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Social Media Blog September 16, 2009

MingleStations vs. Trade Show Lead Retrieval Systems and Name Badge Scanners

Let’s talk about trade show lead retrieval systems. Event organizers contact us because traditional name badge barcode scanners aren’t doing the trick. Several trade show magazines including Event Marketer, Event Solutions, and Expo Web have written about our MingleStick technology because they want to see new technology in the tradeshow industry.

We’ve been in conversation with many lead retrieval providers and they say that 90% of the time most exhibitors are looking for a basic way to capture an attendee’s contact information. There are fancy handheld wireless devices out there that have lots of bells and whistles, but exhibitors typically do not want all that functionality! Instead, exhibitors want something that is simple.

I’m always amazed at the technology progress (or lack thereof) that the tradeshow industry has made. Lead retrieval systems scan name badges and we all know how cumbersome that can be. When people have to take their badge out of the plastic holder to get scanned, let’s face it – that’s not the easiest tool to be using. Why do people have to fumble around with that? The tradeshow industry needs better innovation!

I’ve also been amazed when an exhibitor tried to scan a female’s badge off her chest. Wow! I did a double take as he reached for her badge that was dangling around her neck. I thought for sure he was invading her personal privacy. I’ve spoken with numerous women that have attended tradeshows and they recognize this as a problem. I would find that terribly uncomfortable if a man wanted to scan a badge off my chest.

So the name badge scanners aren’t the best to operate as an exhibitor, but guess what else is a problem? They are expensive! Exhibitors pay a fee to rent the device during the tradeshow which probably ranges from $200 to $400. Call it a fair price? That’s up to you. But what I think is a complete rip-off is the need to rent electricity to power your lead retrieval unit! Don’t get me wrong, some lead retrieval units are battery operated, but some aren’t! If you need to purchase electricity for your lead retrieval system, get ready to lay down at least $100.

We at Mingle360 created the MingleStation to help exhibitors and tradeshow organizers with their lead retrieval efforts. The process flow needs to be easier and the solution can be less expensive. The MingleStation is wonderful because it’s a small, battery powered countertop unit. The MingleStation sits in passive mode awaiting a signal from an attendee’s MingleStick. At attendee walks up to the MingleStation and presses their button. A connection is instantly made. The attendee is done within a split second! What a great experience for the attendee!

As far as pricing goes, the MingleStation is less expensive than traditional lead retrieval systems. I won’t go into pricing with this blog post because there are so many factors that go into how we price our service. Size of event, location of event, number of exhibitors, etc. are all factors that determine pricing. I am very confident our solution can bring added value, a great experience, and reduced costs to event organizers and exhibitors.

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