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New Lead-Generation Tactics Harnesses Multiple Channels Lead gen isn't just about message volume, it's about reaching the right audience at the right time.

By Brian Quinton

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

An interesting thing is happening with what used to be distinct categories of businesses: Retailers who sell in multiple channels, direct-response devotees and companies interested in brand-building are all turning to similar marketing tactics.

At one time, multichannel retailers sold mostly in stores and through catalogs and call centers. These days, with catalogs under siege from mailing costs and eco-conscious shoppers, those same sellers want to learn about e-commerce and selling via mobile.

Direct-response marketing and branding have seen an even more notable blurring of once-clear distinctions. Direct marketing has always stressed hard-edged metrics: How much did it cost to acquire this consumer, from lead through final sales conversion, and what return did that yield on our investment? By contrast, brand promotions dealt in softer metrics such as awareness, lift and the cost of putting a message in front of thousands or millions of prospective consumers--with a rather unfocused expectation that some of those would eventually become customers.

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