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magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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It may seem amazing to you, but now is the time to start thinking about taking your kid show, revamping it and starting to gear up for marketing for Blue and Gold Banquets. This time of year I am always updating my leads and prospects lists, finding new contacts and qualifying them and getting my materials in shape for my upcoming mailings.

Once the end of October and Beginning of November hit, you want to have your list complete and your materials all ready to go to start your marketing campaign.

Here is some food for thought in regards to what to perform at scout style events and how to adapt your own current show.

There are many ways in which to develop a great show that will work and play for the scouts and their families. The best and logical place to start is with your own standard birthday party show you are already doing. A lot of what you do in that show can be easily adapted for this market. I would always use this as a base show from which to make edits and build upon. Since most of the children are of the same age of a birthday party show, this only makes sense and will make your job a lot easier.

Almost any effect can be changed into an effect that will work for Cub Scout Blue and Gold Dinners. You only need to put on your creative thinking cap and adapt the effect through different change in the decoration of the prop, etc., or in different use of patter or a combination of both.

This goes back with the main idea that kids (and even most folks) appreciate the journey that you take them on just as much as the actual effect itself. If you isolate the effect then you can keep the effect but change the journey to better suit the market you are presenting to.

In this case your market is Cub Scouts. Learn all you can about scouting and adapt from there. For example, think of all the items Cub Scouts wear or what they do. Being a scout myself growing up I can make a fast list off the top of my head. You might come up with items such as:

- Ropes and Knots
- Cub Scout Hat
- Cub Neckerchief
- Badges and pins
- Working together
- Team work
- Bravery and strength
etc.

From these ideas we can brainstorm and find similar magical effects that use items of a similar nature to what we have on our list. If we do this we can come up with central effects such as:

- Cut and Restored Rope or any type of rope routine like Professors Nightmare
- 20th Century silks but using a cub neckerchief as the final production

Then we build upon the effect by making the journey unique and fun through usage of patter and presentation. In the examples above, you could do 20th century silks with a patter of something like....

You knew a cub scout who was constantly forgetting that he always misplaced items. The handkerchief he misplaced one day (cause handkerchief to vanish). He thought it was no big deal but did not realize the importance of what that handkerchief means to scouting. Finally through teamwork of his scouts and working together.. his handkerchief was found again.

Now this is just a general idea off the top of my head. Certainly it could go in many directions or become comical etc. The ideas are limitless if you just apply the right thinking to it.

I will chime in with more ideas a bit later, but wanted to post this and get folks talking about ideas and such that they do for their scout shows, how to adapt what you already do and also answer questions anyone may have. My pleasure.

if you have questions on what to be doing now to gear up for the scout marketing season, just let me know. I will be happy to assist anyone.

Kyle
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Dynamike
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Thank you for reminding me.
magic4u02
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My pleasure. Many folks do not realize that now is the time to start really getting your scout list together and start updating your materials. What happens is folks wait too long and then it becomes too late to really actively market to the packs the way you may have wanted to.

You can start by creating your contact list or updating one from last year. many contacts for packs can be located online with a simple Google search. there are also sites I mention in my book that I use all the time to help me quickly update my lead list and have it ready to go.

You really can work a lot of shows and banquets if you plan ahead. It is a wonderful market to do in a usually slow time of the year.

Kyle
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JamesinLA
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Kyle,
I thought that the big stumbling block for this market was that there wasn't a good way to get a viable list to mail to.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
magic4u02
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Aww but there is. there is a lot of direct techniques where by you can get a list easily and also qualify that list if you need to. I also have a golden secret that I use all the time that ensures my information gets into the hands of every single pack leader in every pack I personally want to market to.

The beauty is packs are always looking for entertainment for the banquet. it is something they always have and you serve a purpose and a need for them. You can be the solutions provider. So once you get your information into their hands, it can become an easy sale because they are in need for this and you happen to be there offering a solution that works perfetc for them.

Now one very quick method for acquiring a list is a simple Google search online. by putting in certain key words like "cub scout packs in the (location near you). You will generate a good list of links to go through. many packs have sites and a lot of them also have contact names and emails listed on them. this is what you are really after.

Now the beauty is there are master pack and scout sites that I use a lot. These are sites that are set up so that parents can easily search what pack their son can belong to. sites like this allow you to do a search of an area and have most every pack website and/or pack contact information right there for you. All you have to do is place in a location and go through the list to obtain a great list that YOU can start to use immediately.

