Another meeting and another scramble to find the business cards we’ll distribute as part of our “personal marketing.” Why do we do this?
Do business cards have any relevance today? I’m pondering this question as I race off to the printers for more cards. Have to feed the monster and all that.
But I’m wondering, really, what’s the point. I know I have boxes filled with cards that people have pressed on me. Some are fantastic, but most are off-putting and should go in the trash because they’re totally irrelevant to me.
But mostly I never look at them.
I know: it’s a truism in entrepreneurial and other business training that you have to go out and get business cards made. But I’m analyzing all my business processes and I find I use my cards less and less for communications purposes.
I’d say that for every business card I use, I use social networks and other electronic communication five to 10 times as often.
Many times, people I meet just put my contact information into their phones (a nice gesture, that – it indicates you’ve passed some kind of test and been deemed important). There’s even an application where phones can transfer contact information to each other via Bluetooth.
Usually, when I want to contact someone, I hit the Internet. It’s probably an outgrowth of our increasingly global world. I can contact someone in New York as easily as I can contact someone locally. Today, for example, someone who composed a bio of me from my LinkedIn page contacted me via email to ensure the bio was correct. No card at all – and a lot more relevant information than a phone number or email address.
This may be a generational thing. Certainly, I know many young people who don’t have business cards and rely always on other systems to communicate with each other. Or it could be an informational thing. People who are comfortable in the world of information have it at their fingertips (i.e. computers or handhelds) and so don’t bother with old fashioned communications like a business card.
On the other hand, the business card may be the last real human touch in business today, and so has some value.
So I’ll probably have to get some more made, just to hedge my bets. It’s about different communications for different receivers.
But this time my card will be different. No logos. No fancy designs. Just a name and a tagline that clearly states what I do. Plus my LinkedIn address, web sites, and email address. Maybe a telephone number, although that seems to be less relevant these days as well, since I rarely use the phone.
And one thing my new card will have: lots of white space. That way it will become a note taking mechanism.
We all still take notes.