Print newsletters and Canada’s second currency

Canadian_tire_money OK, let me get the wisecracks about the title of this post over with right away – in case I lose my residency in Ontario.

No, Canada's second currency isn't the US dollar.

And it's not the euro either, as an earnest store associate suggested to a friend last week in upstate New York. "Would you like to pay with euros?"

Hmmm.

No, Canada's second currency is Canadian Tire Money.

For those of you not in the know, Canadian Tire is an iconic retailer up here – it sells everything from auto parts to barbecues, passing through tools and housewares on the way.

Some people hate it (you can never find an associate) but more, I think, love it.

Canadian Tire is piled to the roof with cool stuff you can mess around with on weekends.

And it gives you money.

Spend enough at the cash and you get Canadian Tire money back, in "real" bills you can use at the retailer. Now, these bills are measured in cents, not dollars (for the most part) but it's like…real…money.

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There's been talk recently about Canadian Tire doing away with the bills. Indeed, there's an announcement on the reward program's future today. Maybe they'll replace it with electronic rewards – like most other retailers – but there's also talk of introducing a Canadian Tire dollar coin.

We shall see.

But doing away with the paper money would be a big mistake. And not only for the ebay folks who collect the stuff.

You see, there's something special about paper. You can touch it – feel it crinkle. And you can carry it around with you – it pokes out at you from between the real money and frayed receipts.

And when you keep seeing it there, you remember to go back to Canadian Tire and spend it. Hey – I've got $2 in money I can use towards that $400 drill press I've been lusting after. Betta spend that quick!

I think that's super-powerful.

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So – you can see how it relates to newsletters, can't you?

Now, I'm not one of these guys who says print newsletters are the only way to go. Or, for that matter, email only.

I'm platform flexible.

For the newsletters I send to my own clients, I started out with print, then switched to email. And next year I'll be sending print newsletters again to select people in my database.

After all, it's about what works – what brings the best return on investment.  Email is cheap…but print can work better.

Why? Because it's physical. You can't just hit the delete button on it.

Print newsletters stick around. Articles get clipped and pasted on the refrigerator. (I know this happens with the newsletters I make for members.)

You can read them in the bathroom.

So I urge you – and Canadian Tire, because of course they are reading – to keep the faith in print. By all means use electronic methods too, but don't forget the power of "real" money reminding you that it's there to be spent.

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