Is the Cell Phone Killing the Business Card

iphone killing business cards

Is cell phone and Internet technology killing the business card? Over the last two decades, print promotion has certainly taken a slight downward turn as businesses embrace web-based promotion and turn away from flyers, business cards, magazine ads, and the printed word.

In the 1980’s the business card was king. It was absolutely essential for all businessmen and women to have a “killer” business card. The business card was often the key to successful social and business networking. Over the last 20 years, advances in cell phone technology have created a situation where people can swap numbers and information using their cell phones. It’s a fact that more people own a cell phone than a set of business cards!

So why would a business professional even need business cards? The answer to this is simple. Although I don’t believe that the business card is the status symbol that it once was, I would argue that it is still an essential business tool. Even in today’s advanced technological environment, it would be foolish to go anywhere without a few business cards to quickly handout to potential customers! It saves time. Even if your customer has a cell phone, handing out a business card is still a much quicker way of passing on your information.

However, the new generation of 3G-cell phone technology may represent a whole new threat to the business card. Phone users can now download specific “apps” for swapping business information. Phone apps such as “Bump” enable users to instantly swap business information by “bumping phones”. With apps such as Bump available, can the business card survive the 3G threat? I’m certain that it will! Popular apps like “Swap It” and “Bump” rely on every other person you meet having the same app uploaded on their phone for it to work. You may be ready to “bump” but unless everyone else is also ready to “bump”, you’re not going to be able to share your information! Rather than being the death of the business card, I believe that the new generation cell phone technology will make the business card more popular.

Web and technology companies are currently revolutionizing the manner in which we use and exchange visual information with apps such as “Google Goggles”. Although it is still in its infancy, Google Goggles enables the phone user to turn photographic information of places, artwork, text, etc, into usable data. For instance, a person can take a picture of a poster and Google Goggles will read the visual and textual information and produce web results based on that information. Because Google Goggles can distinguish the text in a photograph, it gives the user the awesome ability to photograph a business card and instantly input that person’s information directly into their contact list! (Unfortunately, Google Goggles is only available for a trial spell on the Android handset but is predicted for iphone and other platform release in early 2010)

google goggles
google goggles

Google Goggles will allow users to photograph a business card and then convert the photographed text into actual text data.

Google Goggles will likely prove to be the worlds most effective scanning and reading technology but there are already similar apps available. Business Card Reader, for instance, is an incredible networking tool. I have used this myself and found it to be pretty accurate at converting photographic imagery into text data. It’s not perfect and I have noticed a couple of text reading errors but I foresee that apps such as these may well breathe new life into the business card.

The business card has remained a popular business networking tool because it’s represents route 1 marketing – the transference of your number and business information to another person. It’s simple and uncomplicated. That’s why it works. Technology companies such as Google recognize the importance of the business card and have developed their app to work in unison with, rather than trying to replace it. The simple fact is that there is still no easier way of exchanging business information than a business card! As long as people carry wallets, then there will always be a place for the business card.

You Might Also Like

Comic-Con Festivals from Around the World

SXSW’s Flatstock is a Gallery of the World’s Best Music Poster Artists’ Works

Sports Tournament Brackets 101: Mad for college basketball

Quick Guide to Visual Merchandising

The Only Trade Show Survival List You Need

Coolest Camera Tech from CES 2018

How to Plan Celebrity Meet & Greets at Events

5 Tips to Prepare Your Comic Con Booth

What Makes Print Unique in the Marketing Mix?

What are Creative Uses for Bookmarks That Don’t Involve Books?

Business Card Tips: What Does Your Business Card Say About You?

20 Movies You Didn’t Know Were Books First

Custom Bookmarks as Marketing Tools and Gift Ideas

How Businesses Can Give Back on Arbor Day

Iconic Gig Posters: The Art Behind the Music

Dr. Seuss’ Life Lessons You Can Use

8 Corporate Thank You Cards for Employee Appreciation Day

Expert Tips for Creating Fashion Lookbooks

Winning Movie Poster Designs from the 2017 Oscars

Your Business Card is Your Trademark

Create Cute Baby Calendars as Holiday Gifts

7 Simple Steps to Designing High-Quality Business Flyers

7 Picture-Perfect Marketing Postcards for Photographers

Unique Business Card Ideas

Patriotic Party Planner

Clever Ways to Use Coasters

Complement Your Home & Business With Coasters

Make Your Home & Office A Pleasant Place To Be

A Business Card Different Than The Rest

Take Your Business On The Road

Establishing a Design Establishes Your Company

Don’t Let Your Appetite Down

Small / Local Businesses Should Take Advantage Of EDDM

Expand Your Booklet Horizon

Rack Cards With A Twist

Are Circle Business Cards In Your Toolkit?

