with and have always attempted to follow the principals taught.

Again thanks for your post.
Message: Posted by: spkrosky (Oct 8, 2004 01:49PM)
I am of the mind that perhaps it depends on your market as to how much you should spend onyour materials. While there is no hard and fast rule, I think most magicians who want to succeed in the big time need top notch materials that really can only be provided by a firm. No entertainment director for a cruise line, casino, big corporation, etc. will be impressed by a few color copies and a clumsy video. On the other hand, Topher Grace was cast on That 70's show from a high school play. So your act may stand on its own and you might get lucky. But if you are targeting schools or a smaller, less demanding market, and you have the skills and know-how, you may not have to invest in a big professional package if you can do a nice one yourself. But eventually when trying to hook the big fish, you'll have to use bigger bait.