Veteran Marketer Proves Booth Babes Don't Work

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Veteran Marketer Proves Booth Babes Don't Work

booth babe guy

Booth babes are everywhere, but it turns out that they're actually not very good at what they're supposed to do.

Booth babes. A lot of people don't like them, but go to just about any kind of trade show and there they are, drawing your attention to the latest videogame, sports car, big-screen television or machine gun. (Seriously, check this out.) They're ubiquitous, and they show no sign of going away anytime soon - but do they actually work?

According to veteran marketer Spencer Chen, they do not, and he tells a pretty good tale to prove it. A couple of years ago he stumbled upon an opportunity to test his belief that booth babes are "anchors" by staffing two booths for the same product at the same show very differently: One with "professional booth babe talent" and the other with contractors from the local area who brought more to the table than just physical attractiveness. He was initially alarmed by the reps provided for the second booth - "They weren't just older than your typical booth babe, one was literally a grandmother," he wrote - but the results spoke for themselves.

"The booth that was staffed with the booth babes generated a third of the foot traffic (as measured by conversations or demos with our reps) and less than half the leads (as measured by a badge swipe or a completed contact form) while the other team had a consistently packed booth that ultimately generated over 550 leads, over triple from the previous year," he wrote. "Everyone on the team was genuinely surprised by the results but duly convinced. It was like showing some hardened sales reps a new golf swing."

Chen said he was able to duplicate the results at other events over the course of the year, a rather important part of his "proof," and also noted that booth babes aren't just ineffectual but can actually be detrimental: Many attendees find their presence intimidating and the ones they do attract "were always the overconfident weirdos." Most objections to booth babes are based on the sexism inherent in the role; perhaps Chen's observations will offer a more practical reason for doing away with them, and be more successful in making it happen.

Source: TechCrunch

Permalink

This doesn't particularly surprise me. A lot of people are likely to avoid them, purely so they don't get thought of as a pervert.

Then there is the possibility that some women might find them awkward, and some heterosexual men might find them insulting, as though they need see a scantily clad woman to be gain interest in something. Which is essentially the purpose of them in the first place.

As somebody who has never attended a place that has had them, I've never been particularly bothered by the idea. But at the same time I have also never really seen the point.

I can understand having people dress up as characters, if it is from a work of fiction. Beyond that it just seems kind of juvenile.

Wait people actually or still think this is an effective marketing tactic? I never go to any of these sorts of things but I've always thought of it as more of a traditional role for conventions, sort of like part of the attraction. Like go to any geek convention these days and you'll find plenty of people cosplaying, babes included. I thought they were just supposed to be part of the show, not effective salespeople.

I've never been to actual trade show, the purposes of the booths tend to be significantly different than those at a common fan convention, and those fan conventions tend to ban booth babes anyway, but I think it just speaks to a certain amount of maturity to it all. When I see a booth that tries to sell its product with dolled-up actresses in costumes it makes me think it can't actually sell on its merits. While some would undoubtedly be lured in by such things, I think there's more people who are generally repulsed by it for a variety of reasons.

Legion:
snip

When I was at college doing motor vehicle repair we went to a trade show, had everything from old classics to last years F1 cars to rally cars. Every booth had 2 or 3 spandex wearing models.

It's actually really weird to be around them, they just stand in place with big fake smiles. When they are on a brake they were in the little restaurants looking kind of bored as they ate and chatted with each other, all the while wearing the "uniform" ... which just serves to reinforce the fact they do just fake it when they're on the clock.

Plus you get guys like in that picture, the odd ball taking their picture (without insinuating anything), for what reason?

It was a very odd experience to be round those models.

I have this thing called empathy, and whenever i see booth babes, i just feel sorry for them. the energy of desperation emanating from them is just so strong that i just can't be anywhere where they're standing

Makes perfect sense to me. People go to conventions to embrace their hobbies without getting judged. Unless they're convinced that a booth babe is also a fan, she'll only come across as another outsider secretly judging them as they make their purchases. In that situation, her attractiveness only makes it worse for the customer.

I recently read an article about this on slate, that was very insightful. The article was written by someone who had worked as a both babe. The author said (this might not be 100% accurate; I did read the article a while ago) that the best events she went to were not the best because there were few weirdos; but because the company that hired her actually hired her as a 'sales representative' not as a 'both babe.' Saying that actually being given information about what she was representig, that she could actually use, was what made the experience better.

