I have noticed recently that the quality of small business marketing material has increased dramatically. Whether through the printing and layout of menu's online, to business cards, to simple logo design - the overall quality is quite good, especially given the costs associated.
What remains poor, generally, is the location - where the marketing is targeted.
I have had more than one business owner tell me he is on Facebook, has his own Twitter feed, great logo and design, etc - but no clients!
Part of this is due to the quality being something you can purchase/obtain without much difficulty. There are hundreds of qualified web designers who could make you a website - just figure out what you want to spend!
But knowing where to locate that marketing can't be easily purchased. It falls back to simple leg-work and doing the market research to know who is the client, where is he located, what does he want to buy/learn/enjoy - and how are you going to reach him.
The good news though is that this research can be done without a large amount of money, just time and effort. Since most small business owners have an overabundance of effort, this means they have the capability to actively understand their market.
The bad news is that the ease of purchasing quality of marketing material gives the pretense of understanding the market.
Where are you spending your time?