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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Jolly Roger's Marketing Strategies......Finally!! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ThePartyMagician
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In other words, some folks are great business men and can sell anything, even if the show isn't that great...some only have work because they are the cheapest out there...


That is an excellent point. We need to go back to asking ourselves what is it our customers really want, and how do THEY judge a show? What are they looking for?

Often, our customers do not really know the difference between a good magician and a bad magician...at first (one show will give them more of an idea, and highlight to them why you charge more than others!)

Some people will always hire the cheapest. That's just how it is. And they may be happy with that...because they haven't ever seen an outstanding entertainer. They've got nothing to judge it against.

The best advice to give somebody starting out in kids magic is to do a LOAD of shows for free for family/friends etc. until you know that you can entertain kids for 30 minutes. Then try to increase that to 45-minutes. Eventually you'll feel confident that you can entertain any group of kids, and that will be borne out by people complimenting your show and the way you control the kids...and THAT is when you should start charging (in my opinion).

From the very first show you charge for, you should spend time and energy developing your act, creating new routines and enhancing your skills as an entertainer so that you remain ahead of the game! Don't be 'just' another magician - be the BEST kids entertainer you can be.

Best regards
Mike
Jolly Roger
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"you don't have to sell magic products to supplement your income...hehe(that was a joke)"

Hello John.

I am delighted to see you have a sense of humour! I was getting worried there for a minute. By the way, thank you for purchasing my lecture notes, and for the nice comments you made about them to me in your IM!

I love your list stating a few guages that your stuff is good are...
great stuff!

As far as the other very complicated posts of yours, I actually don't think you and I have any dissagreement. You have taken a number of statements out of context which is fine. Politicians do it all the time. I bet you are a lawyer by day. Am I right? Or maybe you are a full time children's entertainer, in which case I would love to see your show, and would be happy to offer up any critique if you would like. Then you can do the same for me!
Jolly Roger
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"From the very first show you charge for, you should spend time and energy developing your act, creating new routines and enhancing your skills as an entertainer so that you remain ahead of the game! Don't be 'just' another magician - be the BEST kids entertainer you can be."

Very Sound advice, Party Magician. I totally agree. Our shows for children or adults are constantly a work in progress, and we should never rest on our laurels!
Kent Wong
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This is a truly interesting post. I've been practicing the art of magic for close to 40 years. I've been practicing the business of magic for the last 30. These are two very different aspects of the same field and they should not be confused.

I "practice the art of magic". It's a practice because everyone interprets art in their own way and there's alway's room for improvement. For instance, from a artistic perspective, some people love David Blaine while others can't stand the sight of him. Some criticize him for the simple, commercia magic he performs. Others don't like the personality he conveys.

But does Blaine think he's a good magician? I bet he does. How does he know he's good? Money, Ratings, Repeat Network Specials - these objective feedback criteria may give him a clue.

Unfortunately, the average professional magician doesn't have these criteria to rely upon. He may give out feedback questionaires to his clients. He may track his success rate at repeat bookings. And he may have the benefit of comparing his show to other colleagues in his area. But that's really about it. Just like any other entertainer, all he can do is prepare, rehearse, perform and listen.

From an artistic perspective, the magician has an inherent responsibiliy to himself and his audience to constantly improve his act. But there is no governing association that sets out the minimum standards or regulates when a person is "qualifed" to perform for a paying audience. That is the inherent misnomer in calling magic a "Professin" - there is no officially recognized, self-governing body.

As a result, there is a dichotomy between ethical responsibility and legal obligation. Business is only required to concern itself with the latter (I'm not saying this is how it sould be, but simply a sad testament to current reality). Anyone is legally entitled to go out and pursue the business of magic, even if he has a show that is ethically repugnant to show in public.

If the entrepreneur believes he has a saleable product (notice I did not say good), he has the legal right to make a buck with it. Yet, the reality is that many people do not have a good product or a good business plan. This is why 90% of all businesses fail in the first 3 years. I'm sure, however, that if you had spoken to any one of those 90% at the beginning of their business, they would have had ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE in their ultmate success.

Does this mean they shouldn't have started their business until the product was much improved? That's like telling a young couple they shouldn't have children until they are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN they will be good parents. If you set the bar that high, it'll never happen.

