I really think every event could use a little magic. I don’t necessarily mean hire me to do magic for your next event, but rather that most produced events have a specific problem. They lack the element of “magic”; something out of the ordinary.  In a word, “outrageousness.”

I have a great deal of respect for both magic and marketing, and I think they both share common attributes.  When they’re done right they are extraordinary.  They are outrageousness personified.  Good magic and good marketing has drama and an element of shock to it.  I embrace shock value and use it in the proper places in my stage show.

Of course outrageousness loses its effect through overuse.  The purpose of marketing is to get the attention of consumers, pulling them away from the competition and converting this into sales for your event business.  You want your client to experience a shift in the way he or she thinks about you; a wow! This will not only make you stand out from the competition, but will add huge amounts of bottom-line profits to your event business.

Everybody understands the “Law of Reciprocity,” right?  The way it works is, if someone does something nice for you, you feel obligated to do something nice in return for them.  I’m sure you’ve received numerous mailings from charity organizations, which included, as a free gift for you, a packet of personalized return address labels.  Now those labels don’t legally obligate you in any way whatsoever to make a donation to the charity that sent them to you.  However, those little labels do emotionally obligate you.  And, you know what?  Including those “free” labels in their mail promotions exponentially increases their results.

Again, obviously the purpose of marketing is to get the attention of consumers, pull them away from the competition and convert this into sales for your event business.  But an upcoming event planner’s problem isn’t finding customers (as in some business).  There are thousands of potential customers in your city right now.  Just look at all of the events taking place tonight.  Those are your customers!  The problem is obscurity.  These potential customers don’t realize they need you because you’re not standing out to them.

To me, Coke’s “Where Will Happiness Strike Next?” campaign is a perfect example of standing out and reciprocity.  You can check it out here.  Now isn’t that just magic?  What I like most about it is that it’s not just some television commercial.  It’s not even a YouTube video that went viral.  It’s an event, and events are your business!  Granted, it happens to come from the most fertile minds in marketing and advertising, the Wieden & Kennedy Agency of Amsterdam.  And it’s designed specifically to reach a college demographic.  But it really is the stuff of magic.  It has the same draw as David Blaine being frozen in a block of ice in Times Square.

This event brought students together to help them cast aside their insecurities and problems and enjoy the moment.  The Coca-Cola company transformed a boring college cafeteria into a magical theater.  And how many times do you pass by a Coke vending machine and think nothing of it?  It’s even bright red.  However, this one rewarded students handsomely for the simple act of buying a Coke.  The concept is so simple, yet uplifting.  It perfectly demonstrates Coke’s message, and you can’t help but smile as you watch it.

So if it’s good enough for Coke, why aren’t you doing something like this to attract clients?  You’re an expert at creating events aren’t you?  You have some special knowledge, which would be of tremendous value to anyone having an event.  Why don’t you publish a website?  A FREE website?  Why don’t you give people a ton of free info and ask for nothing in return?  Don’t hold back, either.  Give them the real secrets.  Then, after a rather long period, hold a seminar on how to plan your own events and save money, sell a book, offer consulting, etc.  Your street credit would soar.  In other words…be like Coke.

Think I’m being too idealistic?  David Copperfield has something called “Backstage With David Copperfield.”  It’s a way for him to “lab rat test” his new illusions before presenting them to the public.  From what I can tell his crew invites ten or more people at his show to stay afterwards and get a chance to see a brand new, never-before-seen illusion.  These sessions are recorded, and David presents the illusion to these select viewers.  Then they are focus grouped and asked things like, “What were its strengths, weaknesses and attributes?,”  “How could it be more believable?” and “What did you think the effect of the illusion was?”  I think it’s fantastic because many celebrities do a backstage VIP tour, but here’s one using that concept, which the audience is all too happy to participate in, to make his show even better.  Could you use something like this to promote an event?

You do something that draws excitement.  Why not take it to the next level by bringing what you do to life for your client?  That’s what one beer company did when they recreated the walk-in, beer-filled refrigerator depicted in a commercial.  Consumers were given the chance to walk through a real beer-filled, walk-in refrigerator while taking pictures and videos.  Afterward, they posted their pics and videos on various social media sites, resulting in further advertisement for the beer company.  You can check it out here.

The ability to think outside the box is important for event planners that want to grab consumers’ attention and convert sales.  But of course this is easier said than done, and it is a kind of fine art.  The strategies that work for one company can prove to be a total flop for another.  You must know your client, his or her customer base, and how you can help.

If you really need to stand out from the crowd however, it’s necessary to step away from common marketing techniques and use a method that evokes greater response.  The marketing ideas shared above might seem crazy to you, or they might just spark a wild idea of your own.  One thing’s for sure, to stay ahead of the game, you’ve got to be able to think outside of the box.  Your clients want to see your magic, so don’t disappoint them.  Be outrageous!

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