Now pack contacts change each year so even if you have a list, you will want to start checking yourlist again for this year and now is the time to start doing so. This way you can update it with any new contact information and have that ready to go.

So what is this golden secret I mentioned about? it is written up a lot in detail in my book but I will share it with you guys here. my pleasure to do so.

Each and every scout pack must belong to a central scout council. Each council is a building that houses scout information and becomes the central office for the region.

Now each pack master also has a mailbox at the scout council and each pack leader must attend a round table meeting at the council each month. The beauty of knowing this is that you can have a flyer created and placed into the mailbox of each and every pack leader in the area. They then pick it up at the next round table meeting and your information is right where it needs to be.

THIS IS SO POWRERFUL AND IT WORKS!!!

Many councils will NOT and can not give you a contact list for safety reasons of the kids. However, you may ask them to place your flyer in the mailboxes for consideration for thepack banquets and they usually will have no problems at all doing this. just be polite and ask at the front desk.

Now there is also another way in which you can really boost your chances of getting hired but I will save that tip for a bit later.

Kyle
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Red Shadow
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I gave up with the Scout & Girl Guide scene here in the UK. They always plead poverty and ask me to work for free. It was such a dead market I was wasting my time, and all my advertising achieved was more people begging me to do a free show.

I know Scout groups have no money. They don't pay the leaders and are always on the look-out for volunteers. Even the camping parks wanted free shows and while I did get a little work, it was not enough to warrant the effort involved.

Hopefully it is different for you in the USA.
Mindpro
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Kyle that is great information, thank you. I have a question to pose to Kyle or anyone else who REGULARLY does Blue and Gold banquets. What I mean by regularly is not those who've just picked up one, two or a few here and there, but rather those who regularly seek and target this market.

I am not a magician, but rather a hypnotist. While I do not believe hypnosis is appropriate for these events I do have another idea that I feel is more suitable.

My question is about pricing. I am trying to determine if this market is financially worth pursuing. I know my current markets quite well and can speak authoritivly on B & G events.

I was always under the impression that even though this is their big event, that budgets are very limiting. I remember having a couple pack leaders or their wives call me for pricing, and my show was obviously quite expensive for their budgets (they had seem me at a high school grad night party for their older kids). They were looking for $250.00 for one of them and the other $275.00-$325.00 for a 45 minute performance (is that normal?) Now I know it depends on location and other variables but, what is the range or ballpark price range one can expect for this market and these events. I fear they would not be feasible for myself as I have a crew, a great deal of equipment and overhead.

I'm guessing this is probably in Kyle's book but I'd like to have an idea before deciding if I'd like to proceed, at which time if I did, Kyle's book would be my first purchase. I have really enjoyed Kyle's posts here as he always offers such great information. I too work the fair and festival markets in the summer, and the info Kyle has shared on that was nothing short of fantastic (although I do hope that book is still in the works as a future release).

I do not expect anyone to give their exact rates, but whatever you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
magic4u02
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Ku7uk3: Sorry to hear your trouble. however, this is a common problem some folks run into for certain packs within certain councils. I have remedies for this that also work very well.

part of the problem is that ppacks often make it seem like they have no funds when in reality they always do. they may not be rich, but they always have a banquet and tjheir are funds for it.

The idea is to get them to see the incredible value you bring to them by fullfilling a direct need. The more solutions you can provide to them, the greater your value becomes.

Another thing I do is offer different packages for Scout banquets. There is the standard stage show after dinner option as I always have. however, many do not realize you can also offer strolling magic for a benquet event. This solves a diretc need of theirs. Think about it.

Every table is seated usually according to dens. They usually have to wait their turn to go up to the buffet line to get their food. this is down time while the tables wait. YOU can be the solution for them. You offer to do table side magic for the tables while they are waiting. This is fun for the kids and you can offer this as an add on to your stage package or as a separate package at a reduced rate.

Now packs that seem to be short on funds, I always suggest to them a wonderful idea that works great. I mention to them how they can combine with another pack to have a larger banquet together. this is aimed at bringing packs together and promotes scout friendship. it slaos is a way to combine funds and have a better experience.

I can show you and anyone hwo to change this perception that some say to you and change it into a paying gig for you.

Mindpro: You are most wlecome. It is my pleasure. I am always glad to help and to assist. this is a great market that not enough people do. You can really work it quite well and earn extra income in the months of february, march and even april.

