Houdini the Magic Marketer

While watching a TV show the other day I saw someone perform the famous Harry Houdini Great escape from water. This spark my curiosity and I wanted to find out how the trick was performed. What I found was amazing.

When we think of magicians we think about Harry Houdini, David Copperfield and David Blaine. But the interesting thing is that both David Copperfield and David Blaine are both still alive and Harry Houdini died almost 100 years ago, which means that almost everyone on earth today has never seen him perform or even watch a video of his performances. What is most amazing is that most people can tell you that he is famous for great escapes yet they haven't even see him perform and escape and there were many people performing the same escapes at the time. So what made Harry Houdini famous then?

Great Marketing

Harry Houdini knew that in order to compete with the other escape artist at the time he had to do something different. Harry Houdini used a number of clever marketing tactics to improve his brand. I am going to look at 3 things I think Harry Houdini did to make himself famous.

Copywriting - Harry Houdini wrote lots of copy for his advertising and enticed crowds to watch his show but the most memorable was 'Failure Means a Drowning Death.' This phase is still used today my escape artist. It got people attending!

Customer Centric - Houdini though long and hard about how to put the customer first as he knew that his shows wouldn't sell if they weren't interested. There are many accounts of this. Houdini started by performing simple card tricks at the beginning of his shows. After being advice to people didn't want to watch him doing card tricks he stopped altogether. In another instance his brother discovered that people would be most amazed if they could actually watch his escapes instead of being behind a curtain and informed Houdini, who adapted his show again and received huge interest again.

Out the box thinking (Houdini Solution) - I have called this the Houdini Solution because Houdini actually though inside the box. So much so that he began locking himself in them. The theory here is that not matter what problem we need to solve there are always boundaries that the solution has to fit into, so instead of thinking outside those boundaries (outside the box) we think inside the box! Houdini's most famous out the box thinking was when he was performing in Paris he go seven men all looking similar to sit on a bench at a busy intersection with top hats on. At certain intervals they would lean forward and removed their hats to bald heads with letters on them spelling H-O-U-D-I-N-I.

Public Relations - Perhaps the thing Houdini used the most. Houdini loved to perform in the streets for free as long as their were journalists around to write about him. Houdini's escape from Scotland Yard was carefully planned to ensure that their were journalists around to record what he had done. Houdini used to escape from prisons all the time as long as there was a story to be written. In fact being the master of deceit, Houdini set up to escape from handcuffs from under a frozen lake. However the media representative was so poor the Houdini never performed the trick but went home and wrote his own story and sent it the the press, even though he didn't perform it. Houdini realised that PR was free and if had tremendous power and he used it to his advantage.

So what can we learn from Harry Houdini?

Think inside the box (Houdini Solution)
Always think about your customers, they make you rich and famous.
When writing always try get attention.
Use Public Relations, it's FREE!

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