Presdo Match Added A Business Card Exchange Feature, So What?

Event Tech Brief

Presdo Match Added A Business Card Exchange Feature, So What?



By Michelle Bruno

Presdo Match, the networking-turned-event-guide mobile app has added a new feature. But, what could be regarded as a little meh as app innovations go might actually be an important next step in facilitating the growth of attendee communities in and around live events. Event organizers should take a closer look.

Presdo Match burst onto the live event scene a few years ago as a mobile app that facilitates networking. It provides a searchable directory of attendee profiles (imported from LinkedIn when desirable), makes connection recommendations, and highlights which contacts from existing social networks are in attendance so users can send messages and schedule meetings with other attendees.

A year or two into its lifecycle, the creators of Presdo Match began to understand one of the obstacles of selling a “does one thing really well” mobile app into a market that was already starting to saturate with multi-feature event guide and conference directory apps; event organizers weren’t that interested in asking their attendees to download another mobile app.

As a result, The Presdo team, headed up by Eric Ly of LinkedIn provenance, added event guide features so that would-be customers—event organizers—wouldn’t be forced to choose between navigation or networking. Presdo Match today is as full featured as any event guide and comes with robust networking capabilities, a nice differentiator in a sea of competitors.

Presdo Match’s most recent feature upgrade though appears on the surface as a head scratcher. Of all the ways in which a mobile app could pivot—virtual reality experiences, auto-update of contacts to a company’s CRM, chronicling the attendee’s whole journey—Presdo went for digital business card exchange functionality.

With the new capabilities, a first-time user sets up a digital business card in the app by entering contact information or pulling it in from his LinkedIn profile. Using the Bluetooth technology in most smartphones, the app detects other users nearby. When two parties mutually agree, the information is exchanged wirelessly between devices with one click.  

Eric Ly refers to Presdo Match’s new feature as a lead capture tool because, in addition to capturing contact information, a user can add qualifying information on the “back” of the digital business card, save it to the phone’s address book or export a .csv file of all the contacts from the app via email.

The business card exchange feature is definitely an improvement over other peer-to-peer data capture methods that require one user to download a QR code reader to take a picture of another attendee’s badge QR code and vice versa. As a lead-capture option, it enables Presdo Match users to capture leads anywhere using any device.

Lead capture isn’t the true calling of Presdo Match’s digital business card exchange feature. For one reason, trade show organizers are loathe to encourage exhibitors to use lead capture apps or devices that aren’t tied to the registration platform because they need lead retrieval device rental income to offset the costs of registration. That's just how the business model works.

Providing lead capture options away from the trade show booth is a noble cause. There is a lot of business done at the lobby bar, in hallways, on the shuttle bus, and by the pool—not to mention the networking opportunities baked into the meeting. But even that value proposition isn’t the feature's best use case.

Simple and frictionless contact information exchange, particularly between attendees, is an open door to something much bigger. Ly has alluded to it himself in his blog post about Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn in which he writes, “Event data will help organizers build better connections with their attendees; it will also help attendees build better relationships with each other.”

Ly touches further on the potential of Presdo Match’s new feature in an unedited version of his post on the Microsoft acquisition that he shared with Event Tech Brief, in which he writes, “Technology suppliers such as Presdo are working to integrate event technology into the rest of the CRM stack so attendee interactions can be understood across events.  Further, organizers can focus on creating communities around attendees.”

So imagine the importance of an attendee’s ability to place business contacts in his most sacred of all receptacles—his mobile phone—the same device that when lost or misplaced brings his ability to function to a crashing halt.

Think about how easy it will become for Presdo Match users to stay in contact with one another through email, video, text message, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. because conference contacts can now be seamlessly embedded in the user’s mobile device.

In fact, this one small feature could be reason enough for attendees to download the Presdo Match app in the first place. More downloads mean more users. More users mean more data. More data means more insights (go ahead and reread the part above about understanding attendee interactions across events).

#Community First is kind of a thing now. The idea, that attendees are the reason other stakeholders are drawn to trade shows and conferences, therefore nurturing them (inside and outside the event) and growing their ranks should be a priority, is on the minds of many event producers.

So, rather than view the Presdo Match business card exchange feature as a mildly interesting update of iOS Bump, organizers should consider the broader implications. If attendee community formation and sustainability is the new black, Presdo Match may have just carved out an entirely new category for itself.



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