Ask Mr. Marketing: Booth Babes Sell Little. Film at 11.

By Rob Weinberg

What’s a booth babe?

– Mike Quigley

These days, conference attendees are sure to find a few booths staffed by beautiful women in skimpy outfits.

They’re typically hired for their ability to lure visitors (read men) into the booth to ask questions. Once hooked, these sales prospects are directed to legitimate company representatives for the sales pitch.

This sexist bait and switch is potentially counter-productive, since 52% of the American population is female. You do the math.

About 20 years ago I worked a booth at a conference with 400 exhibitors at New York’s Javitz Center.

Amidst all the noise and selling activity was a single booth with a never-ending 25-foot line of men. At the head of the line was a beautiful, buxom Penthouse Pet squeezed into a tight white T-shirt. She sat there autographing photos of herself and thrilling every guy she met.

The only problem was that 10 minutes later not one of these men — their fantasies unfulfilled — could identify what was being sold at the booth.

Miss Penthouse had fueled their desires, but did nothing for her sponsor’s bottom line.

A few years later I was at another Javitz show that covered the equivalent of five football fields with hundreds of exhibits. Kohler (the shower people) had a booth at a major intersection with a shower stall with smoked glass.

Inside was a lithesome young woman whose full body profile could be seen through the glass. The shower ran from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. for four straight days, and this young woman showered the entire time.

Prune City, huh?

It was an amazing coincidence; every man in the place made it his business to pass that booth at least three times daily — even if their business was WAY at the other end of the room!

OK, I’ll admit booth babes can potentially drive incremental traffic to your booth. But in the final analysis I’m convinced you’ll find they didn’t significantly contribute to the bottom line.

Long-term profits from an improved website, good collateral, solid graphics, effective displays, and knowledgeable sales reps will all be WAY more attractive to you than some tight-skirted cutie you’ll never see again.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Mr. Marketing is available for hire as a speaker at your next conference. Reach him at www.askmrmarketing.com.

   
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