If you regularly attend networking events, you likely have a drawer in your desk filled with stacks of business cards.
Last week, several local business owners and I were talking about business cards. Are they dead? Do they still hold a place in the business world?
While other paper-based systems â€” from rolodexes and desk calendars to typewriters and card catalogues â€” have landed in the recycling bin, business cards have seemingly survived the paper apocalypse.
Most of my colleagues still use business cards. But as I said, the days of the Rolodex are gone and they appear different and are used in different ways.
Business cards still serve the same purposeâ€”succinct contact information. But the information on the cards is different. Fax numbers have all but disappeared. Social media profiles have appeared. Many cards that we swapped even (shockingly to me) eliminated telephone numbers relegating the primary contact to email. Now as a disclaimer, these were not all travel colleagues and I think that a phone number for travel professionals is critical.
Most of the cards (mine included) are discarded after a period of time. The information is scanned or manually put into a database for future retrieval on a computer or phone at a later date.
We debated about quality of cards and cost. While a bit divergent, I think the consensus was that better quality is a wise use of funds. It boiled down to the whole first impression. Hand someone a memorable business card and you have made an impression before even engaging them.
In the end, we all felt they had a long future ahead of them. They serve as a succinct introduction and a means to re-connect and network in a device (for lack of a better term) that can be triggered in seconds. If you happen to pass that huge prospect on the street, without taking any of his or her time, you can get your information in his or her hands. Certainly with networking events where you do not have a lot of time for deep conversations, they are a quick and easy way to say â€śhey, call me tomorrow and we can talk.â€ť
I have always said that business cards are some of the best marketing tools at your disposal. They are cheap and effective. I also advocate for quality cards on premium stock to make that good first impression.
What are your thoughts on business cards? Iâ€™d like to know!