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(This is going to be an extremely long but informational post, so if its problematic to you - please, simply don’t read it)

My PM and email box has been stuffed with messages, comments and a few questions. I promised many last night I would post this here on the forum as not to have to answer all of the individual messages. Sorry it has taken me some time to respond as I hope to have this done last night as I am still on the road in my final week of my tour.

I will be happy to further clarify some information and questions on the Consumer vs. Professional Market topic as several have requested after some confusion and derailments.

First, let me say some assumptions are being made which are incorrect and are leading this into a wrong direction and understanding because of this. This combined with Tom making up his own definition of things and twisting something to meet his liking which in reality has created more confusion while implying things that are simply not true because of it.

Also the definitions being received by some members here which are different than the actual context which is being used and referred to - all of this has created some incorrect information and misinterpretations which has lead to misperceptions and confusing actual established facts with these self-created interpretations. This is really being way over-complicated here based on these things.

Then several here have tried to progress the discussion which I understand their interest, but it really shouldn’t be (or can’t really be) progressed until the correct information, definitions, interpretations and context are firmly in place, understood and accepted.

So let me being by clarifying some of these things:

First, let be begin by saying while I absolutely and greatly appreciate Walter’s contributions to this topic, he too has taken this slightly off in a bit of a different direction and meaning than as it directly applies to entertainment and the related context. He has used the b2c (business to consumers) and b2b (business to business) models and some of their foundational and operational differences in reference to this topic. While I agree with much of what he has contributed, it is still a bit different in the context of which I am speaking and have posted (about 80-85% similar) and is still in more of a general business context, whereas what I am more referencing is specifically how it applies to performing and the entertainment industry.

Much of what Walter is saying does also apply here as well, however I purposely choose not to get into it that deep yet and with some of the details he has as some were having confusion and not getting it at even this basic concept level. As perhaps you can tell, we can go very deep on this topic which is something I do with my students and don’t feel it is best to do so here for this and other reasons, especially since most here are not at or interested in Professional markets. The goal here was never to pit one against the other or imply one is better than the other, not at all, but simply to acknowledge their existence as it answers many of the questions, topics and misunderstanding in many threads here and is often the reason for debate and division.

Once the Professional vs. Consumer Markets I am discussing is properly understood, some of what Walter is presenting and breaking down nicely can and does also easily apply here as well. There is much overlapping, but still some differences.

Also it is much more than just marketing and pricing as Hudson55 and Lou have referred to. Yes, eventually marketing, pricing, and other operational aspects do come into play, but in much of my postings on this, it has never yet gotten to that point.

At this point it is just more about identifying, acknowledging, qualifying and understanding these markets, the clients in these markets, the way they operate (very different from each other), their interests and how to operate and serve each market. Each of these markets have value to each of us as performers if we choose for them to.

There is an adage in the industry that “if you have to ask or don’t know the differences, you are a Consumer Market performer.” Not a diss, not my words, just sharing the longtime common reference. I first learned of this understanding in the late 70s and early 80s through both Steve Allen and George Burns on separate occasions as it dates back (at least) to the early 1900s that they knew of and very likely before. Both indicated Henry Ford and Vaudeville as their first awareness of this (Consumer vs. Professional Markets).

Once these markets are understood it makes a lot of things make sense. Especially on this forum. It is why some performers can only make $500 a show, whereas other make $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000 a show. Without this understanding of these two separate markets, most discussions will not be comparing apples to apples but rather kumquats to watermelons. Much more will make sense.

This is most important for performers and speakers that are currently in the Consumer market but trying to advance, crossover or start to break into Professional markets. For you, this is absolute need to know information as the market has/knows it, other entertainers and speakers have/knows it, and you will need it to be taken seriously and properly compete on such markets. Same for if interested in working for agencies that understand these markets.

