Marketing more than just slick PR

As a professional services marketer, it would be easy to fly off the handle at Sean Brierley's piece on marketing not adding value (The Lawyer 11 January). So let me take a different angle, and actually agree with him.

I agree that slick new advertising will not defeat rivals. And there is no question that winning new clients is less important than retaining existing ones. We are also at one on the fact that it is servicing existing clients that counts, not the number of mentions you get in the press.

What this reveals is that Brierley is, in fact, a real marketer. Marketing is not about design, advertising and PR. These things are simply the icing on the cake. Identifying which markets to be in, what clients' needs are and the type of service they want to surround the advice they receive – these are the things that real marketers are concerned with, not the number of column inches they receive, or how glossy the latest brochure is.

It is unfortunate that in this country, particularly within the professional services sector, there is a common misconception that marketing involves spending large amounts of money on spurious promotional campaigns, the effectiveness of which is often questionable.

Tim Nightingale, partner, Nisus Consulting