While the trade show industry is characterized by change, some aspects lack the innovation that makes this industry so effective. Traditional badge scanners are an outdated device commonly used by convention organizers. These devices were groundbreaking when they first hit the market, 20 years ago, but are now a major source of headaches for exhibitors and attendees alike.

One of the most frustrating problems with generic badge scanners is the waiting period for leads to arrive.  Exhibitors deal with long periods between their badge scan and the delivery of the collected information, sometimes waiting for weeks. This takes away the ability to “strike while the iron is hot” with attendees. The gap in communication here hurts both exhibitor and attendee, as both parties are susceptible to forgetting conversations or losing interest.

While badge scanning is common practice among many trade shows, there are alternatives. Some companies implement paper lead capture forms, having attendees fill out a short form by hand. This, however, is time consuming for both the attendee and the exhibitor, and is much less convenient than digital alternatives. Business cards are another physical alternative to badge scanning, and as many veterans in the industry know, can be time consuming and monotonous to archive. Online lead capture forms are a fairly new, digital method of lead retrieval. These forms are hosted on websites, but are rarely customizable and rely on a steady WiFi connection, which isn’t easy to find at a large show.

Gateway has another alternative, one crafted by exhibitors, for exhibitors. LeadConnect is a lead retrieval program that offers an interactive way to capture leads and syncs directly with your CRM. Instead of renting a badge scanner from the conference, you can use a mobile device, PC, tablet, or a touchscreen kiosk. LeadConnect allows your guests to pick and choose which marketing collateral to receive via email, so you can cater to their specific needs. The ability to quickly take notes on each lead will save your exhibitors time, and improve the quality of your follow-up since you know exactly what each lead was interested in. LeadConnect can be paired with a custom qualifying survey to further improve your understanding of each lead’s interest levels. This program has been implemented across Gateway’s trade show program, and is gaining traction among our existing customers. Schedule a demo today to learn all of the features and possibilities that LeadConnect offers!

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Michael Plasmeier

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