Saturday, October 20, 2012

10 Rules to market magic!

1. The main item needs to fool magicians.
I cannot stress the point hard enough. Magicians will not buy what's practical, but what fools them. If they are fooled, they assume it must be good. 

2. Make sure the main item uses a very obscure method.
Instead of using a Double Lift, use Sticky Tape to achieve the result. Magicians love methods. Even though the audience will not be aware of that. 

3. Add filler material, preferably card tricks.
Card tricks are very easy to create. It's very simple to create a new twist on a tried and true plot. So naturally they are great filler. Magic fluff is the industry term. But of course you don't call it filler. You call it a "bonus".

4. Create a video to demonstrate the effect.
Then edit it so the method cannot be backtracked. Even if you follow rule #1, not 100% of the magicians will be fooled, because some of you are smarter or more knowledgeable than you. Some have even read the whole of the Tarbell Course. So to fool those few you need to cut the video. Otherwise you cannot sell it.

5. Start hyping the product months in advance.
By having your "friends" ask about it at the Magic Cafe. The Magic Cafe is a horrible, horrible place, but just like in a sleazy part of town magic rumor spreads like the plague. Also free snippets will work. Release them for free, if they join your newsletter. That way you have a big base of subscribers that you can market to. For free. But in order to do that make sure you have plenty of material. Not just one trick.

6. If you have more than one item, make sure you spread them out over "Volumes".
No matter if books or DVD the main principle is the same. If you have three great tricks, you need to release a 3 DVD set. If you have have two great tricks, you need to release two books. The rest of the book/DVD will be filled with magic fluff.

7. Publish a release date and offer subscribers an early bird discount.
This is crucial. You need to establish a fan base. And how do you get fans? By making them think they get something cheaper than the rest.

8. Don't sleep!
During the first days of the product's release you have to be awake 24/7. The forums will be all about your product. The better forums will be honest about it. Don't worry about it too much. But those "spoiler" forums will try to take it apart and reveal the method. You need to have a fake identity to post stuff like "Nope, that's not how it works. It uses a clever new principle." That way they buy it.

9. Have less items than the market demands.
The line "out of stock" is magical dynamite. The demand will be high. So about half a year later, you can release version 2.0.

10. Listen to critical responses...
...but forget their names. Use the suggestions how to improve on your routines and work all of that into the version 2.0. Swarm intelligence also applies to magicians. Be the collector of the goods stuff. Make the most of it. And by that I mean money.


Peter Prevos said...

I am currently at the New Zealand Magic Convention in Chrustchurch. Observing Mark Mason I noticed him using an interesting technique: mention all the techniques not used. This strengthens the first rule and supports the second one.

Magicians suffer from neophilia: a need for novelty and change.

Andrea Pancotti said...

hello, i've made a (poor) translation at

Roland said...

Wow, what effort :-)

Magnus Asbjorn said...

This sounds like a list to use for a new blog "Weekly Magic Marketing Failures"

fb043a26-1e3e-11e2-a85c-000bcdcb2996 said...

The trick should look good from the magicians perspective. Magicians love tricks that are fun for them to perform for themselves since most of them can't hold the attention of a real human being.

Oh - dont forget the screaming homeless person. Can't be a good trick if the Homeless don't run away in fear.

Aaron D. said...

also for your trailer you need a profile shot of you looking very pensive and intense about nothing at all, preferably with a change of the camera lense focus... and you must must must, get a shot of street signs, or traffic signs, or anything else that has no relevence to your trick! its the only way to be cool!

Stacy said...

I wrote a long list of cliches from magic trailers, and two which tie nicely into effect development would fit nicely on this list.

one: 'organic' effects use objects you find lying around in the real world, which is useful if you don't want to be seen using props, but also makes the gimmicks cheap to produce. From chewing gum packets to tic tac boxes, it seems modern magicians love magic made from gimmicked trash.

two: there's a growing number of icebreaking tricks out there. That is, if you want to do magic "on the streets" but lack the self esteem to make the first move on a stranger, do an effect which starts with one of the props worn in a prominant place, so that people will approach you to ask about it.