Now please don’t feel like you are the only one that isn’t aware of this and are therefore odd man or woman out. There are many performers that have been performing 50 years or more that do not understand this. It is not typical performer or local/regional performer knowledge. Most go their entire performing career without knowing this. There are many gurus that are selling their wares and services promising to help you break into higher paying gigs (which typically occur in professional markets) that do not know this information themselves which is why they can’t consistently help others to do this themselves. It's funny because if you talk to many of these old-timers or longtime performers they will likely say or admit "yeah, I knew there was something like that but never was able to figure it out/put my finger on it.” They, like many others had made a great, long living just operating in the Consumer marketplace. This is also why when you hear entertainers or agents talk about great established corporate entertainers or trade show presenters, the list is usually a pretty short list with the same names being bandied about coast to coast. It all comes down to understanding that these two performance markets exist.

It is also the thing that makes one not understand how they can only get $300-$600 for doing, let’s say a school, where I and others regularly make far more. My greatest appearance for a single school appearance was over 5 figures (yes, for an elementary school!). When performers say “impossible" or “he’s lying, no way that can be done” it is because they don’t understand this topic and these differences.

Next is the term and proper understanding of the word and term “Professional.”

Professional has many different meanings ranging from “someone who gets paid for what they do” to “someone who does something for a living” to “someone who has professional accreditation” to “a professional occupation such as a doctor, layer or CPA, etc.” to “a set of standards” to “an operational level or status of achievement” to “a degreed professional” and many others. NONE of these are at all what is at play here when the term Professional is being used in reference to Consumer vs. Professional Markets. So please, for the sake of this topic and anyone who tries to twist or apply their own definition, please discard and disregard all of these meanings and try to understand and accept the actual applied meaning in this context.

This is the only way you will get a complete understanding is by dealing with the proper context of the use of “Professional.” (This is slightly different, but similar, than the term “Business” as in B2b as well).

In previous threads Tom has attempted to change the term “Professional” (as in Professional Markets) to “corporate” or “business.” Then he quickly went on to change it to “commercial” - again to better suit his own personal needs (not picking on Tom, just stating a fact that created confusion and misleading). He then also has taken this out of context to apply it to a performer’s "show” at one point when at this has nothing to do with a show but pertaining only to a specific type and level of market at this point.

Then in his toilet example where he has confused the application of “Professional” as in “Professional Market” to stating that a plumber is a “professional” service. This too is a different use of the term professional than it applies to this market topic.

Consumer Markets
Now let me clarify, because once again a lot of incorrect and misperceptions have been taken on the term, use and understanding of the Consumer Market. It is not or ever has been a belittling, degrading, offensive or in any way demeaning term or meaning as used here. This also has been an interpretation by several as a negative thing. It’s not and in the context of Consumer Vs. Professional Markets is nothing more than an identifier and categorical explanation of (differences in) business execution and operations.

This is just as important to understand and distinguish as it is knowing and understanding exactly what the Professional Market is. Neither is better than the other. They are both separate and individual entertainment business markets.

Consumer Market (as it applies to entertainment) is any market geared towards and serves the general or lay public, lay customers, businesses and/or purchasers, usually with little, no or at best minimal knowledge in hiring a performer or hosting an event. Dealings with and decisions are typically made by an individual decision-maker. These are typically one time or one-off events. Relationships usually end with the booking. These are typically for their own use. These are typically a “want” not a “need.” This market usually doesn’t require deep knowledge of the person or business you are conducting business with. Also their event is usually an event for family, friends, employees, customers or other types non-professionals attendees in both/either events or atmosphere. Emotional elements are much more at play in Consumer markets and those you are dealing with. Consumer and conventional mentalities and buying processing are prominent. Persuasive techniques are utilized more in the Consumer marketing selling processes. Consumer market people and businesses typically do not seek to establish a continual and on-going relationship with you. You, the performer, would have to take the lead to make this happen.

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. Not by any means.

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

Having personally received, requested, and viewed thousands of performer’s and entertainer’s business and promotional materials, including many on this forum, and having personally worked with or booked thousands of performers worldwide over the past 41 years, I can almost immediately tell if a performer is a Consumer or Professional level/market performer.

I can honestly tell you I have only encountered 2 entertainers or speakers that didn’t start in the Consumer market. It is simply a fact that nearly everyone (performers) starts in the Consumer market. This is primarily because in the beginning as a performer (and the Default Business Model that almost every performer starts with) the understanding and distinction of a Professional market rarely exists, and secondly it is almost impossible for a new or beginning performer, even if they did know and had a complete understanding of Professional markets, to even have a chance to succeed in the Professional Marketplace.

