As you may or may not know, I used to work for Howard Stern. It was over ten years ago, but I’m still in contact with him once in a great while. I listen to the show every day, and I think it’s better than it’s ever been. I’m bringing this up because Howard and Robin had a conversation about wine that serves as a great marketing lesson for magicians. This story is a bit long, but bear with me, it’s worth your time.
Here’s what happened: Howard, Robin, and some other people from the show went out to dinner. Robin is learning about wine and Howard let her do the ordering. When Howard got the bill, he was shocked to see the price of the wine. How much was it? $800.00…a bottle…Robin ordered three bottles.
Of course, the next several minutes of the show were devoted to Robin’s rudeness and goofing on her pricey ordering. Howard went on to tell the story of two wine experts that purchased a $3,000.00 bottle of wine. They didn’t want to spend so much, but it was their job as big shot wine experts to report back, so they bought it. They saved this very expensive wine for a year before opening it and writing their reviews.
Remember, these are wine EXPERTS. They get paid to review wines all over the world and tell other connoisseurs what to drink. So, they open up this expensive bottle of wine and give it a try.
The result? It was the best wine experience they ever had. They waxed poetic about the incredible flavors and just how amazing this wine was. However, they weren’t drinking the $3,000.00 bottle of wine. By mistake, one of them grabbed a cheap $10 bottle of table wine you’d get from any grocery store. They had to be honest in their reporting, so they came clean and told the story.
Robin said, “Well, sure, when you pay that much for wine, you’re paying for the marketing.”
Here you have someone that knows she’s paying (or Howard’s paying) a lot more for something simply because it costs more, not necessarily because it’s better. She knows it and does it anyway!
Although perception and quality don’t go hand in hand, I think they should. In other words, you can use marketing to position yourself any way you want. However, just because you CAN doesn’t mean you should.
Honestly evaluate what you can bring to a client and price yourself accordingly. This means not charging more than your worth but it also means not selling yourself cheap. Ironically, the latter problem happens more often than the former.