I’ve seen several writers and new sources chime in recently on the controversy of hiring models, aka ‘booth babes’ at tradeshows to attract attention.
Here the CBC looks at the continuing controversy.
Fortune Magazine covers a story where the RSA Conference, a top tech conference in San Francisco, has banned those scantily clad girls.
The Geek Feminism Wiki describes what exactly is a ‘booth babe.’
The Infotainer, Anders Boulanger goes into it in a couple of places on his blog, and nails it.
I don’t have much add, except for a few questions for the marketing geniuses who think that hiring an attractive scantily-clad model is going to bring in more leads and close more business.
First, do the models represent the essence of what your company is all about? Do they really show off what your company is all about? Unless you’re a company that rents dancing girls, probably not. Instead, the girls tell attendees that you really don’t have a specific product or service that is more important than, well, scantily clad girls. How do you explain that to clients?
Do the scantily-clad women attract potential buyers? Doubtful. More likely they’re an eye-candy distraction that will probably repel (read: embarrass) true buyers and draw in only those who are there for a quick gander, who will then also be embarrassed and quickly retreat because they’re intimidated.
Do your ‘booth babes’ help convert prospects to buyers? Again, in most cases: NO. Spencer Chen has done the math in detail here, which is a brilliant takedown of the idea that booth babes will help bring you more customers, but suffice it to say that someone hired strictly for their ability to draw in a specific type of male attendee probably won’t do you any good in getting a potential buyer to convert to a client.
Finally, in today’s world where ‘booth babes’ are already a controversy, why in the world would you court controversy when you’re trying to increase leads and close more accounts?
Jason Malki ,
Booth babes just make brands look cheap. Like you mentioned, unless booth babes align with your brand, which is super rare, then why have them there?
I think it depends on the quality of the “booth babe” more than anything. We definitely hire models for biggers trade shows where we might need to keep potential leads engaged while a sales consultant is working someone else. However, we do not hire scantily clad bikini models (though, I’m sure the ladies we hire would be perfectly comfortable in a bikini, if you know what I mean). We hire professional women, usually with associates and bachelors degrees that understand business, psychology, and engagement in a unique way. They are taught by the sales reps enough about the product to have a short conversation with a potential lead, and can help draw the crowd that in turns draws the crowd!
We’ve seen great success with, what we are fond of calling, “engagement specialists” because while they are models and thus conventionally beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to the majority, they are also extremely proficient business people who help us get leads and eventually make sales.
Tim Patterson ,
I think you’re right. And the danger is to lump all pretty girls into a single category. There’s a difference between a model who is in the booth for the sake of attracting eyeballs and a professional, well-groomed woman who is trained and able to engage attendees in a positive way without the need for a lot of skin.