Good business (like good parents) simply try their best. They learn from their mistakes, improve, and move on. That's really all any of us can do.

I agree with the statement that you need to approach the business magic with a great deal of self confidence. After all, you are the product. If you don't have the confidence to sell yourself, you won't be in business for long.

But, I've never agreed with a "hard sell" approach to marketing. That always reminds me of a U.S. Presidential Election Campaign - Extremely Annoying! Instead, I believe in target marketing. There's only so much time in a day and only so much money you can send on marketing, so be sure to invest your time and money where you will get the biggest return on your investment.

For instance, JR probably doesn't go out and advertise his banner on automotive web sites. That just wouldn't make sense. But, there are over 27,000 registered members here on the Café, all of whom have an interest in magic. That's a market that could be very receptive to buying his products. If he can sell to 10% of the members on a yearly basis, that's a very good livng. So, he places a banner on the Café. That's target marketing.

But an ad, in and of itself, is not a proactive way to generate business. You also need to make sure your name and your products stay wthin the minds of potential consumers. That's known as generating "top of mind awareness". That's why JR actively participates in the discussions here at the Café. Discussions can reveal his professionalism and experience, and they can inspire confidence in his products and in him as a busnessperson. But, generating that top of mind awareness is a fine line, and you can easily go from helpful to pushy.

So, here are my thoughts so far on this matter:

1. Have what you confidently believe to be a very good product;
2. Know that there is always room to improve and constantly strive to do so;
3. Select the "targets" you want to hit with your marketing and develop cost effective strategies to reach those markets;
4. Continually provide the target market with "value added" elements to your marketing campaign in order to generate positive, top of mind awareness.

I'll add more of my thoughts later but, my fingers feel as though they are about to fall off. Smile

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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<BR>www.kentwongmagic.com
Jolly Roger
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Kent.............

I have to say that is the best post I have seen by anyone since I first joined the Magic Café! Brilliant, and you are absolutley correct. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, and for enlightening some of the muggles out there who may not yet fully get it! Please post again when and if you have more thoughts on the matter! Roger
Jonathanmc
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So let me see if I have a sequence of events a person might follow from wanna be to working professional (at least two or three shows a month qualifies here) taking diverse ideas from the posts here and some of my own.

Prior to building a show
1. Watch other magicians. Video, live, youtube, TV. Whatever.
2. Decide what you do and do not like in other performers.
3. Decide on what kind of routines are interesting to you and that you would want to perform.


Building a show
1. You have read and re-read Dennis Michael’s fantastic post on routines and putting shows together
2. You have built solid routines using a variety of resources
3. You have a good opener, middle sections and a good closer.
4. You build in appropriate humor and find humor in neutral material


You need to be able to present it well.
1.You can be on auto pilot with the handling if needed to focus on your audience.
2. You know how to guide your audience to have the kind of behavior that will allow them to enjoy the show.
3.You can hold the attention throughout the show.

You will know that you have done the last two correctly if.
1. Feedback from your audience is what you were looking for.
Smiles, laughing, Clapping, Appropriate interaction with audience.
2. Attention doesn’t wane and the adults in the room are entertained as well, or at least not so bored they talk loudly.
3.People tell you after the show how good a job you have done. Teachers and party planners get extra points for being good critique givers.
4.You get referrals.
When and if you ever get negative critique you use it to ask yourself the questions that will make your act better. But in the end you trust yourself and maybe two or three other people you trust for most of your feedback.

Ongoing
1. You keep creating new and original routines.
2. You hone the ones you already have.
3. You tape yourself and look for the areas you think you could improve in.
4. You are willing to show the tape to successful people in the biz to get their opinion.
John C
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On 2006-10-30 14:54, John Bowlin wrote:
all the kids run up to you at the end of your show(not running up to your props)
all the mothers run up to you(and not at you) after your show


...what if they run AFTER you? Is that good?

