It’s a wonder why business cards still exist as a popular way to collect data from trade show leads in 2018 – paper forms seems out-dated in so many situations, but somehow they survived in the trade show context. The 25th of May 2018, the new data law (GDPR) became effective, which meant that accepting business cards is no longer an approval for direct marketing. So how should the exhibitor handle the business cards now?

One of the main focus in the new GDPR is the citizens right to be forgotten – but somehow it is difficult to be forgotten, when you can’t be fund. A standard business card is sized to fit into a pocket, which means that they easily disappear in a filled office. Instead of taking the physically card with you from the trade show, a technical feature called OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in lead management systems will help you. OCR recognize the characters when taking a picture of the business card, hence all the relevant information from the card will be converted to text and imported into the system. If customers want to be forgotten/deleted from your system, it is easy for you to remove them from the system with a few steps.

Another important consideration is, ‘what is a business card a permission to?’ The new GDPR restrict the freedom for companies to using business cards for direct-marketing, which means that sending unsolicited emails to non-customers with campaigns and sale offers is no longer acceptable. Instead of sending content with no relevance to the leads, lead management systems should help you to follow up on the headlines and interests from the trade show conversation – in this way the emails are in full agreement with the GDPR. A lead is attached to an event, which means that the accept for contacting the leads is only given in relation to the specific trade show, after that a lead with no follow-up will be a lost lead.

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