Is the Business Card Dead?

Published Tuesday, August 02, 2011 2:17 PM

When was the last time someone handed you a business card? In some circles, business cards are going the way of the mimeograph and typewriter. In others, the business card still has relevance.  

Alive or About to Kick It?

Harvard Business Review editor Susy Jackson examines the health of the business card in her tongue-in-cheek article The Business Card Is Dead, Long Live the Business Card.  Jackson concludes that while younger, tech types don't place nearly as much emphasis on the business card; they are far from over.

Jackson argues that business cards provide an opportunity to learn more about a person than mere contact details. Decisions about paper stock, font and color choices all speak to a person's style and taste.

Marketing expert Martin Lindstrom sees business cards as valuable real estate for brand building. In a Fast Company article, Your Business Card Is A Billboard For Your Brand--What Does Yours Say?, Lindstrom says business cards are akin to the "napkin test."

"In my universe," says Lindstrom, "a powerful brand should be able to explain their mission in a single paragraph--the fewer words, the better. But what most brands forget is that their business card is indeed their "napkin," a blank canvas enabling them to communicate the essence of their brand (or fail to do so)."

Still, for many, especially the tech-savvy, the paper business card is fast becoming a relic. Companies such as and make the collecting and organizing of virtual contact information easy breezy. And an app for the networking site LinkedIn makes it easier to share contact information using Bluetooth.

Making the Most of Business Cards

Not ready to give up your cards? Make the most of paper cards by carefully choosing the information you put on it. Information need not be limited to phone and fax; cards in today's world often include Twitter handles and QR codes,  allowing smartphone users to quickly scan the cards with applications like Cardmunch. 

For more on optimizing business cards, we like the recent New York Times article Business Cards Go Paperless, or Almost.  And online stationery site offers business cards for the so-called tech geek. 

Do you use paper or virtual business cards? Do you think the business card is dead or alive and kicking? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.



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