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Mindpro
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(long post warning...)


Since it was brought up in a very interested way in another thread I thought the topic warranted its own thread on the topic of Consumer vs. Professional performance markets.

This issue is an interesting one as I have regularly noticed that for some reason most performers who serve the consumer markets, get their features ruffled and undies in a bunch in reference to or conversation of this issue. It seems they seem to accept the consumer market as an insult or low-level reference or label bestowed upon them.

So to first clarify, that is an improper perception, caused or created typically by defensiveness and perhaps personal pride (and lack of true information in the reference). It seems to be an initial reaction usually based on a lack of actual understanding. It seems most common with disc jockeys and magicians (for a sole reason I may later touch upon later). So please understand, this is not in any way, shape or form meant as a diss, negative perception or degrading reference to those that serve consumer markets, but rather only as an informative and educational thread to create the proper clarity and understanding on an entertainment business topic that is quite relevant and plays a key part in the business operations (and I believe success) of performers who operate on this level of markets.

So the first question I am almost always asked when this topic is presented is “what exactly are consumer performance markets?” This is closely followed by “what is the difference in consumer vs. professional markets, and why is this important or how does this apply to my business?”

For the purpose of simplicity (trust me it can go much deeper that I will go in this post) the consumer market is any entertainment or performance market that serves the general or lay public, lay customers and/or purchasers, usually with little, no or at best minimal knowledge in hiring a performer or hosting an event. Also their event is usually an event for family, friends or other types non-professionals attendees in both/either events or atmosphere. Now again, this in no way means low-end events, bottom-barrel gigs, low-paying bookings, or any kind of second-rate or less than optimal bookings or events.

It is simply events or bookings that serve consumer events or venues, hosted by lay consumers (who have never booked or hosted such events before or perhaps only occasionally, but not as a professional or in a professional capacity.

Consumer markets include kids birthday parties, graduation parties, retirements, anniversaries, some aspects of weddings, company picnics or holiday parties, scouting events, school parties and end of year celebrations, many park district events, some municipal events, parades, block parties, home parties, church events, local country club events, many fundraising events, family and class reunions, parking lot events, grand openings, classic car shows, arts & crafts shows, most local mall performances, community theater productions, restaurants, senior homes and communities, most nightclubs, social clubs, fraternal organizations, private clubs, etc.

Professional markets on the other hand are markets operated, booked and attended by professionals. These booking representative either do this professionally in a regular capacity, or as a primary function of their overall positions These are often are positions, board members, committee or department chairs, HR professionals, agents and agencies, professional event planners, DMCs, entertainment directors, etc. These are professional people that produce professional events for a professional market. Typically not social events (can be professional social events) but rather events in more of a professional setting for professional attendees in professional circles.

These can include true corporate events (not picnics or holiday parties, non-spouse events) such as training events, sales events, trade shows, conferences, conventions, association events, industry/trade events, weddings, schools, colleges, theater circuit, cruise lines, auto shows, food and liquor promotions, touring productions, amusement parks, fairs, festivals, resorts, casinos and so on. Most venues or markets operated and by a governing association, union or entity.

Serving, targeting and operating in these two areas is completely different for a number of reasons, mainly because of expectations, levels of professionalism and how these two types of markets operate quite differently from each other.

Hopefully you can immediately see how approaching, serving, marketing and targeting these two segments of our industry would be completely different in many - in nearly all aspects.

There are pros and cons to each one. Both have benefits and detriments. These can both work to our advantage as performers and entertainers, while they can also work against us.

Both offer opportunity for performers and decent booking opportunities. However both operate from completely different perspectives, levels of expectation and execution.

In my live training events and many of my resources I talk about the “performers default approach” to entertainment,. It is the way most of us start in this business - how we create our performance, how we then decide to perform for others, then decide to perform for pay, and for some then continue on to become a professional performer either part-time or full-time. We start with a consumer-level approach because in the beginning that is is low hanging fruit, the most accessible chance or opportunity, to begin as a paid performer. However, few understand the premise of having to make a conscious decision to change from this initial default approach and simply remain performing consumer-level operations. Some will pick up bookings for company picnics, holiday or christmas parties and maybe some kind of grand opening or local company events, and misclaim or falsely believe they are “working the corporate market” or believe they are now “a corporate entertainer.” Again, their perception, not that of the actual industry.

