Will commercial agent’s business cards become a thing of the past?

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Will commercial agent’s business cards become a thing of the past?


The humble business card, it’s probably the first thing you had printed when you started in business. Wherever you are, chances are you’ve got one with you.  But then there are other people’s business cards, littering your desk, filling your pockets and spoiling the line of the Austin Reed. They’re easily lost when they are needed and then easily found as a disintegrated pocket full of confetti when your clothes return from washing.

Perhaps they are simply not compatible with the technology age. Whenever I return from a seminar or exhibition, it takes me (or hopefully someone else) best part of a morning typing the contact information into my contacts.

So will technology and to be more specific the Smartphone, make the humble business card obsolete?

The Tech Solutions

The problem with finding one universal solution to the business card is that despite the fact that we have a number of different Smartphone platforms; it requires everyone to use the same App.

Yet, a few months ago LinkedIn launched their CardMunch App, which simply digitizes a business card. Once the App has captured the cards image via the iPhones camera, it saves the information to your contacts and as you would expect, integrates information from the persons LinkedIn profile as well.

CardMunch is a great idea, but it doesn’t dispense with the business card, for a start you’re reliant on your contact having the same App, let alone an iPhone and a LinkedIn account (hang-on, what fool wouldn’t have a LinkedIn account? Nevertheless CardMunch works as a great tool for you to collect and collect business cards. It will certainly save on the time spent updating your contacts and the need to walk round with a pocket full of cards.

The thing is, the App was born out of LinkedIn’s realisation that the business card wasn’t going to be going away any day soon. Interested Chartered Surveyors can download the App for free from the iPhone App Store.


Cardcloud on the other hand, does potentially dispense with the need for a traditional business card. Launched a few months ago it enables you to create a digital card, which you can share with new contacts whether they have the App or not. It works on iOS and Android platforms, records the geo-location of your meeting and even enables you to write little notes on the ‘back of the card’. Problem is, its not much good if you don’t have any reception.

Not going anywhere soon

All this technology does make you wonder whether one day in the near future, we’ll all have barcodes on our arms. People will just scan the barcode, get our contact details, Facebook and LinkedIn profile, likes and dislikes, inside leg etc. and then a short video introduction so we never have to speak to a stranger again!

The fact is, 10 billion business cards are still printed annually and we have a social protocol about exchanging cards. And the humble business card marks the first physical connection with your brand. Any of these Apps may be useful, save sometime or be a point of conversation, but they don’t replace the business card just yet.  

Philip Burrows, Marketing Consultant