From what I understand of this article, giving the sales reps some form of training (even a half hour, can make a difference) not only improves their experience while also being a benefit to foot traffic. Seems like companies should just go with the local contractors, over the 'professional both babes.'

Okay I only hit the post button once. Why would it double post?

Sorry about this.

Wait.. so you mean people who want to purchase something *don't* think that the best place to go is the booth with people who were hired solely because of their looks rather than any knowledge of the product? Holy.. whoda thunk?

Booth babes are hired to get folks attention. Which works.
But what you need to get someone to buy your product is their *interest*. And that's a different thing.

The stupid thing about companies that use booth babes at conventions is that..well.. it's a convention. You already HAVE the attention of the attendees. That's why they're there. That's why they paid good money to get in. Getting attention is something you need to do when you're selling your crap on the street.

At a convention? You have to get people's INTEREST.. and you do that by displaying how your product is unique, and by having people there who are knowledgeable about both the product and the likely customers.

But how else am I supposed to bear being locked up and cramped in a convention center with a bunch of smelly nerds.

On a serious note though I don't think they're that not bad provided they're used in moderation and their outfit actually has some connection to or is modeled after what they're trying to sell.

Needs more testing and results, this is going in a good direction.

It's going to be interesting when you finally end up with all events/conventions zero booth-babes, and then a single booth decides "hmm lets put some sexy girls here to attract more attention". If that booth ends up getting more views/foot-traffic, then the others will notice and do the same thing...before you know it booth babes are everywhere once again.
In fact I think that's how the whole thing started to begin with :P

I think I read about a social experiment once where it was seen that sex sells most effectively to men who are of lower IQ or the more vain men. It's the whole Jock versus Nerd, where the "Nerd" who doesn't see the chasing and objectifying of women as the primary goal of his life is belittled for that.Basically the nerd will look at products he wants and will be more interested in things which work where the jock will see booth babes before the product or view a Axe/Lynx advert and think that's how it works. So booth babes at what people like to mock as nerd conventions is a rather stupid idea most likely thought up by jocks.

I never liked booth babes myself. I can't blame anyone for liking them if they do. I just don't like to be distracted when I'm at a show. I have more important things to do than get a picture taken with an attractive woman. At the same time, a few anecdotes about some shows is not evidence, they are just anecdotes. I also find nothing wrong with the practice of having them. They wouldn't deter me from checking out a display. They also would not draw me to that display. You are not normal if that deters you from checking out a display you wish to check out, or you have severe self esteem problems and I would guess that "booth babes" are the least of your worries.

Here is the thing... If I wanted to go someplace where women are paid to be interested in me... I'll go to a strip club. It's a much better decision if you want that kind of thing. The only show I actually see them at is the NY Comic-Con. I don't pay them any attention simply because a hot girl dressed like Wonder Woman doesn't do anything for me. She is, after all, not actually Wonder Woman.

Booth babes never worked. They get you to gawk at the babes, not the product. It's a sad hope and an unanswered prayer.

Am I the only one who is kind of glad that people have been proven to not be shallow enough just to take a look at a product because boobs? I mean I love boobs, but come on.

erttheking:
Am I the only one who is kind of glad that people have been proven to not be shallow enough just to take a look at a product because boobs? I mean I love boobs, but come on.

You live in a world with ~7.5 billion other humans, unless youve been hiding superpowers i doubt youre the only one of anything.

While I tend to agree with his conclusion, correlation does not equal causation. Sure, he tested it numerous times over the course of 1 year, but it is going to have to be put to far more tests and studies if it is to be proven.

Then again, this is me just nitpicking. I think commonsense would dictate this to be the case, but then again, I have overestimated the human race before.

gigastar:

erttheking:
Am I the only one who is kind of glad that people have been proven to not be shallow enough just to take a look at a product because boobs? I mean I love boobs, but come on.

You live in a world with ~7.5 billion other humans, unless youve been hiding superpowers i doubt youre the only one of anything.

Should've seen that one coming. I wasn't being very literal there, it's just a saying.

