Marketing Exec Explains Why Booth Babes Simply Don't Work
Posted on Thursday, January 16 @ 16:54:59 PST by Daniel Bischoff
Booth babes are an entirely unlikeable and despicable staple of professional conventions, business expos, and, of course, video gaming's E3 conference, the single biggest marketing event in the gaming industry, but some offhand feedback shows that hiring busty and scantily clad contractors just doesn't work.
That's the word from Spencer Chen, a marketing executive with experience in the negative return on investment that booth babes can bring. Writing at TechCrunch, Chen explains an experiment he did when he had an opportunity to compare booths he was running at a big conference.
Specifically, Chen had one section of booth space with "marketing events consultants" (booth babes) and another space separate from that where booth babes were not hired or used to attract showgoers.
Chen writes that he had long theorized that "booth babes [they had] hired were actually a drag" on the generation of business contacts and sales leads. Throughout his experience organizing booths at trade shows, Chen noticed that his company "had always done better without the booth babes but it was just silly to suggest that we did better because we didn't have hot babes at the booth." Chen continues "I mean, I had a better chance of convincing my co-workers that the sky was purple."
Chen hired "professional booth babe talent" and brought them in for one booth, while the other booth was staffed with local, knowledgeable contractors who, as Chen requested specifically, were not as attractive as the typical booth "companions" hired for conventions.
Despite a sales VP claiming Chen had caused a big "fuck up" in staffing, the convention space staffed with booth babes generated only one third of the foot traffic and less than half of the business leads. The booth space without accompanying babes generated three times as many business leads as the previous year at that convention.
I speak with experience when I say that gaming companies should never hire booth babes ever again. They're great for page views, obviously. We'll eat that traffic up every single day of the week, but I'd like to be treated like a professional at the next gaming convention I attend.
I guess the only thing creepier than an actual booth babe would be if gaming companies handed out USB sticks full of pictures of beautiful women for us to post instead.
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