As a veteran of ICT marketing (yes that means 20 years) I have been amazed to see the number of ‘booth babes’ used at this year’s CeBIT exhibition. Amazed not because of the cheap sex-sells approach that send all kinds of wrong messages regarding women (just check the #cebit twitter stream for a healthy dose of how unimpressed visitors were); but amazed because it doesn’t bloody work.
We worked that out in the 80’s. Companies tried it then – lots of tyre-kicker leads that took weeks for the sales guys to filter out afterwards and a small number of real prospect leads. Add into the formula the brand ‘distress’ and alienation of the females in ICT and the return on investment was negative.
Notwithstanding that the booth babe exercise will end up costing you more than you made, consider the core message you’re sending to your target market – ‘I know my business intimately and I can’t think of a single business benefit to highlight to prospects that’s better than making a scene’. That’s a bit sad really.
Exhibitions are expensive propositions not only for the hard costs to book the space, build the stand and the ancillary logistics; but the soft costs of taking sales staff from normal duties also add up. If you are going to invest in an exhibition, spend some time well in advance to determine the one or two key things, or messages, you want to communicate – ie. when a prospect walks away from your exhibition stand what do you want them to be thinking? Once you have these key messages you can build your whole stand around it. depending on your corporate culture you can have fun with it (eg. actors or games) or play it straight.
But if your thoughts run to ‘hot pants’ – just say no!
Annette is the General Manager of Lucidity Marketing Communications. Lucidity is a specialist B2B marketing and communications consultancy focussed on the technology industry in Australia and Asia-Pacific. www.lucidity.com.au