The primary purpose of handing a person a business card is to increase the likelihood that he or she will remember you. We derive much of what we think we know about the usefulness of this practice from personal observation, personal experience and general knowledge. We believe business card distribution to be useful, but is it really? Is there proof that it works?
Well it appears there is proof. A study by a group of medical professionals in Austria compared the impact of physician’s name recognition on patients who were provided business cards with the name of their anesthesiologist, prior to surgery, to that of patients who were not provided a card. Participants were surveyed six weeks after their encounter. The study concluded that “handing a business card to the patient during the preoperative visit increased the postoperative recall of the anesthesiologist’s name from 11% to 51%”.
The study involving 441 subjects conducted by Doctors Jeske, Lederer, Lorenz et al demonstrated that “the use of a simple tool such as a business card can indeed produce a measurable positive change in physician recognition on the part of the patient.”
From this I believe we can extrapolate with confidence that giving a business card in the course of a business encounter is similarly likely to have a positive impact on the recipient remembering who you are. So if you are wondering whether it is worth the investment to hand a card to a new prospect or client consider that you may be increasing your name recognition by 40%. If you respond better to negative stimulus consider that not giving a card may be reducing your chances of being remembered by 40%. It’s a fact.