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gman
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I was on another forum the other night when a discussion broke out and it got me to thinking about the following:

Why is it when it comes to developing shows everyone talks about being original? Yet, when it comes to marketing that original show we use the same type of marketing. For example…

Jack Turk has a marketing kit for birthday parties. In it he has a template of a website that you can use as an example to get ideas from (at least that is how I look at it now). Now if you go to Google and do a search for “birthday magicians” you will find a bunch of magicians using the exact same template with NO Changes to it.

OK the only changes were the description of the shows and maybe the videos and pictures although I did see a site that had the “Put Your Video Here” and “Put Pictures Here” on the site.

Now I am not dumping on Jack or his course or any other marketing course out there. No, I am just wondering why it is that we in the magic community say things like “don’t use Gazzo’s cups and ball routine” but then turn around and use a template we see exactly as is with maybe slight changes to it.

Your thoughts??

George
Skip Way
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Off the top of my head, I would estimate that out of every hundred "magicians", we might find one or two true and creative original performers. Why would one expect these 98 clones to handle their marketing any more creatively?
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gman
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That is an interesting view Skip. But there are some of the so-called original performers (more likely those who just tout it) that use the same "me too" marketing. Interesting view. Thanks for your input.

George
Ken Northridge
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Some are gifted in art (performing) and some are gifted in business (marketing). Seldom is one gifted at both.
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Sam Sandler
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I would also think that a lot of these "CLONES" as Skip put it don't have the funds nor education to expand on what they have.

meaning buying the course it has everything laid out for them sure I agree not many creative souls out there but they bought the course for the simplicity of being ablet to have a nice looking website in hope sto improve their biz.

maybe we notice this stuff then the average joe.

interesting question though.\
sam
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Skip Way
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I didn't say being a magic clone was a bad thing, guys. We all started out by mimicking those we admire and most wanted to be like. I'm just pointing out that many never advance beyond that stage through lack of creativity or drive. I would think that a truly original performer would find a way around the limitations of funds and graphic talent rather than allowing themselves to be seen as a copy of the guy down the street or two states over. Hence the 2% estimate of genuinely all-around original magicians. Most of us could probably list that 2% on a single sheet of paper. They stand well out from the crowd.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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Andrew Morse
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I was going to be a very creative businessman. Then I realized that if I wanted to be successful at business, I had better learn the magic side. Smile J K
gman
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OK let me phrase this another way...

Why is it not ok for magicians to use commercial tricks or acts (from dvd's) and it is ok to use marketed templates verbatiem?
David Thiel
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I think you need to see it from a client perspective. You referenced birthday party magicians. Good choice. Do you think mom or dad really care about the originality of the website when making a booking? Dad is wondering how much it costs. Mom is wanting the show booked by someone who will entertain her kids.

I was watching a magician in a shopping mall a couple of years ago. EVERYTHING he did was pre-designed: from Artomatic to the Vanishing Bandanna. There was nothing original in the show at all. Nada. He was on for 45 minutes doing bit after bit, huge chunks of material and concepts stolen from other performers, much of which I recognized because it was mine.

Ask me if the audience or the client cared. Right the first time. Nope. He got a standing ovation from huge segments of the audience and the client has booked him for five more shows over the next two years. She loves him.

So you tell me: did original material help him?

Don't get me wrong. I am completely in favor of doing things as an original act. Of course the art is important to us! We're artists. But we are going to have to stop thinking the clients care because they don't. Okay MOST of them don't. Many magicians do -- but magicians don't pay the bills. Clients do.

You think that magician cared? Nope. He's being rewarded right and left for being a "clone" -- and worse a idea thief.

Same thing with a website. Same thing with marketing materials.

I am sure if you put some hack comic magician on-stage and then slipped Mac King on, that the client would notice the difference in original material etc. But that's not likely to happen, is it?

I agree that savvy corporate buyers, those with many thousands to throw at a show, will examine the materials more carefully. But most of us don't move in those circles.

David
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gman
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So, David based on what you said if you were to look up "birthday magician' and the first 3 or 4 sites have the same information on it describing the show exactly but with different tricks, it really doesn't matter. Did I read that right? Huh, interesting. Thanks for the information.

George
Ken Northridge
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George, I think I see your point. David, Great insight.

I have always thought, and still do, that it is more important to be good in marketing than it is to have a great show. Both would be wonderful, but as I said earlier in this thread, most are not gifted in both areas.

I saw Duane Laflin interviewed last month and he was asked a question about marketing. To my surprise, he said he knows very little about the subject. His time and energy goes into improving his show, and lets his show sell him. And, as we know, he is booked solid. If Duane Lafllin had a template web site it really wouldn’t matter too much. They’ve seen his show and all his prospects want to know is how to contact him.

The magician that David was talking about (two posts up) is obviously not gifted at coming up with original material. But from the reaction of the audience, and the fact that he gets repeat bookings, is evidence that he is successful.

What I’m saying is its ok to have a template web site if you are not gifted in that area.
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David Thiel
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I see no problem with website templates...especially currently. There are amazing options out there.

George: I think you misread my point. I genuinely believe that, with reference to birthday parties, that the buying decision is made very quickly after one or two calls by the parent. Not many shop around because they don't know HOW to shop around. They have no idea what questions to ask or what to use as a measure of what is a good act and what isn't. I think they COULD look at several template sites with only minor variations and think that's the way it's done.

