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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Marketing Steve Cohen like hotel shows (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dannydoyle
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Family is much easier to sell than children's. Then again it is still a rough road.
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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Anyone want to continue discussion on this? I know Bill Gladwell's various interviews have added some more thoughts to this. There was also a podcast on Well Attended with a theatre company that does a mystery dinner show at a hotel (episode 25, well attended podcast). The topic was promoting a show in a tourist town... but still gives some insight.

I don't have any specific questions... just wanting to hear any new resources (podcasts, etc.), experiences, or whatever thoughts on this topic.
Mindpro
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Bill seemed to offer what many referred to as very basic, minimal information and content based on his own minimal experience of one approach done a couple of times. It was good perhaps for those just being introduced to new to the idea of 2/4 waling, but those who attended his Mindvention workshop that then immediately following attended my own entertainment business workshop, expressed being displeased and disappointed in not getting much info expected other than what he offered in a podcast or two previously and almost no info on "the real goods" as they we're expecting for paying for such a high-priced workshop. (I guess the bulk of the workshop was Bill talking about the effects in his show form what many told me).

These attendees actually spent I'd say the first third or more of my workshop event asking me to provide "the real goods" he never offered. I felt bad they were disappointed as I know some traveled far for this specific information and came with (and paid for) very personal interest in doing this for themselves. So they flat out asked me to address this topic before I began my content. Since it had so much to do with the business side of what we do and the limited info they had could easily get them into serious trouble or a loss, I delivered and they finally got the real goods on the whole topic they were expecting in my first 45 minutes on the topic of 2/4 walling. Some based on my info have already gone on to do their own shows from this session and information I shared.


I agree, this is still a great topic and one that there are many moving pieces to and a lot of room for things to go badly unless you at least start with the right understanding. By the time I got done addressing this topic the attendees were very well-informed with the greater picture and all involved. They learned what most do wrong and why many fail. They learned what to do as well as what not to do to prevent this, and know many of the missing pieces that are rarely discussed. They can now operate confidently from an industry perspective and understanding and in many cases be assured they won't fail if done properly with all the necessary steps, in order. We got deeper into the realities of 2/4 walling that I didn't even get to cover some of the extras and bonuses I was hoping to of my content but attendees felt they got what they wanted and paid for even of not from who they expected. I only felt bad for those that didn't stay for my workshop and may have left disappointed or unfulfilled and not have the opportunity to go deeper into this.

I think this demonstrates the issue when it comes to this topic of 2/4 walling. Even those attempting to do this are almost always doing it blindly without a thorough understanding and knowledge on the topic. Their knowledge on this topic is then limited to only their very limited personal experience as it has pertained to them. What Bill has done is a very basic 2 wall arrangement stripped down to the very basics. This is great for him and I'm glad he feels it has worked for him, but there is much he hasn't done or experienced on this topic, yet is speaking as if offering such information. This is what mislead many of these people. In Bill's defense it was a very casual conversational presentation where he did say "this is how I done it" basically stating there us likely much more to it he has yet to experience. He approaches it with a "let's see what happens" arrangement with the venue which may have been a bit off-putting to some. He even admits he was a hypnotist and the venue was only interested in a mentalist show (they already had a hypnotist). So he took the deal and became a mentalist in a week or so. His whole approach and deal is very minimalistic and perhaps over-simplified like this and not something I would personally be telling others to do the same.

By this discontent of the attendees that were in my audience asking me to address this info, this feeling was shared by them as well.

This is still a great topic and those interested seem to really want to know as much as possible which I agree will arm them with the best chances for success.
thomasR
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Bill's show was different than Cohen's and Watkins as well... and was also not at a hotel (he mentions doing some shows in hotels at Hilton Head Island... but yes the majority of his interviews are on the Gatlinburg show which is a totally different animal.)

While I agree Gladwell may not be a total expert.. he has actually done what he is talking about and he is sharing his own real world experiences. I would LOVE to hear Cohen or Watkins speak on this since they both have multi-year runs at very fancy hotels in cities where there is a TON of entertainment options steps away.

For what it's worth... in researching this I visited by Watkins and Cohens site and have since seen there ads targeted at me over and over on Google Adsense. So it would appear that they both use Online Marketing heavily. Probably not a big surprise to anyone... but worth mentioning.
Mindpro
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I seem to remember hearing Steve Cohen recently say he was kind of initially surprised himself at he way his Waldorf deal came to be. It was really a matter of being in the right place at he right time with many things lining up almost perfectly. He definitely was ready when the opportunity presented itself and was willing to take the action to act upon it. You've got to love it when these types of things happen. Unfortunately for most it will not work that way, so the next best thing we can try to do is seek to create a similar situation.
thomasR
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Well I've been digging and found this great little interview... right on Steve's Website!

"In the beginning, I invited my friends and family, and told them to bring their friends—just to fill the seats. After about six months, I’d used up all my friends, and attendance started to dwindle. I lied to my wife, and told her that our business was breaking even, but in reality I was losing money every week.

This continued for two and a half years. Then, with an immense amount of effort, and relying solely on word-of-mouth, I was finally breaking even. In order to keep the room looking full, I gave out complimentary seats to anybody who asked, and even “papered the room” several times with members of ticketing clubs who wanted to see free shows in Manhattan."

http://chambermagic.com/blog/genii-magazine-interview/
Mindpro
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Exactly! It has always been mispercieved by many performers when referencing Steve's deal as they often use him as a point of a successful 2/4 wall production. I have literally heard others here say, "well Steve Cohen is doing/has done great with his show in New York City..." They often overlook the entire picture. Most will not stick with it running at a loss and personally fund the venture for several years (or more) for it to get to a point of even breaking even, let alone being profitable. It takes work, more than most ever seem to realize or mention. Your info on Steve confirms even he has had to face and enure the realities of a 2/4 wall production as most others do even WITH the support of one or two people from the venue (not really from the entire venue) from day one. I'm impressed he had enough friends to fill the seats for an entire 6 month period. Let's hope his wife doesn't see this, lol.

This is also a great example that the real turning point for Steve was the use of press and media to make his show a success exactly how I describe in my book. Steve's knowledge and such support form these related components of 2/4 walling is what has made this production succeed.
thomasR
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While I totally agree, using the media and press worked then.. (And still does). In 2001, the Internet and tripadvisor were not nearly what they are now. It's clear that Cohen and Watkins use online ads and Trip Advisor reviews to their advantage. (Cohens show is #8 on trip advisor for all NYC shows... )

This was also a major point of Bill Gladwell.
Mindpro
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True, but in the proper context. This would be beneficial and good for an established, tested show. For a newbie believing it would be a way or strategy to start to promote a new show it could very easily have the opposite effect.
thomasR
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You mean if the show was of poor quality? (And would then get low reviews?)
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