I do on average of 15-20 banquets a year as well as scout camps and other scout pack magic themed meetings. I would be happy to assist you.

The pricing varies according to areas of the country as well as councils that they belong to. Councils that are in wealthier areas have larger budgets. it is safe to say that an average budget for a show would be about a birthday party show price as a base and you can go up a little bit from there. What the lady stated was not a bad price for a banquet style show.

Now the key for banquet shows is not to offer a show so advanced that your fee is out of the ballpark. I have an illusion show that I perform, but this never is an option I give to scout banquets. I can and do offer this for scout camps as a fundraiser, but that is a different ideas entirely.

What you want to do is have a fun show that is scaled down in nature. no illusions are needed to do a scout banquet show. You can do a standard 45 minute stage style show and make it fun for the kids and the adults in attenadnace. They key is for the scouts and siblings to have a fun time. You can accomplish this without a huge show.

Now what I also do is offer show package optioons. now this is ideal because it gives the packs a better chance of booking you for something. Instead of yes or no. they can select the package that best works for them and you still gain and earn income.

I reccomend possibly a 45 minute show, then a 30 minute show and then just a strolling magic package. if they want, strolling magic can be added to any package for an additional fee. now by doing this, you give each pack a lot of choices and it allows you to test orice ranges. You can see what packs in what areas are teneding to book which package.

I do this a lot for new areas and it helps me a lot to start guaging rpice ranges in the areas I want to promote. I almost always book scout shows by offering multiple package ideas and really selling them on what I directly do for them to meet their needs for the event.

So if you do a fair and festival large show, you do not have to do this for a scout banquet. that is often a bit too much. scale the show back a little bit making it easier for you but fun for the scouts involved.

I would be happy to go over any pricing ideas as well as what you can do and offer and also even tell you how to approach the scout packs and get them really intersted in you. my pleasure to do so.

Kyle
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Mary Mowder
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Thank you magic4u02,

I've just been hitting my head against the wall trying to make contact with both The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

If I call, they are not in and don't return my call and if I email they say I am not allowed, I assume this means I'm being called spam.

Your flyer idea may be the solution.

Do you think I am at a disadvantage with the Boy Scouts because I am a woman?

Anyway, thank you for the flyer idea and the other info. as well.

- Mary Mowder
magic4u02
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Mary: You are most welcome. You are not at a disadvantage at all. In reality, it is what you provide and the solutions that you give, that makes you a valuable asset to any banquet or organization. The main key I teach people is to learn how to get the scout packs to see your value.

Now the rules and tips and techniques I teach and talk about in my book "Blue and Gold" also work equally as well for girl scout troops. I have applied it to that and it works just as well.

The one thing you want to make sure about is that you do not keep mailing to or asking the main scout council for mailing addresses of the packs etc. This technique will not work because they are not allowed to give out that information for safety reasons.

The key is to get your flyer and your emails directly into the hands of the pack leaders themselves. This is the technique that works wonderfully well. I teach you an email marketing techniquw that consists of a lead email and a follow up email system that entices through showing them the value you have to meet their needs. I then go into more detail about HOW to work with scout councils and the ways in which they will work best with you to get your flyer to the scout leaders at the round table meetings.

There are many more marketing techniques that anyone can apply and this is covered more in the book for sure. I will try and list a lot here in the hopes it helps others to venture into the market. My pleasure to do so.

One thing you do not want to do is call packs directly on the phone. I mean you can, but it is not as effective a process. The combination of my email marketing technique along with a method for working directly with the scout councils, works amazingly well.

There is also great techniques you can utilize when you get in to do an event so that they remember you and your contact information long after you have left the banquet.

Making contact with the scout packs and girl scout troops is the biggest problem most anyone faces when it comes to marketing. However, like any client, they are also customers. The one thing we must realize is that customers buy things because they have a need or problem to be solved.

For example, you might go out and buy a new razor because your old one does not work and you have the need. You buy a mower because your grass is too tall and you need a way to manage it. Likewise, scout troops have needs and problems for their banquet. When you know what these needs and problems are, your marketing materials and emails can address these with solutions. When the pack sees these solutions, your value climbs in their mind.

I hope this helps. If you or anyone has any questions at all about working this market, PLEASE post here so I may be able to assist you. if anyone has any questions on my book "Blue and Gold", just let me know as well. Always happy to help.

Kyle
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themagiciansapprentice
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Steve,

I did a Guide group's Entertainers Badge evening in the UK(a show and I taught them two tricks) for nothing. I did this as three of the Guides are in my Church Puppet team and it felt wrong to ask for a fee.