Once properly identified and accepted, the concept of understanding consumer vs, professional markets can then allow you to formulate your business, approach, marketing and operational techniques to be designed to be most direct and optimal for your desired and intended type and level of performance market.

The problem seen regularly in the industry is when consumer-level performers don’t understand this or believe or attempt that they can simply also work professional market events, Sure some can get by by the seat of their pants and may try to pull it off, but are soon easily identified by the professionals in these professional markets.

This is also the often unseen (or unaware) factor to many consumer-level performers that book in the $300-1200 price range, that often have trouble understanding or believing when they hear of other similar performers (same type of performer or discipline) that are earning $2,300, $2,500, $3,000 or even $10,000 per booking, when they are not. It’s not that they have better marketing, promotional materials, website, or have some secret that you don’ t have, no, it’s simply they are serving a completely different level market than you may be if you are serving consumer markets and they are serving the professional markets. It is really two completely separate things. However, price is not always as it appears either, as I know many top name professional performers that work certain professional markets for $250-$300 per show, so it is not always as perceived.

This is also related directly to understanding the difference between company events (usually consumer) and corporate events (professional). These often get lumped together and seen as the same to most consumer-level performers, when are actually quite different. Much like the fair & festival markets often get lumped together, when in reality they are two separate and different markets (just to provide another example).

This issue is rarely even offered in magic or marketing programs or courses where the creator may work professional markets at professional pay, and yet most they target or sell to are consumer-market performers who stand almost no chance of getting the 5 figure bookings they creator is touting. To me this alone sets most up for disappointment and failure that buys most of these courses.

I’m sure you all hear “all courses, trainings, coaches, etc. are not all the same,” however you are rarely told why. There are many reason like this, but this is just one (as there are many others as well). I’m convinced the majority of these guys don’t fully understand this themselves or it would be more commonly known and understood (but then of course there would also be many more misconceptions about it as well, so maybe we are better off).

I bring up this topic to establish the difference Donald and others have inquired about in other threads, and as a starting point for content not often or easily accessible in normal entertainment circles (especially to consumer level performers). This is well known in many aspects of the entertainment industry, just not as much on the consumer level performer level. As I regularly state, entertainment business operate on many levels, not just the surface levels or “default” levels as often accepted. This, along with entertainment businesses operating differently than conventional business with an entirely different set of rules is something rare;y understood by most consumer-level performers.

As I discuss on my Working With Agents & Agencies book, this is one of the greatest reasons why performers get rejected immediately from agents and agencies, They submit to an agency the serves the professional marketplace, yet they, their materials and their performance and operations are consumer-level performances. This is immediately identified, and they are immediately discarded and of no interest to agencies. It’s not that they sucked, weren’t decent performers, no, it was that they did not serve the markets of the agent or agency.

Once understood and accepted, this can be a major game changer in your business operations, and level of success. Unfortunately most don’t realize this until they are already into the thick of performing and operations (the same goes for speakers as well). I believe this is a foundational level issue that I include in my coaching and training as an initial foundational determination element, so everything you do from the beginning of establishing your business is based on many of these crucial foundational decisions of which this is one of very significance.

This topic, along wth other foundational elements, including what is considered “a professional” and other closely related topics for entertainers are all included in my Las Vegas Lecture Notes from my last lecture and training workshop.

Hope this creates some clarity for those unfamiliar with this concept. Thanks to Walter for bringing up the topic here recently, although it has regularly been brought up previously as I and others have addressed this here several times before.
TomBoleware
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Mindpro,

Thanks for trying to clarify this. (And honestly that is not a smart remark.)

You seem to be saying that it depends on who is sitting in the audience whether it is a consumer or 'professional' show.

Aren’t you just renaming what has always been called a 'corporate' show to 'professional' show.

Anyway, I will only burden you with one simple question, ISN’T THE AUDIENCE ALWAYS THE END USER, THE CONSUMER?

If so, then ALL shows would be performed to the consumer market.


Hopefully some others will chine in saying it is clear to them.


