You will remember in Aladdin that the sorcerer tricks Aladdin’s wife into giving up the lamp containing the genie by offering to exchange “new lamps for old”. Perhaps there’s a moral in that story for professional service firms.

I’ve noticed that a number of smaller legal, accountancy and property firms have recently paid significant sums to acquire shiny new lamps in the form of a new logo, a new web site or promises of instant success with technological tools such as social media. These are important elements of an integrated marketing strategy – but they are not substitutes for it.

At the same time they have given up the old, battered lamp (that delivers a higher profile, improved client service, new products, new insight, new clients, better relationships and ultimately greater profits) which takes some effort such as achieving a structured business plan, fee-earner behaviour change, investment in systems and on-going commitment to business development.

Remember the saying “No pain, no gain”? The chances are, if your marketing solution appears to be effortless the results will be – like the genie – temporary, illusionary and possibly even damaging.