The Z-Card - an international success story - Business Works
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The Z-Card - an international success story

Liz Love, MD Z-CARD An inspiring success story - Liz Love and the Z-Card. The Z-Card is a simple, but completely original communications idea which was conceived, developed, patented and commercialised on a worldwide scale from here in the UK.

The concept is the simple premise that the audience today’s marketers need to engage with is mobile, information-saturated and time and attention poor. The Z-Card is the ideal print-based solution to this requirement.

Simply put, the Z-Card is a printed, double concertina sheet that folds down to credit card size and with the sheet protected by two stiff external covers. "The Z-Card is just a format for good ideas," says Liz, MD of Z-Card Ltd (the company named after the eponymous brand). "Although the product was entirely new, and hence could be patented worldwide, it is the ability to condense information to the few most relevant facts and produce these creatively and engagingly which creates the value in the communication."



From a joint marketing and travel journalism background, Liz and partner, George McDonald (the inventor) decided that, rather than take their idea to a big company, they wanted to 'do it themselves'. However, from the outset they were very clear that they were going international. They could see that the Z-Card was potentially a ubiquitous product and was equally appropriate in any market anywhere in the world.

That is why they applied for, and gained, patents across the world so that they could use them to provide a foundation for growth, to encourage the right companies to invest time and resources. Equally, by recognising the potential scale of the opportunity, they quickly realised that the product could only succeed as a volume offering. From that realisation, they developed and patented a machine which was purpose-designed to produce Z-Card at speed and to perfect quality.


Starting first by finding key sales and production partners in the UK and Europe, they then grew what fast became an international licensee network through a mixture of following up every potential personal contact, sourcing key events to publicise the opportunity and a heap of good luck!

"Finding the right partner is the most important part of growing an international brand and network," says Liz. "It's not easy, but equally not as difficult as you might imagine. At the early point, you have to be open to every opportunity and just keep pushing until you find the right fit for you. We often found that we ended up partnering, not with the first contact in the market, but someone they introduced us to. If you have a well-conceived offering, there are plenty of businesses out there looking for an opportunity to grow! You just have to create enough visibility for them to find you."

"Once you have identified your partners, you need to commit to supporting them, particularly in the early phase when it can take several months before the first orders start coming in. To make a partnership work, both sides need to invest in the opportunity. We effectively bring a proven business plan and marketing, production and sales know-how and our partners bring their local knowledge and enthusiasm. Communication has always been crucial and we offer access to our intranet and a shared database of all orders so that everyone can benefit from the good work of others, as well as direct marketing investment and support. With 75 of the top world brands as our clients, it makes total sense to share case studies and campaign opportunities."

The future

Z-Cards have now been in the market for some 20 years. Liz and George bought over the original European franchise in 2003. They have since invested strongly in developing the brand further with an investment in advertising and a recent redesign of the websites. They have also brought the clear vision that the company is a niche marketing service for the increasing market of mobile communications – print or digital. There are now more than 1.5 billion Z-Cards in circulation around the world

Liz concludes, "What we provide is PocketMedia – communications designed to be carried on the person. The delivery platform is irrelevant and therefore what we already provided for print we have now enthusiastically developed for mobile-based technologies. We offer mobile sites, apps and a wide range of what we term 'bridge technologies' – QR codes, AR and digital watermarking, for example, which facilitate totally integrated mobile solutions for our clients."

For more information on the Z-Card and other products, please visit:

The Z-CARD ® is a Registered Trade Mark and subject to international patents.

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