Decision Guide: Comparing Pros and Cons of Badge Scanners vs Mobile Apps

It’s time to prepare for your upcoming trade show, but lately you’ve heard a lot about new mobile apps that allow you to forego the pricy badge scanners and use your own devices. It sounds intriguing, but you’ll need to know a little more before making the jump.  

We’ve rounded up the pros and cons of badge scanners vs mobile apps. Really, what you’re comparing is a standard lead retrieval system that captures basic information that attendees provide to the event host, versus a customizable, enterprise-ready event lead management system that can empower you to actually do something with those leads post-event.

Badge Scanners

Pros

  • Contact and rental info may be easier to find as most trade show organizers partner with lead retrieval companies who promote their solution.
  • Proven and reliable.
  • Badge scanners are fast. Scanning takes mere seconds.
  • Builds a list of contacts.

Cons

  • Managing and distributing leads after the event is a manual and time consuming process, and it could take days to retrieve your lead list.
  • There is only one way to capture a lead (by scanning a barcode). You’ll lack the ability to have multiple sources of integrated lead capture (like a kiosk for when your sales team is tied up with other attendees).
  • There is no qualification – unless you count your salesperson’s scribble on the printout from the badge scanner. Hopefully, he remembers all the notes he meant to write down!
  • You have to go through the process of renting and setting them up for each event.
  • They are expensive (ranging from $200 to $500 per device). Some might also require internet, which is another expense.
  • They are bulky and can get misplaced.
  • Limited ways to respond to leads, if at all.
  • No GDPR compliance options.
  • No control over entire experience.
  • No lead enrichment.

Mobile App

Pros

  • Leads are captured and in your possession instantly. This results in instant replies, instant lead routing, instant flow through your business process. And apps usually integrate directly with enterprise CRM and marketing automation systems.
  • Less setup & more options. Once you select your mobile app, you don’t have to keep going through the process for each trade show. You don’t have to set it up each time, outside of connecting your Media Kit. And, you’ll benefit from multiple lead capture methods, such as business card transcription, pre-registration, manual submission, and badge scanning.
  • Integration & automation makes it easier than ever to show a clear ROI for the tens of thousands of dollars spent on trade shows. Depending on the martech you integrate with, you should be able to easily track which leads actually convert to sales.
  • Sales and marketing staff can use their own mobile device instead of carrying around a bulky scanner.
  • Works offline, eliminating the need to rent internet which could cost 100s of dollars. You have complete control over the experience with your event visitors and managing leads internally.
  • Mobile apps are usually more current. For example, some mobile apps (like ours) offer GDPR/Privacy Management compliance options.
  • Consistent user experience as sales reps and marketers manning the booth only have to learn one system.
  • Leads are automatically enriched with social and demographic information.
  • Automation, automation, automation – mobile apps allow for immediate qualification, scoring, and follow up utilizing the integration mentioned above

Cons

  • There’s some legwork that needs to be done when choosing a mobile app solution provider. But keep in mind, you only have to do that legwork once.
  • You still have to purchase a “Media Kit” in order to activate badge scanning using a mobile app. These usually run around $500. That’s still significantly less than purchasing internet PLUS a badge scanner for each person.
  • Mobile lead capture apps are typically priced as a monthly subscription, so if you’re not going to a lot of trade shows, it may not be worth it. There may also be limitations on how many shows you can do or how many salespeople can use the app at one time.

Take Away

Using an event lead management system will reduce the amount of headache collecting leads during an event and managing leads after an event, while badge scanners are more convenient to rent prior to an event. Clearly define your goals, and if you go with a mobile trade show app, find one that integrates well with your martech.

To learn more about Lead Liaison’s mobile app, GoCapture!™, or our entire Event Lead Management soltuion, click here.

Plus…

We put together this infographic with the key points from above. Feel free to print and hang this at your desk, or pass along to your colleagues.

Badge Scanners vs. Mobile Apps

Badge Scanners vs. Mobile Apps