The whole point of my posting is that we do not sell, most often, to an educated audience. When magicians say things like "I need to be original" it's one thing. But I think that many who say "I need to be original in order to get extra bookings because I will stand out" are fooling themselves (when selling to uneducated audiences.)

Am I saying this is okay? Of course not! I am simply saying that it IS.

It burned me up to hear my material coming out of someone else's mouth. But what can I do about it? It's frustrating because he's not going to stop copying other people. He's making money doing it. The audience doesn't know the difference...nor do they care.

Marketing cleverly is THE difference, I think (in most cases) between making a living doing this and keeping it a hobby.

It's all in the way we measure success.

Do I think magicians should have original websites? Sure. Do I think it matters to the clients if the do or not? Not so much.

David
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Al Angello
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George
There are lots of guys that look at magic as a part time job, and those fellows want to know what to do in order to make that extra money, this is especially true with kids magicians. If you go to the little darlings you will see lots of posts there on "what tricks do you suggest I do that works". There is very little originality, and lots of clones. I have never shown my best stuff to magicians for this reason.
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Skip Way
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My thoughts on this are tinted by my years in stand-up comedy. Let a comedy club owner or fellow comedian hear you using a bit or routine that belongs to someone else once and they start to back away from you. Twice, and you may as well pack it in because no one is going to hire or refer your hack behind. Originality and integrity were drummed into my head on the comedy circuit. Things are a bit more tolerant in magic.

David has it right. The average lay client is solely concerned with entertainment value at a reasonable rate. On the other hand, the client paying Mac King rates has a right to expect Mac King - not a Mac King clone.

So, from a business and artistic perspective, while the average birthday mom may not care that the three local magicians all use the same template, more discerning clients will. Improving our marketing materials and skills is part of our growth as professionals. It's cool to start out with a common template - but as your business, reputation and fees grow, so should the originality of your show and marketing materials.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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MichaelDouglas
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Quote:
On 2011-03-03 01:20, gman wrote:
So, David based on what you said if you were to look up "birthday magician' and the first 3 or 4 sites have the same information on it describing the show exactly but with different tricks, it really doesn't matter. Did I read that right? Huh, interesting. Thanks for the information.

George


I understand your point about the value of originality. However the Magic Industry is not designed around that. It is expected among working professionsals that we will leverage the efforts of those that have gone before us. Magic Seminars, conventions, books, DVD's, props, web templates, marketing programs, are all designed for re-use by those who have purchased the right to do so.

I think that you overstate your case when you suggest the possibility of 3 or 4 magicians in THE SAME MARKET having the same template for their web site. I've looked at a lot of other magicians sites and find it rare to see near exact copies. You may be thinking of the single page call to action type of site. This is very common in many internet sales industries. It's been a proven method of invoking a response from would-be customers. I for one don't like to mess with success. If it ain't broke.....

The problem, as I see it, was well stated by one of the other posters. When we don't just use a trick, but also use the exact patter of someone else, then our credibility takes a hit. The exception to this is when the originator of the trick sold and/or gave specific permission for us to use their patter. It's far better when we can come up with our own material. Besides, when we come up with our own stuff then it sounds more genuine. when we're trying to remember someone else's lines, then it is too easy for it to sound rehearsed.

The push for originality is admirable but to restate what other's have clarified, our audiences don't care....and their opinion matters most.
gman
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All GREAT insights guys thanks for sharing. Ken for the record I am not against using templates. I am guilty of using them myself which is one of the reasons my site no longer is up and running.

"It burned me up to hear my material coming out of someone else's mouth. But what can I do about it? It's frustrating because he's not going to stop copying other people. He's making money doing it. The audience doesn't know the difference...nor do they care." -- David That Is So True! Sad...But True.

Michael, I didn't overstate it...really I didn't. When I decided to take the site down I had did a search for birthday magician in lancaster, pa and there were two other sites that had the same sales page template as me. Now, I don't know if they are still there as I have no reason to worry about that keyword phrase, but at the time I did check there was three of us.

Thanks again guys for the very informative and insightful responses.

George
Skip Way
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Bottom line:

If one is satisfied with being a local birthday magician, then originality in show content & marketing is probably not a huge concern.

But, Mac King (or Lance Burton or Siegfried & Roy or...) didn't get where he is performing someone else's show or using boilterplate marketing. Just sayin'...
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Donald Dunphy
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I have no problem with performers using a template or sales letter content that they pay for. They should be aware that they are taking a risk with that, in that others in their area might use it too. But those tools were sold to help them.

Personally, I strive to learn lots about copywriting, selling, etc., so that I can write my own website and sales letter content. Either write my own, or adapt it in major ways from the book / course / template that I purchased. Then it is unique.

Of course, the other option is to pay another professional to do it for you, and only you.

What bothers me much more than performers using templates (that were sold for that use), is when performers use website copy, etc., from other performers without the permission from the owner.

To those people I would say, go buy a template or course and use it. Smile

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Skip Way
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"...when performers use website copy, etc., from other performers without the permission from the owner."

Ask Brad Roberts from Vegas about that. A fellow took his entire website, photos and all, changed Brad's name and phone number to his and set it up as his own. To his credit, Brad called the guy, asked him politely to take it down and then helped him set up an original site.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
jackturk
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What I like is when people directly lift customer testimonials.

Now that's magical.
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