Game changing “business card exchange” leads to better networking and post-event engagement

Presdo has long had a passion to enrich relationships around events to deliver greater event ROI. A few years ago, among all the relationship building features we envisioned for event apps including matchmaking, messaging, and meeting scheduling, we wanted a way for participants to exchange contact information effortlessly. Contact information is crucial since relationships are successfully nurtured long after events have ended.

We looked at existing approaches for contact exchange such as QR codes and badge scanning and saw many opportunities to improve on them. At the time, the high-quality experience we wanted couldn’t be supported by the technology. Rather than delivering something that we couldn’t be proud of, we waited for smartphone hardware and software to mature.

Problems with existing contact exchange and lead capture approaches

As we thought about the problem of participants who wanted contact exchange and capture leads, we discovered there were major drawbacks in the way things were currently done.

  • At many events, the mainstay “technology” for contact exchange that has been around is the business card. It’s estimated that 10 billion business cards are printed every year in the U.S. Unfortunately, how many times have we run out of them or heard someone who has? Once collected, business cards get lost and are impractical to manage beyond a mere handful. It’s estimated that 90% of business cards are tossed after a week.

  • Badges with QR codes are commonplace at events too, but they are clumsy and make attendees uncomfortable. How many times have we as sponsors or exhibitors been at an event and tried to scan someone's badge—only to notice their badge was flipped backwards (bad, bad lanyards) or hidden by their jacket? That extra second or two of getting the badge into position for a scan results in lost leads and opportunities. Plus, people are uncomfortable being branded with barcodes because anyone can scan them without permission. Badges with embedded RFID chips address some of these drawbacks but add incremental cost, not to mention that lead capture machines now need to be provided.

  • Lead capture machines themselves are dependent on information provided by attendees provided during registration, which may often be incomplete or inaccurate. The captured contact doesn’t provide any more intelligence about an attendee beyond the contact information they have entered.

Safer, faster, better

We’re excited to introduce a game changing way to capture contact details with Business Card Exchange. We’d like to provide an overview of this feature that is now available for every event using Presdo Match.

Moving beyond QR codes, RFID chips, and lead capture devices, Presdo Match’s business card exchange works between two apps through a novel approach based on beaconing technology. This technology is built into all smartphones, so there’s no additional hardware or software needed.

Let’s say John and Mary have a meaningful interaction at your event and decide to exchange contact details. In the Presdo Match app, they open the easily accessible “Business Cards” screen. (The first time they enter, the app reviews the contact information they want to share.)

The “Business Cards” screen scans for and shows users within a few feet who have the same screen open for exchanging business cards. Usually, it’s just one other person, but the feature is designed to work for a group who wants to exchange cards with multiple people too.

Scanning for business cards

John or Mary can initiate the exchange by tapping on the other person’s name. A request appears on the other party’s screen. Upon the other person accepting the request, contact details are traded. The entire process takes about a second.

Like its name suggests, it is a two-way exchange in which John and Mary each receives the other’s contact information at the same time. We thought it was more fair this way.

Following the exchange, each can view the card they received. Presdo Match keeps all the collected cards in an area for easy access.

<<business cards view>>

We wanted users to immediately take advantage of the contact information they received, so there's a number of available actions. An important action is taking notes as a reminder for following up. By tapping on the note icon on a card, the user can flip the card over and enter notes. An exhibitor can “score” a contact for the best way to follow up.

<<business card actions>>

Many users will want to take their contacts out of the app and push it into other tools for tracking and follow up, so Business Card Exchange provides a number of ways to export the information. First, they can simply save cards to their phone’s address book. Other users will want to transfer their contacts into a CRM database such as Salesforce or Microsoft Outlook. The app provides an easy way to get a spreadsheet of all collected contacts at anytime. We also made it convenient by tagging contacts with notes and the event from which they came.

Check out a video to see how the feature works.

Business Card Exchange provides a more secure, faster, and more intelligent experience for attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.

Advantages extend to organizers

While attendees will engage even more with the app, organizers and marketers are going to enjoy greater event ROI. They will be able to get a new layer of insight into the interactions of participants through the activity of exchanged business cards. Because contacts can now be exchanged anywhere anytime, organizers have a greater view of the face-to-face relationships that have formed at their events, not just on the exhibiting floor.

Marketers can leverage this additional data to develop more understanding of individual attendee interests and chart personalized follow-ups.

Test drive the Business Card Exchange in Presdo’s free app for iOS and Android. You’ll find “Business Cards” in the side menu after you open the Presdo demo. Better yet, take advantage of Presdo Match at future events.