Professional Markets
Professional markets, as they pertain to entertainment business, has nothing to do with its worth, value or revenue (differing slightly from what Walter has expressed) of a company. It is more about their level of operation and execution, procedures, position, status and governing establishment.

It is important to understand that just because one is a business does NOT make them part of the Professional Market. Just because one is a company or corporation does not make one necessarily in the professional market.

Professional markets are markets operated, booked and attended typically by trade or industry professionals at events or venues often serving other trade or industry 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, sales or marketing directors, etc. These are professional people that produce professional events for a professional market. Typically not social events (although yes, there can be professional social events, usually as part of a larger event) but rather events in more of a professional setting for professional attendees in professional circles.

Professional market (as it applies to entertainment) is any market geared towards and serving industry-only or professional level business, trades or clients. These representatives usually have a much more in-depth and professional relationship with the entertainer/speaker. They go much deeper into knowledge about you, your company, what you offer and solutions you present to them and their interests. (Some companies do complete background, criminal and credit checks just to consider working or talking with you!) Your role is typically much more significant in their event and to their company and operation. You often are required to learn a great deal of content of about the company and their events to become part of your performance or presentation. In Professional markets while you may have a single contact, you are almost always dealing with many more people in the decision making and relationship process. Because of this strong and long-term relationships are more common and much more possible with these representatives in Professional markets. Their events are usually industry specific, for a specific and designated (non-public or lay) audience, unpublicized to the public, and for a specific industry purpose. There are much different processes in almost every way from corresponding with the client, to what they will expect of you (photo, bio, video and website are often not enough, sometimes not even part of the requirements) to negotiation and securing services to the way and process in which you are paid, and practically everything in between. For most Professional market clients their interest in the performer or speaker is a need (not a want as in Consumer markets). Emotional elements in the interest and transactions are much less at play if at all, as purposeful, practical and relevant serving is much more prevalent. These clients typically do not solicit the web or sites like Gigmasters for their needs, but rather utilize industry and Professional market-specific resources for such needs.

Consumer Vs. Professional Market Performers/Speakers

Let’s say for example a performer has a company that they did their holiday party and all went well. They contact you a few months later and say they would like you to do their upcoming Sales Meeting in a few months. You do and after the performance someone comes up to you and says “do you do trade show crowd gathering?” You say you do and then are booked for their trade show. This is all great and absolutely good for you. Business is about relationships and as my coaching students know it is about cultivating, understanding and utilizing the 5 types of bookings available to entertainers in these relationships. BUT, this does not make you anything more still at this point than a Consumer market/level performer that has landed or generated some corporate work or a corporate account. This is not working, conducting business or operating in the Professional market. Many performers confuse this and do not understand this.

This is the problem that many Consumer market performers have, just like believing that doing a company’s Christmas Party is corporate market work (when it is not), this also is not Professional market operations. What this really is is a Consumer level performer performing for Consumer market businesses and/or attempting to cross over into the Professional market BUT still operating the same way they do in the Consumer market. Sure you may land an account, two or even a few, but at best it will only be sporadic, because you are not truly approaching, understanding and operating in or to the Professional market or their process.

This performer, is at a great place where they could likely cross over into the Professional market, as long as they understand the difference and adapt to the process and operations of the Professional market. This is EXACTLY why you will get some guys that do get one or two of these bookings, begin to think “man, this is what I really want to do” or “I really want to start doing more of these" yet don’t know or acknowledge the difference in procedures and operations, so begin to set out trying to get work in the Professional market level by continuing to do Consumer market methods, techniques and approaches in an attempt to do so. This is where social media doesn’t work as it may for Consumer markets as Walter pointed out in another thread, same for business cards as used in Consumer markets. That is not part of the Professional market process or operational procedure. They approach, research and seek entertainment and speakers completely differently using their market industry methods, resources and preferences.

With the basic understanding and acknowledgement that their is a difference between these two levels and markets, followed by a basic education and understanding of the Professional market, some decent and qualified performers or speakers can make the crossover to the Professional market.

