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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Marketing at lectures (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Marvello
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I know that people who lecture to magicians need to market themselves at their lectures, but I have been to a few lectures, some by very prominent names, where more time was spent on telling you what items were available for purchase from them than the actual lecture itself. Also- many times they make it sound like you are getting a great deal from them if you buy it at the lecture, only to find out by surfing the web that they either charge the same price or LESS online at their websites.

I was very impressed at Kidabra 2006 when David Kaye gave away his running gag lecture notes for FREE after the lecture, and he said it was he felt the same way - that too much emphasis was spent on marketing to the audience at lectures, rather than on teaching and sharing ideas.

As I said - I understand that people need to eat, and gas isn't cheap these days, however I hope that more magicians who lecture will take a cue from Silly Billy and spend less time on selling/marketing than on actually lecturing. The fact of the matter is that if you are a good lecturer people will want to buy your notes and exclusive effects, either at the lecture or at a later date. I am going to try to personally take note whan lecturers tend to market stuff too heavily and make it a point to NOT buy from them, and I hope others follow suit.
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
mrunge
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I agree. I have always been much more impressed with someone who lectures, which is why they were brought there to begin with, and let's their effects sell themselves. A great lecturer already knows that his goods will sell and therefore focuses on teaching those in attendance.

Whenever one is more focused on selling the stuff at the back of the room, instead of focusing on the real reason they were invited, it won't take long before word gets around and they can't find any takers for their services.

In the world of magic, word travels fast and the good ones know it.

Mark.
Payne
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Then perhaps we should start paying the lecturer a living wage. Seriously the average rate for a lecture is a measly couple of hundred dollars or so. One has to make back room sales just to make ends meet. Perhaps if lecture attendees were willing to fork over fifty or sixty bucks for an afternoons teaching instead of the lousy fifteen or twenty they are normally used to prying out of their wallets more time could be spent actually teaching instead of pitching.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Marvello
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Payne- do you honestly believe that people would not buy stuff from a lecturer without being poked and prodded to do so? People come with money in their pockets to lectures to buy effects and notes - they know that stuff will be for sale. A quick mention at the end of the lecture should be enough. Apparently you have never been to a lecture like the one I am referring to, where more emphasis is on the BOR sales than the lecture itself.

I recently saw a very famous "magician's magician" type performer who had 1.5 hours to lecture since the space that the local ring rented would charge more if they ran overtime. After 20 minutes or so they took a break to sell things, and they took 45 minutes to do so, and came back and lectured for another 25 minutes. The lecture was not cheap either - $20.
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
Payne
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Quote:
On 2006-08-24 18:39, Marvello wrote:
Payne- do you honestly believe that people would not buy stuff from a lecturer without being poked and prodded to do so? People come with money in their pockets to lectures to buy effects and notes - they know that stuff will be for sale. A quick mention at the end of the lecture should be enough. Apparently you have never been to a lecture like the one I am referring to, where more emphasis is on the BOR sales than the lecture itself.

I recently saw a very famous "magician's magician" type performer who had 1.5 hours to lecture since the space that the local ring rented would charge more if they ran overtime. After 20 minutes or so they took a break to sell things, and they took 45 minutes to do so, and came back and lectured for another 25 minutes. The lecture was not cheap either - $20.


I've been to many "Demo" Lectures, some good some bad. I guess it depends on what one is looking for I guess. There are those who travel with a load of product and merely mention they have it in the back to sell while others are simply using the lecture as a dealers demo. Unfortunately the latter is usually the norm.

$20.00 is extremely cheap for a lecture. Have you ever priced what professional seminars and lectures go for? I'd rather pay $300.00 for a limited hands on teach in than $20.00 for a dealer demo.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Skip Way
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I have to go with Payne on this one (HOLY CRAP!). Smile As I understand it, the average lecturer charges around $300.00. This might cover his travel and per diem expenses. To make a living, he/she needs to sell the BOR materials at a comfortable profit. Sure! You may find them at roughly the same price online or at the local magic shop...but, he brought them here TO YOU! Isn't that convenience worth something?

