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Traveling to as many trade shows as I do, I’ve seen exhibitors use every trick in the book to lure suspecting attendees to their 20x20s. Photo booths. Magicians. Interactive screens. Augmented reality displays (someone should totally do something like this). The list goes on.
Yet no matter how many exhibits I see, one tactic continues to disgust me like no other – booth babes.
You've got to be kidding me, right? Sigh. First, a definition.
I’m going to describe “booth babes” as women who fit the following criteria:
Now, it’s hardly worth discussing whether or not “sex sells.” We all know the answer to that one. Plus, research on the topic is constantly emerging. What I can’t understand, however, is why B2B marketing professionals would consider using this tactic at a professional industry convention. It certainly doesn’t align with 99.9% of the brands out there. Plus, most rational people can agree that perpetuating gender inequality by objectifying women in this fashion (context matters) is likely not a good thing for society. So, why bother?
What about sales, right? Of course. Marketers need to consider lead generation, too. However, justifying the action through this lens still begs several questions:
Booth babes have no place within professional industry trade shows (save a few exceptions) for a variety of sales, marketing and societal reasons. Thus, those who employ this tactic should strongly reconsider and grow up. Otherwise, you’re telling me – and your audience – that your salespeople, your company and its products are hardly worth their salt.