John
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Jolly Roger
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John C........are you talking about the mothers or the kids running after you? I'll take the mothers any time!! JR
John Bowlin
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Depends on whether you are single and whether you are referring to the mothers or the kids.
Excellent last few posts, nice to see this place getting back to objectivity. Smile
Jolly Roger
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Now you are copying my humour, John!!!
MagicRabbit
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On 2006-10-30 15:49, jolly roger wrote:
"From the very first show you charge for, you should spend time and energy developing your act, creating new routines and enhancing your skills as an entertainer so that you remain ahead of the game! Don't be 'just' another magician - be the BEST kids entertainer you can be."

Very Sound advice, Party Magician. I totally agree.


Then why does your self-posted video:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9025835901619626916
have you performing the same old standard Dai Vernon linking rings?

That's a carbon copy performance with a hack music track.

I think you talk too much junior and now your falling into traps.

Can you take critisism like you say and actually consider it?
Let's see,

I think your video shows a sub-standard performance.

1. you look at the rings WAY too much instead of the audience (that goes back to magic 101, you should know better, junior)

2. it appears that your audience is children, although your outfit fits your audience, your slow played perfromance of rings set to that music does NOT. It really goes with a suit & tie magician, don't you think? Again, a professional knows if your going to do somrething like rings for a kiddie group, you want to do more of a volunteer based, comedy routine. This keeps the interest of the young audience longer. As the Amazing Jonathan says; "those rings can bore the hell out of an audience"

3. Your "move" sucks. It looks unpracticed to be honest. Your double ring switch was painfully obvious also.

4. The applause sounds very scattered and apologetic. If I hear that, the item comes out of the show until it is modified correctly.

I hear a lot of talk here, but talk is cheap. You think your "strategies" are winning a lot of people over (whatever that means), the funny thing is, you'll NEVER know how many you are turning away.

But your starting to get a whiff now...
Donald Dunphy
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I was gone for a day, so missed some action. This thread (after edited) went in a fairly good direction.

We talked about how it IS important to work on your act and make it the best possible. Poor performance is not "good enough". We talked about gauges for that, so one can be realistic and not look at their own performance through rose-coloured glasses. (BTW, customer's feedback on my show is much more important to me than feedback from other entertainers.)

Even though Roger has chosen to leave, I think it would be nice to let the conversation continue. We've only tapped into part of the topic.

So now that a person has created a commercial, marketable act, how does one saturate their market so that you can get the most money? I mean, it is not evil to earn a living, even a good living, from doing shows.

Do you go in with a short-term plan, or a long-term plan?

Do you choose what you offer (entertainment options) based on what you prefer, or based on what you think the potential customers want? Do you consider "new" ideas and test market them as well? (Example: magic classes and party games, in addition to shows.) Do you look at a USP (Unique Selling Position) for your business, or do you let your USP be yourself and your professionalism?

Do you try and do lots of shows for lower pay, so that lots of people can see you? Do you keep doing that year after year, or do you eventually change your strategy at some point?

Will that strategy of lots of shows for little pay really work, or are we fooling ourselves again?

By showing your performance to more people, do you really end up with lots of qualified show leads?

Also, what do you say or do at those shows so that people know what you do (how you can help them in their specific situation), and know to contact you (as opposed to anyone else)?

What is too little, what will work effectively, and what is overboard when marketing/promoting at a show, in parent magazine/yellow pages/newspaper ads, in phone call selling, and in mailings?

Do you focus on marketing to the kids, the parents, the potential event organizers, someone else, or all of those? Do you market to each of those types of people in a different way from the other?

What will draw the most amount of genuine leads? Surely there must be some actions that we think might work, but actually because they aren't enough, or the opposite -- go overboard, they don't end up earning the MOST amount of genuine leads. What is the right balance on the scale of promotion?

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Jolly Roger
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Harold Wilson, the famous British Labour Prime Minister, said that a week is a long time in politics. Absence from the Magic Café for 24 hours seems like a lifetime!! I would also like to thank you all for the many emails and IMs of support I have received from so many of you. The general tone from you all is that you have urged me to come back and make some posts. So I have succumbed to what you are asking, and I will post from time to time, and hopefully make a contribution to magicians helping magicians.........which is what it is all about.

