I have been conversing about the importance of business cards for years. It started in 1993 with the forming of the Aggie Roundtable and the Aggie Job Network. My friends and I would help young graduates and those in transition connect with others, teach them about informational interviews, how to use the telephone and the importance of having a business card. I’d tell them “There are three things that make you a professional: 1) Education and Experience 2) your Attitude and 3) a Business Card.” But as technology has become more pervasive in our society, the reasons to carry business cards have diminished. Some say you don’t need to carry business cards; if that is true, then what might you choose to carry instead of a business card?
First let’s look at all the ways in which we can connect without a business card. Here are just a few you might want to try out:
Bump – The Bump App allows you to bump your iPhone or Android phone with another phone and exchange information. You can exchange your contact information, pictures, videos, files, and almost anything. (This App requires an internet connection to work & both parties must have the App.)
Beam Me – The Beam Me App, available only on iPhone is similar to the inferred beaming of the Palm Pilot of the late ‘90’s. Although this App was popular for a while, it appears to be abandoned by the developer. (This App requires an internet connection to work & both parties must have the App.)
Card Munch – Available only for iPhone, the user takes a picture of a business card with the App. The App then sends the image to a real person to key in the data. You get a notification when the transcription is complete. If it is incorrect, you can have it re-transcribed with the click of a button. Once you accept the transcription, you can send the person an email, text, or invitation to connect on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Although the App is free now, LinkedIn purchased it and could change it to a paid App. (This App requires an internet connection to work.)
Text & Email – No Mobile App required, just ask the person for their mobile number or email address and send them your contact information from your phone. (This non-App requires an internet connection to work.)
LinkedIn App – In addition to accessing all of your LinkedIn contacts on the fly, the LinkedIn Mobile App will allow you to connect with others and exchange information. This App is not available for the Android yet but is available on the iPhone, Palm Pre and BlackBerry. (This App requires an internet connection to work & both parties must have the App.)
Twitter & Facebook App – These Apps are more like the Text & Email from above. Just get the users ID, send them a message and you are off to the races. (This App requires an internet connection to work & both parties must have the App.)
With all of these technologies, you can facilitate the exchange of information without a business card. Yet, that is the one of the main reason why so many people have business cards. In addition to these Apps, on-line profiles provide a great deal of information about someone before we meet in person. So again, what do I need a card for? Here are few reasons or ideas on why you might want to carry something like a business card.
- In The Moment Marketing – The card shows or tells something about your business
- Marketing For Later – The recipient remembers you and your business later
- Something To Remember You By – A lasting impression
- A Gift – As in Japanese culture, you exchange cards like they are gifts
- A Conversation Starter – A little something unique about you and your business
I have used a unique card for the last 3 years and it stimulates a variety of conversations. People come up to me and say “oh yea, you’re the guy with the cool card”. Now granted I am in marketing and social media business but aren’t we all in the business of marketing for ourselves? Thus I suggest you still carry a business card, it’s just for different reasons.
What about students and retirees, I suggest you carry a personal card with your contact information and maybe a title or statement that says something about you. This way you can make a better impression on people you meet and you have something to exchange when they offer their card.
There are few people who are “off the radar”; they do not need to build a network due to the private nature of their work. But remember, even James Bond carries a business card, though it does say “Universal Exports” and that is a rather misleading company name.
Maybe there is a point to be reached, that you are so well known, that you don’t need cards. Right, I’ll probably still carry unique cards just because I like them so much and the results they generate.
12-01-11 The Jingle Mingle
12-06-11 Social Media and your Career in 2012
12-08-11 NTCAR – Virtual Tour – Uptown/CBD
12-08-11 Dallas Safari Club Holiday Party