They also put it together for you! Everything you need to perform this bit or that. Tim Sonefelt is a perfect example. He presented his new Monkey Monte at KIDabra. He told you where to buy the props. He laid the entire routine out in the open for the attendees. He told us that we could go out and buy the props, record the music, set the gimmicks and routine the effect for less than he was selling the effect for. Or...we could buy the effect from him at a reasonable price, ready to go and hassle free. Now THAT's a lecture!

Now...go to ANY convention and watch the Dealer's Room. People will mosey through looking at this and looking at that with their wallets safely tucked away with their creativity. But...as soon as they see the POTENTIAL for an item; as soon as they see it in action with a complete routine that they can steal...they RUSH for the Dealer's Room to be first in line for the very same item they sniffed at earlier.

Lecturers are no different from the rest of us. They see a way to increase their income and they take it. If that means focusing their lecture on the products on the back table, who's to blame? The dealer or the "magicians" who reinforce this business model.

Another point: Why do we GO to lectures in the first place? To learn new tricks, tips and effects that we can use to enhance our own performances. The lecturer presents these ideas...and wisely and conveniently makes the materials available to add them to your show. Instead of asking a bunch of time consuming questions and going back to repeat something that someone missed in their handwritten notes, they provide lecture notes, books and guides to cover the topic they're teaching. Where's the crime?

So, lectures have become live infomercials. Okay. Still, with one or two notable exceptions, I have learned something of value at little to no extra cost from every lecture I've attended. Some more valuable than others. Some more informative than others. And I have always been grateful for the table at the back of the room that may hold the very items I need to make these ideas work for me.

It's business.

Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Marvello
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Woah- I think you are taking my statements a little too far - I never said that BOR sales were a bad thing - I said people EXPECT them, and that they come with money in hand. People simply do not need to be beaten over the head with a sales pitch. David Kaye gave away his lecture notes and did not pitch any items - do you think he went home with no money in his pocket at Kidabra? I know for a fact that he sold out of several items. My complaint is with people who turn the lecture in to an infomercial. By definition a lecture is a speech read or delivered before an audience or class, for instruction or to set forth some subject. If they advertised it as a chance to come and meet Mr. Famous Magician and learn about what products they have to sell that is one thing, but I have never seen a lecture advertised that way. Demonstrating their tricks and then offering them for sale is one thing - that is great - unfortunately that is not always the norm. I agree that demo-ing effects is a great way to move merchandise, and I have no problem with that. After Trevor Lewis lectured at Kidabra I saw a huge lineup for silver sceptre wands - an effect that has been around for a long time, but Trevor showed just how entertaining it could be, so people bought them all - that is great. Trevor never once pitched them, yet people were able to put 2 and 2 together and see just how effective a common prop like that could be in the hands of a master. That is salesmanship as it should be.

BTW- The $20 lecture I referred to was attended by nearly 100 people, so they were already getting around $2k for what amounted to a 45 minute lecture (which was advertised as 1.5 hours), plus BOR sales.
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
NJJ
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This became most obvious to me when I saw a name magician lecture and he didn't have a lot of his own stuff to sell....so he sold his friend's stuff instead! Not a good look.

When a magician comes to Australia, it costs them about $3-$5. They then get $10-15 per head for rooms of 100-200, which is split with the lecture organiser. The profit comes from BOR.

But as you point Marvello, we don't need prodding to buy stuff!
Skip Way
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Marv, as always, I'm not finding fault with your views. You know that I respect everyone's opinion and perspective. Apologies if my post came across that way. You pretty much reiterated what I was trying to say, anyway. So we're not all that far apart in our beliefs.

I guess I've been in this game long enough to know which lecturers are worth my attendance fee and time...and which are merely walking Magic AmWay hucksters and a waste of said time and cash. I enjoy meeting the top name performers face-to-face and getting a photo or two with them...for posterity. I always pick up one or two new ideas or tips from nearly every lecture...generally worth the price of admission if applied properly. And I know how to say no to the snake oil smoothness of those-who-shall-not-be-named.

