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January 20, 2007

Tip of the Week - "Jolt Thinking" and The Business Card

"Jolt Thinking" is a marketing concept created by Chuck Green.  In other words it is any marketing concept/design when fully implemented which "jolts" you primarily into utilizing the vendors services or products.  I happened to find Chuck's website when I was googling "business cards."

There is always debate about the marketing value of a business card.  Should it stay simple with just contact information?  Should it include all your services or be gimmicky, provide a place to jot notes or telephone numbers, show you are multi-lingual?  Should you use the front and the back thereby eliminating any writing room at all?  Should you have multiple cards for multiple practice areas?  Cards for clients?  Cards for colleagues? All of this is up for debate. However, Entrepreneur.com has two great articles "Creating a Great Business Card" and "Smart Ways to Use Your Business Card"  which can help.

What is not up for debate is the purpose of the business card. I agree with Chuck on one very important point.  A business card should be designed in such a way that the receiver of the card wants to hold on to it.  He derives a benefit from retaining the card.  And therein lies the challenge.  The design of your business cards needs to be purpose-driven, not the other way around. 

You may say, "after our great conversation and all the information I gave him, of course he'll want to hold on to my card."  Possibly.  However, a week later the prospect pulls out that card and doesn't recollect anything because your contact information alone on the card wasn't memorable or didn't provide enough information to help him remember you or why he had your card.

There are many things one can do with a business card.  We've all heard them.  It's been written about ad nauseum.  (Although, Chuck Green does have some neat ideas.) Here, however, is the best example of "jolt thinking" I have ever heard:

Keep in mind, this conversation took place at least seven years ago.

One of my student's brothers works at a large telephone company.  This clever student's idea is to marry his business card with a replenishable prepaid calling card. His clients will always keep it.  It serves the purpose of a business card by conveying contact information and has the "jolt" factor by being a marketing device the prospective client does not want to throw away because the client receives an ongoing benefit in retaining the card above all others, a pre-paid calling card.  And why it can be taken to the next level of brilliant? This law student is going into criminal work.  Potential clients get a business card that helps them to make their "one phone call."  I wonder who they will call?

Now, I don't know which phone company my student's brother works for but now these phone cards  are in existence (how long, I don't know) and can be purchased for as little as eight-nine cents per card.  In addition, you can customize the advertisement the user hears each and every time they use the card to place a call.  How's that for the gift that keeps on giving?

Yes, we all have cell phones.  But the battery dies, or the phone gets stolen....or we enter the dreaded dead zone just when we need our cell phone the most.

Bottom line: if it's a marketing concept that works for your practice area and target audience and you are looking for a low cost/potentially high return "jolt" factor, it's an idea worth investigating


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