Tom
Do What Others Do And You Will Become Average

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WDavis
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Tom,

The largest differentiator is buyers intent. A company only hires someone to:
1. Generate revenue ( ex. Trade show workers)
2. Reduce costs (ex.cruise line workers- cheaper to 1099 than w2)
3. Save time or make a process smoother (ex. training event workers to keep attendees interested)

The consumer isn't looking for those reasons.

To answer your question,
Quote:
Anyway, I will only burden you with one simple question, ISN’T THE AUDIENCE ALWAYS THE END USER, THE CONSUMER?


No they are not. There are 3 parties in the typical business relationship. Seller, buyer, ultimate beneficiary. The seller is the magician,the buyer the company (also a beneficiary of the result of sellers work to ultimate beneficiary), and the ultimate beneficiary the direct recipient of sellers goods.

In a way it is like the manufacture retailer and customer for shoes. The manufacture (Nike or in my example a magician) produces a product that is delivered to the customer (consumer) , the retailer is the corporate providing the shoes to consumer. The consumer is an individual yes, but the relationship between consumer and magician doesn't truly exist. The relationship is between magician and company. The consumer is in a relationship with company.

I'll think of a better example for you later and write a clearer explanation, happy Easter everyone I'm off to be with family.
TomBoleware
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Thanks Walter. Much appreciated.
Happy Easter,
Tom
Do What Others Do And You Will Become Average

The Daycare Magician Book
www.amazekids.com/magic-downloads/childrens-magic-ebooks/the-daycare-magician/

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Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On Apr 16, 2017, TomBoleware wrote:
Mindpro,

Thanks for trying to clarify this. (And honestly that is not a smart remark.)

You seem to be saying that it depends on who is sitting in the audience whether it is a consumer or 'professional' show.

Aren’t you just renaming what has always been called a 'corporate' show to 'professional' show.

Anyway, I will only burden you with one simple question, ISN’T THE AUDIENCE ALWAYS THE END USER, THE CONSUMER?

If so, then ALL shows would be performed to the consumer market.


Hopefully some others will chine in saying it is clear to them.


Tom


The question is who is in that audience and why?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
thomasR
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"
Serving, targeting and operating in these two areas is completely different for a number of reasons, mainly because of expectations, levels of professionalism and how these two types of markets operate quite differently from each other. "

What levels of professionalism do you expect in a consumer vs. professional market?

The biggest difference in my experience is when working in the Professional Market there are professionals (producers, stage managers, etc.) in place who will tell you what to do... when you arrive they have load in times, sound check times, etc. all laid out and they expect you to fall into those exact times.

In the Consumer Market, they are looking to you to let them know what is needed. They will want their hands to be held every step of the way and you will have to explain simple things over and over again to each customer.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Apr 16, 2017, TomBoleware wrote:
Mindpro,

Thanks for trying to clarify this. (And honestly that is not a smart remark.)
You seem to be saying that it depends on who is sitting in the audience whether it is a consumer or 'professional' show.

Aren’t you just renaming what has always been called a 'corporate' show to 'professional' show.

Anyway, I will only burden you with one simple question, ISN’T THE AUDIENCE ALWAYS THE END USER, THE CONSUMER?

If so, then ALL shows would be performed to the consumer market.

Hopefully some others will chine in saying it is clear to them.

Tom



Congratulations Tom (seriously) you touched on the one thing I wished I has clarified a bit more but after re-reading I thought the post was already long enough.

But to address your question, when I said "attended by professionals" with reference to professional markets, it was in the context of corporate, association and trade events, but the attendees are not necessarily a a main factor to all professional markets at all. There are many professional markets such as weddings, amusement parks, resorts, casinos, theaters, cruises and so on that while professional markets, the attendees, guests or audiences are not industry professionals and may be lay or public audiences. So no, it is not dependent on the audience at all necessarily.

Who is sitting in the audience does not matter at all. They aren't necessarily in the professional market or the professional buyers, bookers or representatives.