This doesn't suprise me that much. I actively avoid the scantily clad and fake smile adorning women.

A Huffington Post article about one of the best poems on the matter I've heard ('I Like A Girl Who Reads' by Mark Grist).

But I have to ask. What was the product? Would this necessarily translate into a gaming convention or something else? He mentioned that he disliked the quality of the booth babes. I mean, what would be sadder than a grandma booth babe? I'd be very interested in this being studied more readily. I've been disheartened by general culture on these subjects too many times to take this at face value. Maybe the product was books on feminism or feminine hygiene products for all we know?

The real trick would be to hire booth babes that could do the same work as the professional saleswomen that he hired to 'compete' with them.

Paradoxrifts:
The real trick would be to hire booth babes that could do the same work as the professional saleswomen that he hired to 'compete' with them.

It would be interesting. The issue may not be booth babes, but may be the degree to which they're objectified. What about an attractive girl who is only slightly provacatively dressed (subtle and not too unrealistic) that is well trained on the product? Would that perform better or would that cease to be a booth babe?

Makes sense.
I'm no male, but I assume that if you need to show a half-naked pretty lady (or in my case, it'd be a half-naked pretty dude) to sell a product, chances are you need something else to attract people because your product doesn't.

And it's all the worse when the half-naked pretty lady knows nothing about the product.

I think booth babes are not only sexist, but they actually take away from the product they're supposed to publicize.

I don't have a broad experience with trade shows, but the one big one that I was at (for a boring, technical industry) I don't recall even a single booth babe. To be sure, if any company had any employee under 40 who worked in the office and was vaguely attractive then she was assigned to staff the booth (my company included), but I don't think there was a single woman there in non-professional attire or who didn't act as a representative of the company with information on hand.

In fact, when I Google image search that trade show's name together with "booth babe" all I get are pictures of fat beardy men in sweater vests and pictures of product. The trade show was pretty boring for me, but then again I was only there for tech support- I'm not actually interested in the product. I imagine for people who wanted to be there, there was enough to occupy their attention without needing boobs in a sling. I prefer my professional environments be professional, radical feminist that I am.

Hooray! More reasons to stop hiring pretty girls for things! Now instead of filling those jobs with icky ladies we can bring a clearly underrepresented demographic back to the video game industry: men.[/sarcasmfontthattotallyexists]

I've never been to a convention, but the pictures I've seen of Booth Babes are nice, but I don't think I'd be comfortable approaching them. Maybe if they toned down the sex appeal a lot, and they just appeared as regular fans of the stuff, then okay.
Also, and I may be stepping into a serious trap right here, I think it would be nice if the girls tended to actually know about the game/product they were marketing. Most interviews make them seem like, "Yeah, it's a job and I have no idea what these people are talking about when they come up." That kind of attitude is a bit off putting.

DANGER- MUST SILENCE:
I don't have a broad experience with trade shows, but the one big one that I was at (for a boring, technical industry) I don't recall even a single booth babe. To be sure, if any company had any employee under 40 who worked in the office and was vaguely attractive then she was assigned to staff the booth (my company included), but I don't think there was a single woman there in non-professional attire or who didn't act as a representative of the company with information on hand.

In fact, when I Google image search that trade show's name together with "booth babe" all I get are pictures of fat beardy men in sweater vests and pictures of product. The trade show was pretty boring for me, but then again I was only there for tech support- I'm not actually interested in the product. I imagine for people who wanted to be there, there was enough to occupy their attention without needing boobs in a sling. I prefer my professional environments be professional, radical feminist that I am.

What was the name of that convention? You've made me very curious!

everyone who saw nerds in groups besides slightly attractive women who shares their hobbies, could already tell this all was doomed from the start..

Doesn't work? I'd say that they help lighten up the atmosphere quite well.

Legion:

some heterosexual men might find them insulting, as though they need see a scantily clad woman to be gain interest in something. Which is essentially the purpose of them in the first place.

If such people really exist, then they need to take they need to reevaluate their life. If they want to be offended by something that actually matters, then they can be offended by the probability that their labtops, computers, ipods, and cellphones help fuel violence in Africa because those electronic things use conflict resources.

Andy Chalk:
Veteran Marketer Proves Booth Babes Don't Work

booth babe guy

Booth babes are everywhere, but it turns out that they're actually not very good at what they're supposed to do.

