Are Business Cards Effective?

Every business owner, manager or sales rep I’ve ever met hands me their business card. After a quick glance at it, the conversation continues, and at some stage the card goes into your pocket, purse, wallet, etc. So what do you do with all those cards you’ve received?

OK, OK….. there’s some of you that will be highly organised. Maybe you file them, card index them, alpha sort them into wallets or boxes, or if you’re really techie, you may scan them into your computer or mobile device.


With so many people and cards to remember, how will you re-call that person you met at a function, who was mildly of interest, but who you’d now like to make contact with? I for one, struggle to remember all the details of the folk I meet. I may recall their face, and their business proposition, but I struggle to remember their company name, so how can I find their card and their details?

This week, I was at a business networking event, and the guy sat next to me asked me if a promotional pen was all it was cracked up to be. (Promotional pens are reputed to be the single most effective promotional giveaway in the world!!!) I was just about to get the luckiest break ever…… I caught sight of a promo pen in his inside jacket pocket. I couldn’t see much (rude to stare), but I could see a red pen clip with some branding on it, and seeing how this guys logo and branding was predominantly green, I reckoned it was unlikely to be his own branded pen…. and I was right.

Our best selling promotional pen

Our best selling promotional pen

I told him that if you used a promo pen, and you managed to become the recipients ‘favourite’ pen, then you’d be kept. If you gave away tacky, boring pens, then the likelihood is that your pen will be discarded. To prove my point, I then asked if he had a favourite pen. he said he did, and then he reached into his jacket and pulled out the pen I’d seen, declaring, “I’ve had this one for ages, I love it”.

People of the world wide web, let me tell you, my jaw hit the ground, I was astonished…… he was holding one of my very own promotional giveaway pens!!!!

Now here’s the thing:

  • I’d only known this man a few months.
  • The pen he had kept was a pen that I’d given away to promote my own company, but which I’d not used in over three years!!
  • He didn’t even know where he’d got the pen.
  • He hadn’t even realised that the pen was one of mine.
  • BUT….. he’d kept it, for several years!!!

In my opinion, he had had my ‘business card’ in his jacket pocket for three years. He had been holding my ‘business card’, every time he used it to write. He may not have ever wanted to buy a promotional gift, but if he had, then he was holding my contact details in his hand.

In my humble opinion, when chosen and used correctly (ask me how), the promotional pen is more effective than the business card.

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