No, not all shows are for the consumer market, as I mentioned with trade shows, industry events, association events, sales meetings, trainings, etc.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Apr 16, 2017, thomasR wrote:
"
Serving, targeting and operating in these two areas is completely different for a number of reasons, mainly because of expectations, levels of professionalism and how these two types of markets operate quite differently from each other. "

What levels of professionalism do you expect in a consumer vs. professional market?

The biggest difference in my experience is when working in the Professional Market there are professionals (producers, stage managers, etc.) in place who will tell you what to do... when you arrive they have load in times, sound check times, etc. all laid out and they expect you to fall into those exact times.

In the Consumer Market, they are looking to you to let them know what is needed. They will want their hands to be held every step of the way and you will have to explain simple things over and over again to each customer.




Yes, in professional markets there are many more expectations and other professionals you are working with and typically at an advanced level of production, execution and as I said expectation. Unions and union venues are often involved, professional venues, sound and lighting (audio/visual) performance production, etc.

Going back to Walter B2B reference, here it is Professional to Professional.

In consumer markets you are often looked at as the authority and the one to inform, educate, guide and lead. This is one of the greatest benefits to operating in the consumer market, is you are in a fantastic position of authority when done, executed and positioned properly. This is much easier accomplished in the consumer market. You are expected to usually do it all (sound, crew, setup, operation, performance, etc.
TomBoleware
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Thanks Mindpro.

thomasR, had a good example there too. A market filled with many professionals may very well merit being called a professional market.

“It’s a market made up of many professionals” I can buy that.

Hey keep'em coming, I’m getting it. Smile

Tom
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www.amazekids.com/magic-downloads/childrens-magic-ebooks/the-daycare-magician/

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Mindpro
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Yay! Thanks. Although not intended just for you, I am hoping it sheds some light for others here that may learn and get it as well.
thomasR
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Don't remind me about unions! haha.

While not directly related... it does go right along with what is considered the norm can vary depending on where you are.

Last fall I was one of the Lighting Directors on a major arena tour... I was late bringing a case to load out and I brought it straight on to the semi. One of the guys on the tour nicely told me I shouldn't do that again, to leave it on the dock, because the Union Loaders in some towns would get mad if I carried it on to the truck.

Now back on the Spring Tour, working for an artist doing lots of fundraiser shows where local non-profits provide volunteer help, If I delivered a case and just left it on the dock.. the Production Manager would say "I don't want you acting like this is a white glove gig." - I'm working for the same artist, on national tours.

Directly related...

A Magician performing at a consumer level event, will many times advertise a sound system as a big benefit. On a professional level, even bringing your own mic would be out of place... you tell them what type of mic you need, and they provide it.

Excellent post.... and I'm not sure anyone has ever made this more clear.
Ray Pierce
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There is so much great information above. In general I do work in both markets from time to time. For the Non-Pro market I am 100% self contained. If there is something I need, I bring it, from Pipe and Drape to full audio support and show control systems. For Pro-Markets, My rider spells everything I need out and it is then supplied by the promoter. I do still bring back ups and I use which ever system or component is better.
Ray Pierce
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55Hudson
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This thread is both surprising and interesting to me.

Mindpro has referred to the Consumer and Professional markets many times in Tricky Business, however I don't recall seeing a definition of the two prior to this thread. I had thought he was referring to birthday parties as the Consumer Market. It appears the definition is more on the Professional side and less defined with regards to Consumer.

Market segments are typically defined by the key buying factors(KBF) of the members within that segment. That is, what are the two or three factors that drive the final decision to purchase /hire. For some segments price is a KBF, but for many segments it is not a KBF. For example, there will be birthday parties where price is a KBF, but for a Trade Show it is unlikely to be a KBF

Market Segmentation is a construct you can use to refine your approach to your business. The finer you segment your market, provided that market is large enough to support the effort, the more successful you will be. Again, think of the difference between Trade Show and Birthday Party market segments. Both segments are large enough to build an entire business around, but the shows, advertising, pricing, and other aspects will be vastly different. Being highly successful requires a business model appropriate to the targeted market segment.

A great example is Dick Oslund. He focused in the Lyceum market (school assemblies) - a market that really doesn't exist today, at least not in the size it did years ago. Dick's entire show was built around this market - tear down/set up time, range of material - K-12, start/stop time control, and more. Dick, a frequent contributor to The Café, is a wonderful example of someone who built a multi-decade career buy understanding one segment and meeting the very specific needs of that segment.