Booth babes. A lot of people don't like them, but go to just about any kind of trade show and there they are, drawing your attention to the latest videogame, sports car, big-screen television or machine gun. (Seriously, check this out.) They're ubiquitous, and they show no sign of going away anytime soon - but do they actually work?

According to veteran marketer Spencer Chen, they do not, and he tells a pretty good tale to prove it. A couple of years ago he stumbled upon an opportunity to test his belief that booth babes are "anchors" by staffing two booths for the same product at the same show very differently: One with "professional booth babe talent" and the other with contractors from the local area who brought more to the table than just physical attractiveness. He was initially alarmed by the reps provided for the second booth - "They weren't just older than your typical booth babe, one was literally a grandmother," he wrote - but the results spoke for themselves.

"The booth that was staffed with the booth babes generated a third of the foot traffic (as measured by conversations or demos with our reps) and less than half the leads (as measured by a badge swipe or a completed contact form) while the other team had a consistently packed booth that ultimately generated over 550 leads, over triple from the previous year," he wrote. "Everyone on the team was genuinely surprised by the results but duly convinced. It was like showing some hardened sales reps a new golf swing."

Chen said he was able to duplicate the results at other events over the course of the year, a rather important part of his "proof," and also noted that booth babes aren't just ineffectual but can actually be detrimental: Many attendees find their presence intimidating and the ones they do attract "were always the overconfident weirdos." Most objections to booth babes are based on the sexism inherent in the role; perhaps Chen's observations will offer a more practical reason for doing away with them, and be more successful in making it happen.

Source: TechCrunch

Permalink

sounds more like knowledgable talent is better than just good looking talent rather than simply no talent at all but people take from it what they will.

We've created something that's very difficult to make a feasible solution for. Because of how gender equivalency and moral standard has been attempting to make such a push into the games industry among many others, there's almost no way that this 'issue' could be solved in a way that wouldn't involve someone losing and possibly losing their job. The idea of having a pretty person standing next to a piece of technology as though to say "The power of our intellect will never truly surpass the power of our libido" was always shallow to say the least, and never should have happened to begin with.

Charlie Chaplin's quote "We think too much and feel too little" was powerful and is something we should always live by, but I don't think a good solution to that would be to mix them both together with something cutting-edge and a pretty person standing next to it.

Sounds extremely lacking as far as any form of study goes. What were the products or product being sold for starters? If they were two different products then this study amounts to absolutely nothing, and proves absolutely nothing.

His tests were also lacking on a few grounds.

One he didn't stick average people in either test group. He didn't use average people with knowledge on said product, or average people without knowledge on said product.

He did not test attractive woman in both booths to test if the product itself was simply getting more attention for being the actual product as opposed to the booth girls being "detrimental"

This study does exactly the same thing as studies on video game violence causing real world violence accomplish. Nothing. They fail to test, even on a fundamentally minimum level.

He went into this theory beliving something was true, and refused to conduct tests that could disprove his theory. Making him exactly like everyone else out there with an agenda they are more concerned with "proving" over being factually accurate.

Never mind the fact that it subsequentially completely eliminates jobs for people with specific appearances if we were to eliminate booth babes. Not a single damn person is about actually finding a balance they all have to be a damned zealot.

I think, seeing as "booth babes" are there solely to be sexual objects for men, they should be allowed to judge the men approaching them by exactly the same metric. As in, if a creepy dude who looks pretty much like a bag of testie-sacks someone kicked over, like the dude depicted in the story, they girls should be allowed to make that observation and deride him for not being up to their standards. It'd only be fair, really.

This is not too surprising to me. Using distraction as a marketing tactic screams, to me, at least, that the product you are selling is pure crap, and, worse yet, you actually know it to be such and try to sell it anyway; that's just reprehensible. Whereas, those selling products they actually believe in and believe to be good, and worthwhile, will not feel the need to resort to such tactics. That inspires confidence and piques the interest of the consumer.

One with "professional booth babe talent" and the other with contractors from the local area who brought more to the table than just physical attractiveness.

For it to be a good study, he would also have to try a booth with that had both as well.
All this says is that people do indeed want someone who knows what they're talking aboot.

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