Marketing Management Journal
This study looks at how the meaning of visible tattoos impacts customer ratings of salespeople. Given the prevalence of tattoos, sales managers can no longer have a "no tattoo" policy. As such, they must understand how customers view different types of tattoos on salespeople. To this end, we examine the meaning and appropriateness of highly masculine and highly feminine tattoos on salespeople in two industries, real estate and automobile sales. Overall, people with tattoos trust and are more willing to work with tattooed salespeople than people who do not have tattoos. Furthermore, salespeople with masculine tattoos are considered more masculine than salespeople with feminine tattoos. People view feminine tattoos more positively than masculine tattoos. As such, customers trust and are more willing to work with saleswomen who have feminine tattoos. These effects are diminished for salesmen because feminine tattoos are gender inconsistent.
Original Publication Citation
Arndt, A. D., & Glassman, M. (2012). What tattoos tell customers about salespeople: The role of gender norms. Marketing Management Journal, 22(1), 50-65.
Arndt, Aaron D. and Glassman, Myron, "What Tattoos Tell Customers About Salespeople: The Role of Gender Norms" (2012). Marketing Faculty Publications. 2.