Gaining Awareness Without Breaking Your Bank

What Can A Booklet Do For You?

Make A Statement With Your Business Card

Bookmarks/ Think Outside The Box

Super Invitations for the Super Big Game!

Overnight Prints Keeps it Green…You Can, too

Get Buzzy With Business Cards

Create an ‘Etsy style’ Greeting Card in Photoshop

Taking Stock of Your Business Card Paper

Stop Bailing on Mailing (Services)

Summer Cleaning (Had Me a Blast)

Business Cards: Here today…Not Gone Tomorrow

QR Codes in Posters and Mini BCs

Invitations & Announcements for Dads & Grads

Postcard Marketing 101 – Using Customer Testimonials

Earth Day 2012

Be an Art Collector

Presenting the Pocket Folder

Death of the Business Card?

An Ode to H2O

Never a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Crazy March Media, Money & Marketing

What Chlorine Free Means

The Networking Card

Roses are Red

A Paperless Society

Introducing gapingvoid Business Cards

Back to School Ideas

The Secret of QR Codes


Notepads now available from Overnight Prints

Overnight Prints Business Cards – Rated #1 for overall quality

Mini Business Cards

Car Door Magnets

Overnight Prints Web Commercial – how we made it!

35 of the most Inspirational flyer & postcard designs

5 ways to add value to your business cards

Top 20 Custom Movie Posters



Make your own Holiday Gift Stationery at OvernightPrints!

Grow Customer Relationships with Holiday Cards

2011 Custom Calendars Available for the Holiday Season

Steve Jobs 1979 business card

Halloween Print Products for October Promotions

Augmented Reality Business Cards

3 Best Print Product Ideas

postcard vs e-postcard

Best business cards

Flyer design – upload Photoshop flyer for free

Upload your Business Cards for FREE – Overnight Prints’ new and improved online service

Creating your own Business Card file for print

The Importance of Good Print quality when creating Photo Postcards

Comp Cards – What they are and how to print them!

Facebook Like and Dislike Stamps!

Art & Design on Postcards

Greeting Card design inspiration for Mothers Day

Mommy Cards for Mothers Day

Family Business Cards

Great ideas for Custom Bookmarks & Bookmark Promotions

Create a Simple Holiday Postcard in Photoshop- using the Clipping Mask, Warp Tool, and other Text Effects!

5 Best Custom Business Card ideas from Small Business Customers!

Best Business Cards from Around the Web


Do Your Business Cards & Marketing Materials Need Revamping?

How to Choose a Green Printer

Not Convinced? Free Samples To Change Your Mind!

Tis The Season: Recycle Those Christmas Cards!

Save Your Hands, Save Your Time: Self-Inking Stamps

Business Greeting Cards Aren’t Promo Items – Really

Bookmarks As A Marketing Tool: Cheap & Effective

Hassle-Free Greeting Cards

Rubber Stamp Business Cards- Create your own Hand Crafted Business Card

How to make your own fancy bookmarks

Shop the Story!


  1. Avatar
    Waterslide Decal Paper

    Saw your blog bookmarked on Digg.

  2. Cell Phone in place of Business Cards?- Mt Shasta Design

    […] This entry was posted on by Stephen Owen of Overnight Print […]

  3. Avatar

    @Danwow haha thats pretty good. hopefully you have good luck with that. keep it up

  4. Avatar
    online marketing toronto

    Well written and a great read 🙂

  5. iPhone Business Card « Design and Print Blog | Overnight Prints

    […] the debate rages on about how relevant business cards are in this new age of 3G technology, we thought we’d combine the two worlds of hi-tech and low tech networking with a specially […]

  6. Avatar
    Grass Fed Tenderloin

    Wow, great blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging appear straightforward. The overall look of your web site is amazing, let alone the content!

  7. Avatar

    Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? With thanks

Comments are closed.