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Ask Mr. Marketing Columns

People still use business cards

The lowly business card dates back to 15th Century China when people used them as self-promotional tools. Called “Visiting cards,” they were employed to request meetings or prove credentials.

200 years later they’d morphed into “trade cards” containing promotional information and a map to help customers find a particular business.

By the industrial revolution, these communications vehicles had evolved into today’s business card; a simple, cost-effective way of helping prospective customers and contacts remember and find you for work.

The BBC reports seven billion+ business cards were printed around the world in 2018. COVID forced countless meetings to be canceled, and with it came a 70% drop in global business card production.

No surprise, given the lack of in-person networking, growth of contactless transactions, and fear of spreading germs.

Based on this, and added to the exponential growth of cell phones, social media, and QR codes, I’d assumed business cards would soon be an extinct marketing tool.

Well, you know what happens when you assume! Sales are increasing again, and business cards are DEFINITELY not dead.

Last night I attended a networking event of about 60 business executives and was surprised by the business cards being shared.

All night long I watched cards changing hands. Some were plain white, others multi-colored. Most were rectangular, some square or round. Large ones stood out, small ones probably got lost.

Square corners, round corners, thin and thick. Paper, wood, mylar, and magnetic…I saw them all. Several were clever, while many more were eminently forgettable.

And a few meeting attendees neglected to bring a sufficient supply of cards before recognizing they’d missed an opportunity to be remembered.

I liked the die-cut card from the team-building firm. Between graphics and the shape, it had a fun feeling that seemed to perfectly reflect the CEO’s style.

When I first got into the business I was taught two things;

  • Carry business cards at all times; and
  • Hand it to business prospects so they can easily find me.

Regardless of your business, you should also always be carrying business cards with you. They’re among the least expensive marketing tools at your disposal, are considered a must in certain cultures, and can help reinforce your branding efforts.

True, they’re low tech…but sometimes, the simplest solution is the best one.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Follow me at http://bit.ly/MrMarketingLI

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