Do business cards have a future?

Do business cards have a future?

By Jacqui Vear of Systematic

Surely something that was invented in China in the 15th Century can’t survive any more digital revolutions or a global pandemic?

Clients rely on our support to design and print thousands of business cards each month, should they rethink their approach?

In short, no. However, there are new ways of sharing your contact details when you are face to face with someone, let us bring you up to speed with business card innovations.

Business cards are emotive

There is no denying it. We marvel at the good-looking ones and talk about the quirky ones; did you know there’s a Canadian divorce lawyer who has cards that are perforated down the middle! There is a sense of pride and kudos that comes with creating, owning, and sharing a great business card. For this headline reason, we think business cards, in some form, are likely to remain near and dear to corporate culture for a long time to come.

You may only need one business card…

Business card innovations fall in one of two categories:

1) Firstly, the way in which data is presented.

Beyond the realms of having any app installed on your phone, the contactless communication technology of NFC (near field communication) enables data to be shared with a smartphone that’s in close proximity, about 10cm. If you’ve made a contactless payment through your phone, you’re already embracing NFC technology.

You can now buy business cards with integrated NFC chips, and when you tap them onto a smartphone, your details can appear in the Contacts list of your latest business prospect. If you always share your details this way, you’ll only ever need one card, so you may want to go to town on how it looks, with an eye-catching substrate like bamboo or a finish like engraving.

As the card holder, you can update your details when they change and if you wear several professional ‘hats’ you can link your NFC business card to multiple profiles.

2) The second type of development relates to how your new prospects choose to receive your contact details. You can still have a traditional printed business card, but there may be no need to give it away if your prospects choose to have one of a variety of apps on their phone, which can scan and save your details.

The widest range of details can be held in the app, it becomes a digital business card library. Whilst each app is different in its functionality and fee structure, the possibilities are as much about contact management as contact capture; add tags, notes, synchronise, share and export data.

What business card producers cannot deny is that change is on the horizon.

Technological developments create choice and business cards are personal in every sense.

Maybe you would be happy to feature the details of a networking contact in your phone contacts, next to your Aunty Shelley (after they tapped their NFC business card on your phone)?

Maybe you are so focused on contacts, leads and enquiries that you want to maximise your connections and coordinate lots of activity around them? In which case, there’s an app with your name on it.

Practicalities and sentiment aside, it seems that this debate will not be decided by business card owners.

Most business people hand over their business card as a call to action; remember me, stay in touch, send me your enquiry, buy my product. In most of these seller / potential buyer relationships, the potential buyer generally calls the shots. So, our advice is, know your target audience, for this reason and many others. Give them the option to note your contact details in a way that works for them, this surely maximises the potential for action to be taken? If your prospects want to own one of your printed business cards, thank them dearly and make it so bespoke and distinctive so that they will not readily part with it.

If a ‘paper-light’ future does beckon, with ‘everyone’ doing digital cards, handing over an impressive, tactile card, may be a much-needed point of difference in marketing your offer. In which case, we’ll max out on creativity; in design, in print specifications and finishes!

How ever you are planning on marketing your offer, we’re happy to share some innovative ideas, simply get in touch!

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