From this I got a booking (normal fee) from a nearby Brownie group in July and a request to do their Ranger Guides 200-person banquet in November (double fee).

Soon lots of Scout Groups will be celebrating their 100th anniversary and requesting a show.
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
Trekdad
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I was a cub scout leader for our local pack when my son was in scouts, and I've been through endless B&G planning. Kyle's advice is right on. First, the entertainment is the biggest expense next to the food, and is also the hardest for the scout leaders to plan. Being a "solutions provider" makes their jobs much easier if you're in budget.

As to the scout roundtables, that is the best way to get your name and services in front of all the pack leaders. That's where the leaders from the packs get their ideas for the upcoming meetings and share resources for things like -- the B&G dinners. Really excellent way to reach them all with minimal effort.
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magic4u02
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Magicians apprentice is right. Also keep in mind that you can provide a magic themed meeting nigth for a troop or scout den or pack and sell that as an option all year round. This enables you to do scout shows not just during the banquet season.

I do this a lot and it allows me to do scout magic nights where I also help them to earn a badge in the process. It also allows me to do scout camps also. I give more details and more ideas in the book as to how you can go about this process.

Trekdad: thanks for the kind words my friend. It is nice to know that someone else also understands that what I say here and in my book is spot on based on research and more on the fact that I have been doing this for years. You can work scout shows and anyone can do them if they go about it the right way.

The round table meetings and working with the scout councils are key and such a great secret many folks do not know about. It is a way to get YOUR information in their hands. The best part is that they WANT your information but just do not know how to get it. You make their entertainment decision making an easy one and they will love you for it.

Kyle
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Al Angello
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Kyle
I just googled a couple towns in my area, and although I found cub scout web sites the only real information listed was the time and place of their meetings.
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Bob Sanders
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Two routines I love for this:

(20th Century Silks) Two blue with gold center combined with Silk to Egg using the center gold silk to vanish. Tie the blues together, perform Sucker Silk to Egg with yellow silk. Crack the real egg but the vanished silk reappears tied between the blue silks.

The other is the 4-Color double color changing silks. Blue & gold changed to red and white (moving up to Boy Scouts)

Bob Sanders
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magic4u02
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AL: there are a ton of sites locally I use every single year. YToiu have to do some hunting and acquire some of the secrets in how to best find the information. There are also gold mine scout pack locator sites that I also use that also have a ton of contact information and such. It works wonderfully.

Bob: Great routines. Anything that is scout releated or the Blue and Gold colors can play really well for a banquet show and add that much more appeal to the client and pack.

Kyle
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Starrpower
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Lists are hard to compile. Web sites sometimes has contact information, but are time consuming to wade through. Often only give email contacts, not always mail contacts ... and SPAMMING is not a great way to send out promo.

You can take your promo to the scout office and sometimes it'll get to the meeting, sometimes not. I have actually been invited to the council meetings, and usually I see stuff like that piled on tables, not placed in individual mailboxes.

B&G Banquets are not the most lucrative market, but they are worth doing as every little bit helps. Having said that, if you have to spend hour and hours compiling a mailing list, maybe your time could be better spent promoting to other markets.

Just a thought.

As for material, two or three themed effects are enough. You do not have to theme your show to death; just enough to make it a themed show.
Skip Way
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Ahhhh, the advantages of being a Scouting sponsor, certified merit badge counselor and attending the regular roundtables. I sure hope none of my local competition is reading your thread, Kyle. Smile
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magic4u02
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Hi all,

This is and can be a very lucrative market if one learns how to go about it the right way. You set up a list and marketing systems that work for you not against you. The systems that are set in place do not take much time to do and each year they tend to get easier and easier.

This is a market you can easily add a lot of income for yourself in times that are usually down times for most performers. Not only that, but you can learn easy ways in which to work scout shows all year round through magic themed meeting nights as well as girl scout troop shows and working with scoutn camps and jamborees.

Skip: Thanks so much my friend for the kind words. I do appreciate it and hope the information I freely share here can be of help to others. I am happy to help those who want to help themselves.

As far as your competition goes, I will hypnotise them into giving you all that they find. hehe


I also thank many of you for the kind emails and Pms I have received over the past few days. It is very appreciated and I hope my information helps you get into a great marjet that can generate income for you.

Kyle
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Starrpower
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Doing one tonight ...
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