A constantly changing environment, challenging economic times, and information overload have altered how successful meeting professionals conduct business. The pressure is mounting to gain more attendance, vendors, and sponsors while also managing expectations to improve the overall conference experience. This has become the “new normal” - not just a trend. This blog outlines the complex relationship between the meetings and exhibitions and lead retrieval industries and how and why they ultimately “fell out of love” with each other.
Many years ago, technology emerged with the ability to change the exhibition world forever. The introduction of electronic lead retrieval systems had exhibitors head over heels. The purpose of this technology was to streamline the process of exchanging business cards. Now exhibitors had the ability to capture qualified leads in a concise and organized fashion, resulting in timely and reliable follow-ups with potential clients. The days of sorting through hundreds of business cards manually and trying to remember which ones were noteworthy were over and the honeymoon phase of lead retrieval had begun. But we all know honeymoons do not last forever…
Once exhibitors started getting to know and use these lead retrieval systems, they began to uncover unsuspected baggage. Exhibitors found out that lead retrieval scanners weren’t a cheap date. The devices couldn’t stray far from the booth and would have a nervous breakdown if they disconnected from Wi-Fi. If the device was nice enough to capture leads, exhibitors had to wait days, weeks or even months for lead retrieval companies to compile and return their leads. Exhibitors quickly became turned off with lead retrieval systems and reverted back to their not too sexy but always reliable business cards approach.
We all know that absence makes the heart grow fonder… The same goes for this leads retrieval love story. Times have changed and technology has improved and exhibitors are missing lead retrieval now more than ever. New lead capture technology is turning heads due to its simplicity, convenience, and reliability. Exhibitors can now use their own personal smartphone devices to capture leads and stay connected. No more baggage, no more waiting games, and no more breaking the bank. This new technology has proven to be much safer, more reliable, and more affordable than any of those “dead beat” scanners of the past. So how can you take your relationship with lead retrieval to the next level?
Falling back in love requires some internal reflection and diligence to your organization and to your exhibitors. So here’s my advice. Create a clear vision of your shared future together and be sure you are asking the right questions. Consider the following when doing your research to find a lead retrieval system that is a perfect match for you. Is the functionality user friendly to my exhibitors? How are leads saved and accessed if there is no Wi-Fi connectivity? Will the supplier provide me with marketing materials if I need them? Can I collect useful metrics for my stakeholders? Is the system compatible with existing QR codes? Can my organization make a significant profit without passing high costs onto my exhibitors? Is the profit a percentage of the total sales? Is there a minimum purchase needed? What financial investment does my organization need to provide? What kind of support is available and at what cost? And finally, is there any additional baggage I need to know about?
If you have made it this far in the blog you have probably (or at least I hope) reflected on my points and tips. We were all young, perhaps a little crazy and even unreliable once, but times change. We have reached a new level of maturity now that will result in a mutually fulfilling relationship. The next time you consider saying “I do” to lead retrieval, make your walk down the exhibit isle eventful!
…or is it just the beginning?
Happy Heart Month from Conference Leads!
Posted by Christina Buck, CMP