You probably put a lot of thought into your business card design, but how much consideration do you give to your business card stock? If you want to motivate customers to buy, the answer should be “a lot.” The reason is because the feel of your business card can have a dramatic effect on how customers perceive you, your brand, and your products and services. In fact, recent studies demonstrate that sensory marketing, or, in this case, tactile marketing, can play a tremendous role in the decision-making process. Softer, heavier “touches” motivate customers to buy – which is why 15-point velvet cover might just be the perfect business card paper stock. In a sense, it lets your customers feel your quality.
Consider the findings reported by Lawrence Williams and Joshua Ackerman in their Harvard Business Review article, “Please Touch the Merchandise:"
- A study found that people who sat in soft chairs versus hard chairs were willing to offer 28 percent more for automobiles, suggesting that people are more susceptible to persuasive influences when they touch soft objects
- Another study found that interviewers believed job candidates to be more serious when they conducted interviews while holding heavier clipboards, suggesting that weight makes people seem better qualified even when that weight has nothing to do with a given person
- Yet another study found that those who drank water from a heavy vessel versus a flimsy cup believed the water that came from the heavy vessel was of greater quality (it was not), suggesting that weight makes things seem more valuable
The article cites several more examples in which touch directly influences decision-making and outcomes. The value in knowing this information is being able to apply it to marketing materials; here, business cards. With a soft, smooth, velvety finish and heavy weight, 15-point velvet cover paper stock has all desired tactile attributes associated with positive persuasion.
Everything else being equal, 15-point velvet business cards can help customers perceive you as being a more serious, friendly and helpful professional. It can also help customers perceive your products and services as being higher quality and of greater value than your competitors’. For such a low investment, it makes sense for any serious business professional to print business cards on 15-point velvet cover stock.
The role of touch in marketing is just beginning to be understood, but it’s already being employed by many companies to more effectively promote their products. As the referenced article points out, Apple stores have hands-on display models to take advantage of the role of touch in marketing; in addition, car manufacturers often add dampeners to doors to make them feel heavier when closed in order to suggest quality construction.
I highly recommend you read the Williams and Ackerman article as well as this interview with Michigan Ross School of Business’ Marketing Professor Aradhna Krishna. The two articles will help you more fully understand the dramatic impact tactile marketing can have for influencing customer decision-making. Then, consider whether your business cards simply look good, or whether they also feel good. If they don’t, it might be time to switch to a softer, heavier touch.