Lots of great reference material on market segmentation and marketing in general. One of the great marketing minds is Philip Kotler; anything written by him is worth reading. Although every industry has unique characteristics, there are still many learnings from general studies that can be applied to the entertainment industry.

Hudson
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On Apr 18, 2017, Ray Pierce wrote:
There is so much great information above. In general I do work in both markets from time to time. For the Non-Pro market I am 100% self contained. If there is something I need, I bring it, from Pipe and Drape to full audio support and show control systems. For Pro-Markets, My rider spells everything I need out and it is then supplied by the promoter. I do still bring back ups and I use which ever system or component is better.


That's why every show you do is a professional market show, Ray. Because maybe the difference between professional and non-professional markets has more to do eith the act than the buyer.

BTW - did I hear you're opening a private studio in LA?

Robert
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Great point Robert...
I'm currently working for a national touring artist. His show is exactly the same regardless if it is a corporate show, an arena show, or a non-profit fundraiser (and we have a weeks where we do all of those markets). His production manager and tour manager have to adapt to each unique set of expectations... But his performance is the same... And he is certainly always in a profesional market.

I agree that it's important to know there are differences from market to market... My experience working with touring shows is that you work in lots of different markets and adapt to each one. The show remains the same... And when possible the production remains the same... But the markets, and expectations change from day to day.
Ray Pierce
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On Apr 23, 2017, RobertSmith wrote:
BTW - did I hear you're opening a private studio in LA?


Thanks Robert! Yeah, I'm closing down the aerial school and will just leave the new place for rehearsing new shows, workshoping new ideas and private lessons. Let me know if you're ever close!
Ray Pierce
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Ray Pierce
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On Apr 23, 2017, thomasR wrote:
The show remains the same... And when possible the production remains the same... But the markets, and expectations change from day to day.


That's such an important thing to note. I've always said that a professional is known for consistency but it's not necessarily the consistency of performance but the consistency of the results. Regardless of the venue, audience or any other variable, the goal is to deliver a great reaction from that audience to the buyer. A pro is always working within the framework of the venue and details to generate that reaction and is always frequently adjusting, accommodating and modifying the act to make that work. The greatest part of working with pros for me is that there's seldom a problem. Everyone just goes on and delivers in spite of issues that could debilitate others. They just get the job done. The last It's Magic show I did in Cerritos recently was myself, Jody Baran, Juliana Chen, Charlie Frye & Jay Johnson. What a pleasure to share the stage with such consummate pros. No problems, no headaches, no issues, they just went out and delivered.
Ray Pierce
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Dannydoyle
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The interesting thing is how a professional handles things.

Generally speaking I have one show. Any more I don't really do anything but that.

But when we produce shows it is a different matter. We have a vocal band show for example. If they want 30 minutes we have a 30 minute show. Not only pieces of the longer show, but an actual 30 minute show. Beginning, middle, end with finale is all there. Same with 45 minutes or 90 or 60 or 10. Yes it is a lot of work but it GUARANTEES results. It is the way things just used to be assumed to be. Not so much any more.

But the reality is that professional vs consumer markets has very little to do with the show. It has more to do with the interactions with your client. You ALWAYS do the best possible show that never changes. Why should it?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
RobertSmith
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Quote:
On Apr 24, 2017, Ray Pierce wrote:
Quote:
On Apr 23, 2017, RobertSmith wrote:
BTW - did I hear you're opening a private studio in LA?


Thanks Robert! Yeah, I'm closing down the aerial school and will just leave the new place for rehearsing new shows, workshoping new ideas and private lessons. Let me know if you're ever close!


In Costa Mesa again for OC this summer. Would enjoy swinging by and seeing what you've got set up.
Sorry to hear HAA is going away. Overhead had to have been brutal for you. Let's visit in July.
Ray Pierce
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On Apr 24, 2017, RobertSmith wrote:

In Costa Mesa again for OC this summer. Would enjoy swinging by and seeing what you've got set up.
Let's visit in July.


That sounds great! I'll be on Anaheim... not that far!
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
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