Steaks, Sizzles, Card Tricks & Cameras

“Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.” We all know this quote, a classic in the marketing world. The gist is that when selling something, it’s best to emphasize the experience of a product and how it would benefit the customer, as opposed to just listing out features. It’s great advice, but I’ve often looked at it the wrong way because I’ve been fooled by the sizzle…literally. We’ve all been in restaurants and seen someone walk by with a plate of food. A trail of steam lingers in the air, we smell it as it goes by, we literally hear it sizzle, and then think, “That looks great! I’m ordering whatever that is”. I’ve done that, and on a few occasions, it was a bust. The meat was tough and flavorless, and despite the steam, it really wasn’t that hot. I never ordered it again.

What on earth does this have to do with magic?

It got me thinking about what people might look for when hiring a magician and how to avoid being fooled by sizzle. For example, virtual magic shows are now a common form of entertainment and, as a result, many entertainers have reworked their shows and workspaces to include more and more technology. Their websites, social media, and other marketing all reflect that. But, the technology supporting the show is not actually the show.

Do you need a camera? Absolutely. Do you need a microphone? It certainly wouldn’t hurt. Is lighting important? Totally. And should these tools and this equipment for virtual shows be as high quality as possible? Sure. However, as a customer, you weren’t interested in renting a camera, you were looking for a magician. A great camera helps, but it won’t make the show more magical. A great microphone helps, but it won’t make the jokes any funnier. All of this is meant to help make a show run better, but it’s not the content of the show.

I think of it this way: When was the last time your favorite band promoted a concert by showing you how many new amps they have? When was the last time your favorite comedian promoted a show by telling you he got a new microphone? Or when was the last time you decided to binge-watch a show because there were special lights used? It’s rare, because at the end of the day it really comes down to the content.

So, how much sizzle do you need? Everyone’s different, so who knows? But if you find yourself needing a magician, remember that sometimes the steak itself really is important.

Learn more about Derrin’s virtual show!