What happened: In a recent study by PR firm, Edleman reported in Advertising Age (2/8) that people are becoming less inclined to trust information they get from their friends. The percentage of people who say they view their friends and peers as credible sources declined from 45% in 2009 to 25% in 2010, the study found. “It’s a more skeptical time,” Edelman says. “If companies are looking at peer-to-peer marketing as another arrow in the quiver, that’s good, but they need to understand it’s not a single-source solution.”

Why it matters: Companies have relied heavily upon their sales marketing representatives to retain existing customers and attract new ones based upon their long-standing relationships. During the past few years business for the majority of companies has become extremely competitive. Given the new market dynamics it is becoming essential that companies develop additional ways to manage their lead generation, management and distribution system. A strong lead production program has become a top priority of every business in every business segment. An effective program is an integration of the most effective mix of branding, PR, advertising, SEO, website marketing and outbound calling working together on one sales marketing integration. Hopefully, your company is further along than counting solely on the efforts of your sales team.