Then at this point there are several considerations. Do you become just a Professional market entertainer or speaker or do you choose to operate in both markets separately? There are other considerations and actions as well, but this is the start.

As you can see this differs slightly as it pertains to entertainment than in a few of Walters conventional business explanations, but are extremely similar. Some of the depth he has provided in his efforts to provide context can come into play as you get into this.

Also someone asked me to provide yet another example of Consumer and Professional market outside of entertainment that they may be more familiar with. So here goes…

I know we’ve discussed smoke detectors, VCRs and other items to offer examples of C vs. P markets, but now let’s take shuttle buses or the small school buses (often referred to as Twinkee buses).

These are vehicles that are made for the purpose of not selling to the Consumer market, but specifically intended for Professional Market sales and commercial/industry business. They are sold to hotels, rental car companies, senior living facilities, churches, tourism venues, shuttle services and other Professional market entities for professional use. While there even may be dealerships for these, they typically are not the same as your typical Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Mercedes and other consumer level dealerships. They do not target, market or operate to a Consumer level marketplace. While some of these companies may have a consumer line of vehicles AND a professional (in their industry also called commercial) line, they are two separate things, operations and divisions. Some companies offering such vehicles for Professional markets may only serve this professional level and may not have a consumer level line or entity such as Braun or Champion.

If you as a consumer want a vehicle for similar transportation needs the consumer level/market version of this would likely be a 15 passenger van from Chevy, GMC, Ford, Dodge or Mercedes. Again, while some of these brands may make the Professional market lines, consumer vehicles they offer are manufactured, created, delivered, marketed and sold by completely different process, resources and divisions, to completely different level targets (Professional market businesses.)

Hopefully this is a common example most here can easily follow and understand. Two different markets and two different products and processes.

Now sure occasionally a consumer can buy a shuttle or school bus, I had a full size school bus we toured with for years, but these are usually sold to the consumer market either used or second hand (by an original owner not the manufacturer) or are done by going through Professional market resources, but again this is not their typical sought or intended market (but it can happen in certain limited situations with the right work and efforts).

I hope this better clarifies and answers some of the confusion on this topic. Once this is understood, there are many things that come into play and become possible. Admittedly this is advanced stuff at that point which is what many seek coaching for, but it is at least a starting point for some and provides the answers and often the “a-ha” lightbulb-going-off answers many are missing. We often hear performers talk about “industry secrets” or “that magical bullet” or “secret sauce”, this is likely the closest thing you will get to that in entertainment. It can help you to understand performing on greater and advanced levels (no all performers are not on the same level), for greater fees, and even if you choose to remain on operating in the Consumer market, this can provide you a guide how best to establish and operate your entertainment business, systems and operations.
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Profile of WDavis

Thank you for taking the time to better clarify your position.

I agree with most of what you said. My main point of differentiation would be the the placement of Professional Markets, if I understood you correctly. I believe this is due to my background. I use a top down approach and place Professional Markets as you've outlined as a subset in the business bucket versus consumer bucket, where as I am understanding you are saying it is separate and distinct.

While I've been approaching the topics from a general business framework to start, again it is based on my top down approach. I feel it is better for individuals to get a firm grasp on the basic fundamentals of business before moving into specialized niches. But this is more of a stylistic approach and nothing to quibble over.

Also, I think it great that you've addressed various the various points of differentiation between the types of gigs. As I believe I understand your position regarding Professional Markets, I'll briefly show I would use the channel framework I've outlined in other threads. In the event, I am permitted to network/market to attendees, I'd be applying the framework to classify who and where these attendees fit to find my optimal targets. My approach is off topic, so I will leave it at that.

Again, thanks for the post and its clarity.

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Profile of jonnyboy
Thank you, Mindpro. That's an incredibly detailed and lucid explanation of the difference between the consumer and professional marketts.
Keith Raygor
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It IS incredibly long -- and written by someone with no experience as a magician in either market. There are plenty of full-time pros here offering differing experiences and opinions: and knowledge backed by reputations and names. And history. Not history of writing long posts, but history of actually working in these markets. Seek out others that come with references and testimonials - that aren't written by his friends, or newcomers to those markets.

