Why You SHOULDN’T Say RIP to Business Cards

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I recently came across a post on LinkedIn titled: RIP Business Cards: Why It’s Time to (Finally) Ditch Them. There were so many fallacies in the content that I felt it important to correct them and share a fact-based view.

First of all to the author Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite… the paper industry plants more trees than it harvests and without the harvesting of trees for paper products those beautiful resources would eventually die off. Smaller family businesses typically own and operate for-profit forestland. Those owners have a specific interest in maintaining a working forest. Without a demand for paper and wood products, private forestland will become real estate developments. Well-meaning individuals who promote green efforts and use the excuse to “save trees, don’t print this” are simply uneducated.  The US Forest Service estimates 12 million acres of forest in the Southeast will be lost to suburban real estate development between 1992 – 2020.

Next, review the growing body of evidence that points to the fact that learning and cognition are enhanced with the printed page (and the printed business card).  I know you are a tech guy and believe all things tech are all that matter, but the rest of the world – our kids included – learn best with paper. When learning (even just a person’s name and company) paper engages the senses and cognition is enhanced. Check out this review of literature that indicates learning sticks when paper is involved. Or simply search the Neuroscience of Touch and you will become a believer.

There are some crummy business cards out there, I know, customers regularly ask me to print them. A well-designed business card, on heavy stock, provides for engagement.  I’ve handed out my business card, which is 2-3 times as thick as a traditional card, printed on toothy paper, and professionally designed. Recipients stop, comment on the weight of the card, look at the card, turn it over, and try to peel it apart. They study the card and then more often than not have a conversation about that card with others.  Had I simply bumped my phone to share contact information I would have been forgotten.

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I’m pretty technologically engaged, and I often enter contact information into my phone immediately, but I keep the business card in a stack on my desk.  There are more times than not that I don’t remember a person’s name or company name, but I remember the look of their card. I sort through the stack and find the card in question.

Think about the last time someone “bumped your phone”. Did you even really remember him or her? The cost of a set of business cards is cheap. Killing them off isn’t worth the savings and they will likely even pay for themselves many times over.

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