It may not have been my brightest moment--ordering a new set of business cards a month prior to a world-altering pandemic. But my father always said I wasn’t the brightest bear in the woods, so it must be fitting. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how many people do business; traditional restaurants evolved into takeout stops, the typical Monday meeting found a way to get even more unbearable—via Zoom, and the traditional handshake became as frowned upon as a middle finger. These are unprecedented times which cause me to wonder what to do with this box of business cards?

Why business cards should return

Let’s face it—there’s nothing more important to word-of-mouth marketing than business cards. You strike a conversation with the barista at your local coffee shop? Business card. You chat one-on-one with the owner of a local yoga studio? Business card. You come across a kid’s lemonade stand? Have some boundaries—not everything’s about sales. But seriously, business cards represent a bridge between client and customer. They give potential customers all the information they need to reach out and become long-term clients.

How else can you so eloquently bridge that gap? I struggle to remember someone’s name on introduction—half the time that information is dead on arrival. So, you expect me to remember someone’s email or phone number? In many ways, the business card seems irreplaceable.

Why business cards shouldn’t return

Clearly COVID-19 puts business cards into the spotlight—I don’t necessarily want to take or give a business card when hundreds of thousands of people are getting sick during a worldwide pandemic. Especially one that spreads from person-to-person contact. And yet, health concerns aren’t the only reason why business cards may need to bid farewell. Truth be told, they just seem outdated. Sites like Vistaprint have made it easy to mass produce cheap, uninspiring business cards. While other client acquisition tactics like websites and social media have evolved with the times, it just seems like business cards are a glorified formality.

Even email marketing has evolved with the times, and still business cards seem to be designed to be either thrown away or stacked in the file cabinet—that doesn’t translate into any sales or new relationships forming. Maybe email marketing and inbound approaches may grow more as individuals are stuck in their homes, unable to do any word-of-mouth marketing. With companies being forced to move more virtually than ever, maybe it's time we leave the business card behind--a relic of more simple times.

Now as I sit alone at home, with nothing beside me but my dog and a collection of untouched business cards, everything just feels like a sign to move into a new phase--and to innovate out of necessity. Or maybe we should just put our contact information on our face masks? Necessity breeds invention.


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