It’s Not About the Business Card

A few weeks ago I was at a business dinner with some coworkers. Great food and great service. We started chatting up our server who, apparently, has designs on opening a new restaurant himself, in another city (one we all frequent for work).

So when the evening wound down…I asked him if he had a business card so we can follow up on his progress and hopefully visit his restaurant when it opens. Well…you see business cards are just too “old school” and everything. But I was told I could look him up online…never mind his last name was practically impossible to spell. I did try and type it in, but that pulled be away from the conversation, and we were heading out. I told him, maybe we’ll just run into his place by happy accident.

He ran and tore off a piece of receipt paper and scribbled down his name on few social media sites and said, “here ya go” on our way out. I stuffed it in my pocket and haven’t seen it since.

I know it can be tempting to dismiss things as “old school” or “dead” even – but the fact is some things don’t die because something new comes along – what they do may change. In the case of the business card, its highly unlikely anyone has a rolodex on their desk anymore with business cards filed alphabetically. Whats more likely is they take that business card and may use it to remember you later that day, or in the days that follow. Maybe then they’ll take the time to look you up on your website or social profiles.

DoYouLikePhilCollins?So much of marketing talk/writing today is dedicated to ideas around creating journeys and experiences. I think a big part of that is letting customers (and just people really) choose their own path with you or your company. That means thinking through the possibilities, and how people interact today, and how they have interacted for the preceding number of years, what makes sense, what do you want to happen, and what do you think will actually happen. A worthwhile exercise, I promise. Also, don’t make the customer work too hard to get to know you.

It may seem simple, but as with most things, there are hundreds of details and combinations of actions that people often fail to even think about.

Imagine this scenario – same restaurant, server, and story: “Hey, we’d love to keep up with your progress, do you have a card?” to which he might answer “Sure thing, here you go…one for each of you. Look forward to hearing from you and hosting you at my restaurant someday!” In that case, the business card improves the experience…don’t worry about the business card itself, worry about the experience you’re trying to provide.

If I was an aspiring restaurateur meeting people all day long who like to travel and eat, I’d have business cards. And a plan to build an audience before I even opened the doors to my restaurant.

On the off chance that you really do just care about the business cards, then you can join this group.

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