The Pitfalls of Relying on Badge Scanners and Lead Retrieval Devices at Events

When it comes to collecting leads at trade shows and exhibitions, it’s safe to say the range of tools available to organisers and exhibitors has dramatically expanded over recent years.

Yet for those businesses that regularly exhibit, particularly in the B2B sphere, the fundamental flaws still exist when it comes to a modern, consistent and integrated approach to lead capture.

Whilst there have been wide-ranging advancements in event technology of all shapes and sizes, the focus has been almost exclusively on developing technology that benefits the event and exhibition organisers, rather than the paying exhibitors themselves.

At most events, when it comes to lead capture, the reliance is still on outdated solutions, such as business cards, paper forms or hiring expensive (exhibition-owned) badge scanners. This approach is fundamentally flawed for the modern marketer and is costing their company money.

At larger shows, even the slickest, most up-to-date lead retrieval systems still operate in isolation. The result? Hours of post-event manual work to be done involving the moving leads into the exhibitor’s Marketing Automation or CRM workflows and ending in delayed, generic follow-ups, lost or inaccurate data. All of which culminates in a lack of event ROI.

We believe that this isn’t good for anyone, and there is no reason for it to remain this way; we feel the time is right for businesses to challenge the status quo.

The key pitfalls of scanning badges

What should you watch out for at every stage of your events?

Preparing well for events

Organisations yet to upgrade their event lead capture game will fail to achieve the same level of excellence as those who embrace modern technology to deliver better leads.

To start with, having to use a different lead capturing system at each show is negative from kick off. Team leaders involved need to understand the new system and brief staff every single time, resulting in friction towards adoption and inconsistencies. Imagine having to use a different mobile phone every day? It doesn’t make for a smooth or productive experience!

Questions to consider

– Is the data downloadable (at your own leisure) via an online portal?
– What are the security implications?
– Where is that data stored?
– Do you have explicit permission to contact the leads?

During your events

Scanning devices do not have the capability to record any conversation had with a lead, in real-time at an event. These badge scanners are often archaic bits of kit, prone to failure. Organisations collect them on the first day of the show or event, often having to join long queues.

This usually results in rushed device training for sales staff, barcode menu cards that don’t meet requirements, and if an organisation loses their card, they will be left with a spreadsheet which doesn’t make sense.

Additionally, if the scanner is lost then the leads captured are lost, and all they are left with is a bill for a new scanner.

Scanning applications also have limited ability to customise questions or the look and feel of the application, and if the app crashes or signal is lost, they often fail to work.

The WiFi at business events often leaves much to be desired. Organisations are then stuck with how to collect their leads. Whether the data is collected and shared via a spreadsheet, a USB stick or shared document, it’s an inefficient method and security implications make it a risky move.
Remember, good technology is designed to make things easier, not extend processes!

After the event and what happens next

Exhibitors need to be able to log into an online portal to download their spreadsheet of leads, or they face a long wait for the organiser to send their leads over.

Have you ever found yourself chasing the organiser for your leads? Once you have the spreadsheet, it needs manual manipulation, which is a significant time burden.

All of the data needs editing and updating before it can be manually imported into any Marketing Automation or CRM system used.

Those who achieve lead excellence


Engage, capture and take action with leads straight from the show floor, using a consistent solution at all events.


Push Event Qualified Leads (EQLs) into existing sales and marketing workflows, automatically based on information collected on the show-floor.


Power data-driven decisions on when and where to exhibit in the future.

But then what happens? How do you know which Sales Rep the lead should be allocated to or which of those should be sent for further nurturing?

This entire process is inefficient, leading to lengthy delays and often results in sending generic follow-up emails to all “leads” more than a week after an event.

Or worse still, the leads are simply never followed up.

Additionally, there is a lack of visibility or control over the data collected by the event organiser.

With regulatory requirements changing and new legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force May 2018, any organisation operating in Europe in any capacity needs to know if they have explicit and consensual permission to contact the leads.

If the organisation doesn’t manage the data, how do they know the answer for certain?

How do the pros do it?

Get the guide:  The Pitfalls of Relying on Badge Scanners at Events