As you may or may not know, I was working for Howard Stern. It was over ten years ago, but I still keep in touch with him from time to time. I listen to the show every day and I think it’s better than ever. I mention this 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 is well worth your time.
Here’s what happened: Howard, Robin, and a few other people on the show went out to dinner. Robin is learning about wine and Howard let her order. When Howard received the bill, he was surprised to see the price of the wine. How much was it? $ 800.00 … one bottle … Robin ordered three bottles.
Of course, the next few minutes of the show were devoted to Robin’s rudeness and nonsense with his expensive orders. Howard went on to tell the story of two wine experts who purchased a $ 3,000.00 bottle of wine. They didn’t want to spend that much, but it was their job as important wine experts to inform, so they bought it. They kept this very expensive wine for a year before opening it and writing their reviews.
Remember, these are EXPERTS in wines. They get paid to review wines from around the world and tell other connoisseurs what to drink. So they open this expensive bottle of wine and taste it.
The result? It was the best wine experience they have ever had. They got poetic about the incredible flavors and 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 that you would buy at any grocery store. They had to be honest in their reporting, so they were clear and told the story.
Robin said, “Well, sure, when you pay so much for wine, you are paying for marketing.”
Here you have someone who knows that they are paying (or Howard is paying) a lot more for something simply because it costs more, not necessarily because it is 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 the way you want. However, just because you CAN doesn’t mean you should.
Honestly evaluate what you can bring to a customer and price it accordingly. This means not charging more than you are worth, but it also means not selling yourself cheap. Ironically, the last problem occurs more often than the first.