Marketing lessons learned from the world’s largest magic convention

“You can do it one on one, or for five people at once. You can do it in their hands… or on the table and, the best thing is, you’re not left dirty at the end, so there’s nothing to clean up!”

I’ve just been to Blackpool for the weekend to visit the world’s largest magic convention.

(Yeah, yeah… get all the jokes out now…)

I’ve learned some stuff too. Stuff that I want to share with you.

“Are you going to teach me how to saw my husband in half, produce a rabbit from a hat and the secret to wearing a ’70s tux?”


 (I WAS going to do that, but since you made jokes about the whole “magic weekend in Blackpool” thing, I’m not gonna)

I wanted to share some lessons about selling, marketing and carbohydrates.

Unsurprisingly, the world’s largest convention also has the world’s largest dealer hall.

If you’ve never seen a dealer hall at a magic convention, let me help you out. It’s a truly wondrous place, filled with mystery and intrigue – a massive collection of totally bizarre and wildly disparate items.

It’s like the middle aisle of Lidl…

…on steroids.

I spent quite a few hours this weekend squeezing my way through the packed hall, looking at magic tricks and having my face rammed into the armpits of sweaty middle-aged men.

…again, like shopping in the middle aisle of Lidl…

I learned some lessons. 

(Facial scrubs are best at removing faint traces of Lynx for one)

Conventions like these are a great opportunity, and not just because you get an espresso-esque concentration hit of your customers, all in one room. 

There are a few more advantages to attending a convention as a seller:

1. You can speak to your customers

Note: “speak” not “pitch”. You can pitch to your customers anywhere, but you can chat to them best face to face.

You can chat to them about the cool stuff they’ve seen, what they’re excited about, what they want to see and what they don’t want to see.

They’ll tell you what really matters to them… for free!

Most problems in marketing come from not being able to get inside your customers head. 

Go to a trade show and chat with your people. Listen to them. They’re more than a walking wallet. 

They’ll give you suggestions, opinions, pain points, content ideas and product advice – FOR FREE!

You know, the kind of stuff that will save you time, money, effort and stress as you create things that makes their lives easier.

2. Network with the competition

But they’ll nick my best customers…“, you might say.

No. If someone is able to steal your customer away, you’re doing something wrong.

Think about it this way – if you have a trusted car mechanic, it’s going to take a lot more than the promise of saving a few quid for you to switch.

Reputable mechanics are rarer than a Steven Seagal Oscar-winning speech.

Once you have a great mechanic, you hang onto them for dear life.

Customers don’t leave because someone was a little bit cheaper. They leave because they value the upside more than the cost of changing suppliers. 

Changing suppliers is like cooking a roast dinner for one. It’s hard, stressy and a ball ache to do, so, unless you need to switch, or really fancy a roast, it’s not going to happen. 

Be the one that customers hang onto dear life to stay with. Be the mechanic that doesn’t rip people off.

3. Share ideas freely

If I share my ideas, people will steal them…“.

Ideas are easy. It’s the execution that’s the difficult bit.

Magic conventions are a great testament to the power of sharing ideas. 

Despite being built on a foundation of secrets, magic conventions have lectures, where a famous magician will stand on a stage and teach – for free – some of their favourite tricks. Some of these lectures are good, and some are absolutely shite. 

This weekend, I saw two lecturers who gave out so many good ideas, I couldn’t keep up. I’ve earmarked the whole of today to go through my notebook while it’s still fresh(ish) in my memory.

(I’ve had a quick peek and I may need an Enigma level coding machine to decipher my handwriting)

Here’s the point though, at the end of each lecture, even though I’d copied the tricks down, I still bought the lecture notes. 

I loved their tricks. I loved their magic, and I wanted to say thank you.

Most people are decent human beings – they’re not looking to steal. They’re looking to connect.

There’s a bond created whenever you share something meaningful. 

4. Pizza Express do an amazing Padana pizza

So there you have it – four things I learned from the world’s largest magic convention this weekend.


I like to imagine you singing that to the tune of “Shake Shake Senora” by Harry Belafonte. I like to imagine it because I’m sure as hell that no one is actually going to do it.

Have a great week,