At some point before 2013 ends, you’ll have celebrated your birthday, numerous other holidays, and many life-changing experiences good and bad. But whoever you are, on all those days, the people at Hallmark Cards hope their products were there too. Yet as people have embraced mobile phones and the internet as the dominant ways to communicate, the popularity of the paper greeting card has eroded, especially among young adult consumers.

In the US, total greeting card industry revenue declined 5.4 percent in the past five years, slightly better than the tailspin in newspaper ad revenue. For Hallmark, the shift away from dead-tree media is a multibillion-dollar conundrum: how can it continue to squeeze profits out of its dwindling paper card sales, while expanding its brand into lucrative digital products?

“Our primary customer today is someone who’s been using our product for years and years,” says Paul Barker, vice president and general manager of Hallmark’s digital division. “But most people think of Hallmark today because of the presence we have in the analog space ... We don’t have a lot of presence in the digital space.” Hallmark’s analog presence is unmistakable in Kansas City, Missouri, the site of its world headquarters. It’s the city’s third-largest employer, and owns one of its largest expanses of commercial real estate, a glimmering white hotel and office complex known as Crown Center.