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Many Roads Lead to Leads Engaging and acquiring customers is no longer as simple as using direct mail.

By Brian Quinton

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As someone who writes about marketing for a living, I have to come clean. I hate my mailbox.

For one thing, it's one of those apartment-style slots that fills up in two days, forcing me to impose on neighbors to tend it like a tank of tropical fish while I'm gone. But even more annoying is the stuff that fills the mailbox. Bills, of course, but also the most aggravating collection of direct mail offers and solicitations that I would never in my life succumb to. Whole, thick catalogs from companies vaguely affiliated with vendors I once bought from, years ago. Invites to subscribe to magazines at a "professional discount," and appeals to renew before the subscriptions run out in a mere six months. And credit card offers. (Is anyone still rising to this bait?)

The small stash of mail I'm interested in goes with me. The rest of the slurry is emptied into a shopping bag by the front door. And it's always full.

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