Even if you’re terrible at accounting (but great with customers), you still know the basics of money: We want to be in the black instead of the red. I mean, red is my favorite color everywhere except on a financial statement.
A color can show you the bottom line about your company’s financial state at that point in time. But what if you are in the red for one quarter and the profits from another quarter have to cover that expense? Or what if your financial statement is black, but not black enough? — Meaning you could stand to have more profit, more buffer, more resources (after all, that’s what money is—a resource).
In my opinion, the small business bottom line is marketing  (solutions that work). Marketing is all-important, but unfortunately, it’s also the one thing that many small businesses (in my world) address last—or not at all. When done right, marketing can improve your financial bottom line. When done wrong, marketing can cost you more than you can afford to pay.
It’s Not About That
Online marketing  is not about the website or the social network page. Offline marketing is not about the print items or the number of times you appear on television. Both kinds of marketing are about strategy. At the core that strategy answers three questions:
- Who are your people?
- What do they want?
- How will you reach them?
Your marketing items, on and offline, are a series of mini-strategies that you (and your team) must design with the end result in mind.
You Don’t Want It
You don’t want a Facebook fan page just to have a Facebook fan page , as Lisa Barone has said on this blog before. You want it in order to reach your people (target audience). So the question is, who are they and are they on Facebook?
You don’t want a full page ad in the local newspaper just to have a full-page ad in the local newspaper. You want to get in front of your target audience. So, are they reading the local paper or the New York Times? And will one BIG ad do it or would you be better off with 13 smaller ones?
You don’t want to be on television just to be on television. You want to be where your people are. Does it really matter that an advertiser says that he can get your ad aired in 1 million homes across the state when you only need to reach the 100,000 in your local area (and neighboring towns)?
Put the time and money into what really matters. Marketing strategy matters.