At any rate...Sorry if I sounded like I was attacking. Not the case at all.

Skip Smile
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Marvello
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No problem Skip- this is about discussion of issues, and I value your ideas and input - I did not take it that way at all. You have your opinions, and are willing to share them and I respect that. I am looking forward to the next Kidabra so I can have my picture taken with you - for posterity Smile I know you were there briefly this year, but I heard many people lament the fact that you weren't there earlier/longer, even as I was checking in to my room.
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
Skip Way
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Shucks! That's only because I own the only 5000 chip Texas Holdem set in the state. Smile
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
RandyStewart
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I've never been to such a "lecture". I've never been to a "lecture" period. Participants in the topic seem to be somewhat pleased and Marvello somewhat *****d.

Are these "lectures" worth it?
Skip Way
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It depends on the lecturer and your interests. For example, I personally don't generally go to lecturers presented by card men since I'm not real heavy into cards. I also know that there are a couple of top name, well known magicians who come across as car salesmen - they're busier marketing their "stuff" than sharing great tips and ideas. Avoid them...unless you, too, want to be a pitchman. Then go and study their technique and avoid the dealer table. It's all up to you and what you hope to get out of the lecture. I always enjoy watching Trevor Lewis, Eugene Burger, Rachel Wild, Tom Jones and the like.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
RandyStewart
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Quote:
On 2006-08-25 08:17, Skip Way wrote:
I always enjoy watching Trevor Lewis, Eugene Burger, Rachel Wild, Tom Jones and the like.


Thanks for the comments Skip. I also have heard 100% wonderful comments regarding Eugene Burger. We don't, to this day, seem to have a single soul offering negative comments on the great fellow. Isn't that great! I know he was a delight as a Guest of Honor here at the Café. Just wonderful.
Marvello
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On 2006-08-25 02:20, RandyStewart wrote:
Participants in the topic seem to be somewhat pleased and Marvello somewhat *****d.

Actually- my original post was meant to be more in praise of David Kaye for bucking the trend and giving his notes away for free, etc. than it was AGAINST anyone in particular. Out of all of the lectures I have seen I have never totally regretted seeing anyone completely - some were more disappointing than others , especially when I had heard such good things about them, but I always learned something, and magic is always fun to watch. I just think that the car salesman types could put on a much more enjoyable lecture, with less of a sales pitch, but they seemed to be selling a lot of stuff, so it worked for them and I doubt they will change since people support them.
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
Donald Dunphy
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Marvello -

As I understand it, this fall, David Ginn will be doing a series of Christmas Magic Workshops, and will include a free book (set of lecture notes) on the topic, for all who pay and attend. He will also have other products and books to sell, that will not be free.

Thought you might be interested in that.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Marvello
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On 2006-08-26 10:56, Donald Dunphy wrote:
Marvello -

As I understand it, this fall, David Ginn will be doing a series of Christmas Magic Workshops, and will include a free book (set of lecture notes) on the topic, for all who pay and attend. He will also have other products and books to sell, that will not be free.

Thought you might be interested in that.

- Donald

Thanks for the tip . Actually - I did hear about that and already wrote to him asking for more info regarding the Flint, Michigan date. Smile
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
Handydandymagic
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I go to most the lectures they have in my area and they have all been great. I mean where else can you go and watch a magic show, and learn at the same time for $10 to $20 for 2 to 3 hours. I have to admit that they are a bit better when the lecturer waits until near the break to tell about items he is selling and near the end of the lecture, than after each trick. Out of all the lectures I have been to though, I have never been given free lecture notes, but I always buy a set to help support the magician for taking his time to come and lecture. I think most people do the same thing.

By the way I hear that David Kayes lectures are fantastic! True???
Thanks and have a Magical day.
Dandy
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