Remember, Mindpro is selling 'coaching and consultation' products. Apply the same criteria to him that he expects from others.
Here's what he's said, and these are quotes:

"What is your experience?
Who are you to offer such information?
What areas or markets is your experience in?
What is the backstory to gaining your experience?
How long have you been practicing this knowledge and experience?
What have the results of your personal experience been?
How does this differ from other products based on the same experience?
How and why is this difference?
Why are you the guy to trust or turn to for such services and information?
Simply put, I think you should first, before ever releasing any information, introduce and provide all of the who, what where, when, whys and how related to you, your business, your knowledge and person experience, to allow others to have a much clearer understanding of you, your products and services, the backstory as to what and why it is all about and came to be, and what makes you the expert or authority that you are positioning yourself to be by offering such products and promotional offers.

These are basic questions that anyone seeking to accept payment for services should be easily willing to answer."

When asked to supply an answer to any of these questions he asks of others, Mindpro usually references his long history of long answers. But if you research his answers, or listen to any of his podcast selling some of the same products to lay audiences, you'll begin noting the actual content, and questioning it in the same manner Mindpro does. Do your research and try to find actual experience in the markets.

Once the two elephants in the room start allowing and even embracing responses by others, then maybe you'll see some of the full-time pros return with answers based on actual experiences, and given for free. Until such time, use Mindpro's questions to qualify his answers.

I look forward to a return to civility in the Tricky Business section, with exchanges and engagement by amateurs and pros alike. Not all opinions are equal, but I still want to hear them. Unless they come from the two elephants: I've heard enough of them.
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Profile of Dannydoyle
I knew it wouldn't be long LOL. How predictable. So the more answers , right or wrong, by amatures you believe this will bring pros to this section?

So to be clear you claim he has no experience in any Markets? I'm trying to ask to see what your childish sniping is all about. What experience does he claim to have which he does NOT? How is his post incorrect? I know you don't like him. What did he say that is so wrong, and what is the right ANSWER?

You want civility then act civil. That is the start.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Keith Raygor
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You're good for him. You used to call a spade a spade.
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Profile of Dannydoyle
I really wish you would just not attack, and say what is wrong with what he said. Your blind attacks and agenda are not helpful.

But let me start. (My personal distaste for long posts aside.) I was actually on the phone with Mindpro tonight. I told him flat out that I am not really certain how much the distinction would mean to that many people. I mean if I knew when I started my career where do I think I might be now vs where I am now? Is it THAT drastically different and is it better or worse?

As I have said before I know MANY successful, professional magicians who do not know that there is a difference in these types of markets. Is that bad? Who can say?

I do think once you start to move in those circles it does help to know and to accommodate the differences and the nuances. Much like higher end restaurants and such as opposed to family knights for tableside magic. It always helps to know the nuances in the venue you are in so on that level it matters in some way.

But what exactly is WRONG and what is RIGHT in your view? Lets discuss as opposed to the third grade schoolyard crap of "I don't like him". Certainly that would be civil right? I am being civil and that is what you said you wanted so lets try some.

Also I will say that you SHOULD evaluate his posts, my posts, everyone's posts with that quote you dug up that is not relevant to what we are discussing. Mainly because it is right in the last line (In the post you quoted out of context.) where it says asking for payment. Here he is offering opinion and his experience for FREE. So while I see what you are saying it does lose some relevance. You seem to want to dictate who can and can not offer an opinion in that you have heard enough from the "elephants" (An unfortunate metaphor certainly. I am working on it.) and want to tell who can and can not post. This is a strange position from one offering civility as your benchmark. But NO I'm not going to embrace an uninformed OPINION. It is not smart to do so sorry.

As for being Mindpro as opposed to a name I have said many times it should be a requirement to use our names here. I understand the fear in doing so because of online retaliation which is all too real a thing. It should never happen but it does. But that aside, yes I think also that information should come from people. Real people. His point is that the quality of the information should be judged, not dependent upon the person saying it and since there is a history of great posts and good information that stands alone. OK, sure that is a position.

So Keith you can take this opportunity to be civil, and disagree no problem. Don't just attack, show us what Mindpro shared that is wrong other than you just disliking him. You can show that you are not disagreeing only because it is him. He can be wrong you know.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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