Promotional Models at Trade Shows

Hiring promotional models at trade shows can greatly benefit many companies in terms of lead generation and sales. However, many companies are still very hesitant about hiring promotional models (I used to fall into this category). That is, until you realize the difference between booth babes and professional promotional models.

Up until now, there was a part of me that couldn’t decide whether I could really make the recommendation of hiring promotional models at trade shows. However, after speaking with Margaret Colebeck, the Marketing Associate for Models4Tradeshows, my view changed for the better.

Colebeck described promotional models as “event staffing professionals that are hired to help promote brands at trade shows and/or promotional events through networking, relationship building, and education. Their main job role is to increase lead generation and sales for brands.”

That sounds great, right? So why would people be so hesitant about hiring promotional models if they can help bring in more revenue? The reason is, there is still a stereotype that surrounds promotional models.

“There are many professionals in the trade show industry that don’t agree with trade show models because they believe it is casual sexism. But, those in the trade show industry that view trade show models in this way are almost always referring to a booth babe, a scantily clad female model attracting attention based solely on her attire and appearance” said Colebeck.

That was the “ah-ha!” moment. Most people don’t have an issue with promotional models, I certainly don’t disagree with the type of model Colebeck describes. However, what some attendees  often have a problem with is when businesses hire these “scantily clad female models.”

Attendees are going to trade shows to network, find new vendors, purchase new products. I doubt that most professionals are going to the trade shows to check out these “booth babes.”

So, what do attendees want? They want someone that is friendly, courteous, and most of all, knowledgeable. It doesn’t hurt that these promotional models are attractive (they’re called models for a reason) but they should still be dressed appropriately for the environment.  Colebeck mentions that “the majority of the trade show models that are hired to work events are educated women that wear business professional attire and are hired to have intellectual conversations with attendees.”

Now that we’ve established the difference between booth babes and promotional models, here are other benefits that come from hiring promotional models at trade shows. 

  • Promotional models can be used in conjunction any other type of marketing strategy. “For example, trade show models are frequently hired by exhibitors to run trade show games, pass out product samples, or host social media campaigns. By combining multiple trade show marketing strategies brands can reach double the audience in an effective and efficient manner. While the trade show models are attracting attention through trade show games and contests, the sales team can focus on closing more sales,“ said Colebeck.
  • Companies save money on travel expenses because most of the promotional models that are hired to attend the trade show are local. Therefore, companies can save money on transportation costs and hotel accommodations they would have spend on a staff that is traveling from out of town.
  • Not as many employees have to leave the office to attend trade shows. Although at least one person from the company should attend the trade show to help the promotional models, the number of people that leave the office overall can go down. No more missed calls and emails, having to reschedule meetings, or having to deal with those next few days of catching up when you get back from the trade show.
  • Promotional models are hired based on their personality so that they’re quickly able build relationships and attract more attendees to your booth. Nothing beats face-to-face human interaction and by hiring trade show models companies are ensuring that each and every interaction with their brand is a memorable and enjoyable experience. “

So, what can you do to make sure promotional models are successful?

  • Be clear about your expectations from promotional models. Speak to the promotional model company to see what they look for in their models.  For example, Models4Tradeshows is careful about the type of models they hire. “We take the time to speak directly with each trade show model before hiring them in order to ensure they are professional, educated, respectful, articulate, and have outgoing, engaging personalities.”
  • One of the risks that comes from hiring promotional models is that they don’t have that day to day experience that other permanent employees might have. That is to be expected, which is why you should take the time to train promotional models on the basics of your company and products. You can either come up with a training manual, videos, or set up some time to meet before the trade show.
  • Be clear about your goals and have a strategy. For example, do you want promotional models that find a good lead to simply take their email, do you want them to pass them on to you and you speak with them more in depth, are they only going to be doing certain games? Figure out how involved you need them to be according to your ultimate goals.

“Unfortunately, the booth babe stereotype is one that most trade show models face on a regular basis. The best way they overcome this stereotype is by taking the time to invest in the brand they are working for. The more in-depth information they know about the brand the more knowledgeable they are and the more they can impress attendees.”

Would you consider hiring promotional models for your next trade show?

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