I'm 65 years old. There, I said it. In the eyes of my grandsons, I'm pre-historic, but I like to think of myself as one that can keep up with progress and technical stuff. I had this argument with a young colleague whether or not the old fashion business cards, as we know it today, will still be popular in the future. So I went and did some research:
I bumped into two articles which had three common issues:
1. They were both dealing with business cards and claimed that the conventional business cards are “Passé"
2. They were both written by people who had something to do with China: One was a business man who was working in China and the other one was a Chinese woman. (Guess what? She was working in China too)
3. Both authors suggested an alternative: Electronic Business Card.
Why did they claim that business cards are “Passé"?
1. Once you begin collecting them, taking a business card from anyone who offers you one, your wallet start to puff up until it might blows off. So you sit down and try to select “the men from the boys" and you find yourself not able to decide which one to get rid off because you are sure that the one you'll throw away will be the one you'll need tomorrow.
2. Business cards don't get to you only by those who push it into your hand. From time to time you stretch your hand and take one. For instance: You leave a restaurant where they gave you the dessert “on the house". You'll never leave such a place without taking their business card. You want to tell them, your way, that one day, and probably it will be very soon, you are going to return with all your office mates. . . . .
3. Business cards are very small and the information that is written on it is very limited. You want to tell the world all about yourself: your qualifications, your credentials, your educational certificates, the firm you are working in, your job and status there, and of course how to get in touch with you and the list of means and ways is very long, especially your e-mail address. From the other point of view: you want to know everything about the guy who handed you his business card, for instance: is his firm reliable and pays on time. . . .
4. If you use an album, to keep those business cards which are aiming to blow your wallet to peaces, you probably know by now that it's just like the case of family pictures which are kept in all those albums never to be looked at again. In most cases you have forgotten about them entirely.
5. By arguing that unavailable business cards are good as nothing - we are going back to the first issue: how many cards can we carry with us everywhere all the time? And hell: which one?
6. Paper made business cards are worn out and wrinkled according to the shape of the organ we are sitting on. . . . . . sometimes they are getting lost in the laundry. . . . . you know.
So what is the accessory that will replace those tedious conventional business cards?
In order to answer this question we have to answer a logically previous one: Why do we need them in first place?
According to many articles, which are published in websites and hard copy journals, this is the cheapest mean to advertise and promote oneself, as a person or as a business. In English speaking countries it is called: Business call card. They are spread around according to the determination and the decisiveness of their carrier and distributor. People use them for many purposes, for instance: take me as an example - I use it to write down memos. . . . you know. . . . .
Anyway! What did the two “Chinese" suggested as replacements for paper business cards?
The alternative which they mentioned was another electronic toy, another gadget that will join all the MP3 players, the Palms, the Disk on Keys, the G. P. S, The Cell phones which became not only phones but Cameras, Radio, E-mailers, Browsers and soon Microwaves to warm up our meals at work too. The electronic business card will contain practically unlimited quantities of information. We'll be able to load it with all the details, about ourselves or about our businesses, which we would like others to know about us. But in order to do it we will have to have ways and means to contact our personals computers, to be attached to our cell phones, palms, disk-on-keys, and last but not list: other electronic business cards of our fellow men. This way we will be able to save on a small and portable accessory all the information which we kept in hundreds of paper business cards. How comfortable, how convenient and wit!
Did we solve all our problems? Did we end all our troubles? Hell no! We just opened a new chest of problems and troubles. Because now we need to read another book of operating manual, we have another expensive gadget to keep safe, not to be lost or forgotten somewhere, another electronic device to be charged or batteries to be replaced, another peace of sophisticated equipment to be kept away from electromagnetic fields.
That's not the end of it: You will probably like to see the information you are going pass over to your new business mate. Would you like to see what kind of information he is delivering to your information systems, right? So now you need a screen and a keypad. Well, what do we got here, another computer?
OK! No screens and no keypads. Well! It means passing on and off a lot of information blindly! We wouldn't be able to control, in real time, the amount, the content and the quality of information we will give away or get.
Let's assume that all those problems, troubles and open questions, will be solved. Still we have in our hands a device that must be thicker than 10 or 15 paper business cards. Where shall we keep it? Maybe in our wallet? Impossible to think about it. Maybe in our shirt pocket? Anyway we have a new bother maker.
What do I take from all this? That the old fashion printed business cards are very good solution and if designed properly they are very effective. They are cheap and easy to made. All in all, here is an example where gadgets are not as effective as the products they are trying to switch.
George Monte is a digital printing expert, involved in the printing industry for over 15 years. As the Co-CEO of DCP-Print, George is consulting numerous companies in the field of printed promotional materials.
DCP-Print is an international company, specializing in custom made print products such as business cards, business magnets, invitations and more.