Online and Digital Profiles make Business Cards Obsolete?

business cards

Business cards are dead - or not?

“…to many young and Web-savvy people who are accustomed to connecting digitally, the cards are irrelevant, wasteful — and just plain lame.” – Matt Stevens, TheState.com

The statement above is written by Matt Stevens for TheState.com – and, no matter how I try to convince myself, I have to agree.

Today, I don’t have business cards. It’s a waste of money, and I’m almost sure that it will end up in a garbage bin or got lost somewhere, maybe in a shoebox or in a business card organizer; or worse, lying on the street, ripped by a dog and finally ends in landfill.

I’ve got more contacts from LinkedIn in a few months than from my business cards for 5 years. And even if someone contact me from my business cards, they are all pitches and offers – in other words, spams. With LinkedIn, I can avoid getting spammed; with my business cards, I just got annoyed due to cold calling.

According to IBISWorld Inc., an Australian business data company, in the US alone, sales of business cards have been falling steadily over the years since late 1990s.

Is this really mean that today’s the end of business cards?

Why printed business cards don’t make sense to many – and why it still does matter to some? The answer is the purpose of your business cards; what’s on them. Do they contain nonsenses or do they display smart well-designed messages?

To many, paper-based business cards are simply useless – and non-eco-friendly. Most just got thrown away, and some business people receiving business cards just scan them with their smartphones and throw the paper business cards away. Many tech-savvy business people just use their mobile phone apps to exchange contact information in a snap.

So – business cards are dead, aren’t they?

But, are business cards really obsolete? There will be some arguments, but to many it still offers some value.

Some smart businesses use business cards like what they should be used: Marketing tools. Business cards with contact info only is obsolete, but business cards delivering marketing messages still prevail. The idea of such business cards is to grab holders’ attention for a few seconds, “transmit” the marketing message, and that’s it – mission accomplished.

Some are using an increasingly popular QR Codes, printed on the business cards, to get marketing messages transmitted with convenience, and I think QR-code-on-a-business-card works wonder.

Takeaways

The bottom line, your business cards are useful if they serve as your branding and marketing tools. With those being said, some printing companies are still enjoying healthy business growth. Vistaprint, for example, enjoys 18 percent year-on-year growth in sales.

It seems that business cards are still here to stay. Your online contact information will not replace your paper business cards just yet – instead, they are complementing each other.

So, please share your thoughts… are you still using business cards? If so, why?

Image: Michael Kappel / Flickr

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