It is not right that I should respond to Magic Rabbit's critique of my Linking Rings alone, so I am copying a post from another forum by a very well-known magician who has a different perspective on my Vernon Rings routine. I would be interested to learn what others feel. I used to perform the Rings to patter with the kids, but I find working it silent like Vernon originally suggested is the best way for me. It is a great contrast to the rest of my show, which is predominately comedy magic and silly stuff...and trust me, the grown-ups love it!!

Quote:
As one of the world's greatest magicians, I can assure the Rabbit that there is nothing whatever wrong with Roger's routine. To say that it is "the same old standard Vernon routine" is palpable nonsense. If the ring routine was good enough for the legendary Vernon, it should be good enough for Roger.

There is some speculation by magical historians that the routine was actually Cardini's, and that it was taught to Vernon by the master manipulator himself. I don't know if this is true or not, but I would be happy to perform a routine by either Cardini or Vernon.

His other criticism is untrue about Roger doing the thing to music and not having volunteers up. On the contrary, having the contrast of a musical interlude is a very good thing. There is plenty of fun and audience participation already in Roger's show, so it does make a pleasant change to do the Rings the way he does; and it also shows the audience that he can actually do magic, and the show is not ALL silliness.

In fact, I was quite surprised myself to see how well he did the Rings, since I never associated it with him. Roger is not known for clever manipulation stuff, and I didn't expect it from him.

I like the way he swings the rings about and, since he is quite tall, it has a very good visual effect.

The "scattered applause" the Rabbit refers to was quite impressive to me, since anyone that entertains children know that kids don't applaud spontaneously; and in fact rarely applaud at all, unless you tell them to.

As for the criticism of Roger looking at the Rings rather than the audience, that is nitpicking of the first order. The kids are looking at the Rings not Roger's no doubt charming countenance, and they have enough to distract their attention. Rings are big, so less looking at the audience is necessary; although, I suppose a little now and then doesn't do any harm.

I would normally prefer a Ring routine, myself, for kids where you chatter away to them and bring them up on stage. However, in Roger's case, I think what he does is perfectly acceptable and entertaining in the context of his whole performance. It makes a great contrast to the rest of the show.
John Bowlin
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Let's be real here. The ring routine was obviously entertaining for it's audience. I, myself, saw it as a nice performance. There is a visual conflict for many people, I'm sure, of seeing an elegant style routine performed by someone in a clownish type outfit. JR was performing for kids, so one must look past the adult perspective. Most magicians have a hard time appreciating almost any ring routine that is short of revolutionary or totally new in routine. I doubt there is anyone on this forum that couldn't improve their ring routine, both mechanically and stylistically. This was not a video of JR's FISM competition. Let's move on. JR seems content with his routine, and I doubt he's looking for a critique.
Donald Dunphy
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Welcome back, Roger. Smile

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
chris mcbrien
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MOST excellent! Smile
Jolly Roger
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Hello, John and Donald........I have missed you both. My afternoon tea was lonely without my cyberspace buddies! Although I live in Arizona, I am still very British. I have my afternoon tea and crumpets every day at 4.30pm, unless I have a show like I did today.
How was everybody's Halloween? Mine was delightful. I have this English Butler Zombie that moves, and we put him outside the door. The kids touched it, and it moves it's head and talks. You will see a pic of it when I am doing Nick Einhorn's In-Flight in my adult video. A lot of the little kids think of him as real. At one point I pretended to be the butler, and the kids said "trick or treat" to Albert (that's his name). Then I jumped out from behind the wall, and scared the living daylights out of them! But, isn't that what's meant to happen on Halloween?
Jolly Roger
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Hello Chris.....my favourite storyteller, and one of the most creative talents on the Café. Good of you to check in...........
Scott O.
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Yes, Welcome, Roger! Smile Do stay and chat awhile.

Let's get back to those marketing strategies, shall we? Smile
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Jolly Roger
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Hello, Scott. I am deeply honoured that you have put the welcome banner up for me. Yes, we will get back to the marketing strategies, but maybe not until the morning. I had a two hour party in a park this afternoon, and I have been working on my FISM act most of this evening; so I need to take a few hours kip shortly.....and the termite man is coming to the house early in the morning. I cannot believe they charge over $1000 to make a few termites disappear, when I can make a child disappear in my act for less than $50. The world ain't fair!!
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