Business owners – at least the successful ones – realize that you have to have a strategy in place in order to achieve any goal. Yes, if you know where you are going – it helps. But you have to know how you are going to get there as well. That is the reason I came up with my Marketing Pie.

I don’t know about you, but when I thought about creating my business plan, the entire process seemed daunting. Once I had completed it, I was glad the torture was over. Well, in my opinion, marketing should be fun! So, with that in mind, I didn’t set out to write out a 12 page marketing plan. I simply followed my mentor’s advice (Fabienne Frederickson) and created a marketing pie that I could live with and use to grow my business.

Voila, my marketing pie was born. And with that I determined it was necessary to share this idea with other entrepreneurs. Knowing that I probably wasn’t the only one that felt the marketing strategy was daunting, I wanted to share my pie with others. I also believe marketing is and should be fun. So what is more fun than eating pie – BLUEBERRY pie at that! Thus, the color for my pie has to be shades of blue…. ok, now you are probably getting the idea that I enjoy marketing.

In fact, an old friend called me yesterday and we hadn’t talked in years. She has started her own business and is now released of her corporate life and wants to delve into marketing her business so she can have this as a full-time venture. Knowing her and her energy level – I have no doubt she will be successful. But what I realized as we were talking, was how jazzed I was getting about ideas for marketing HER business.

Of course, that was why she had called me. She suspected that I would be able to point her in the right direction. She had been following me on LinkedIn and Facebook and knew that I was big into social media marketing. We spent an hour catching up on the phone, and I learned a wee bit about her business. This happened yesterday – so today I cancelled all my plans (and yes it is Saturday) and dove into creating a marketing pie for her. Her pie consists initially of just three pieces – building her database, she’ll concentrate on her writing – which I will use to build her website, blog platform and article submission sites. From there, we’ll “drip market” into social media….but I didn’t want to overwhelm her.

See, one cannot eat a whole pie at once – or at least one shouldn’t – so I am starting her off with some of the basics. One is that she is responsible for pulling together all her contacts and sending them to me – either by downloading them from outlook, or pulling from gmail and/or yahoo accounts. Everyone should compile their contacts into one place. This may sound overly simplistic. But after the networking piece of my pie – I have to insist on “The List” – this is a list of all your contacts. If you have email and postal mail addresses, all the better, phone numbers help too. But without a list, you really are starting from scratch. And let’s face it, you have a list of: Relatives, friends, colleagues from previous office positions, clients you have done work with and for, coffee shop and restaurant owners that you know by frequenting eateries… getting the big picture? List out everyone and start your database!

This is the first piece of the pie that I talk about in my free giveaway. You network in person, you gather cards and information on people and just start learning what people are looking for. Create relationships – don’t just build a database. That is a key point I have to stress. Please be authentic in your marketing approach – or don’t bother.

If you are networking just to collect cards and try to sell to those people later – then good luck and stop reading right now. You won’t like my advice. I believe in creating relationships and building those relationships. If you are in it to meet, sell and move on – then my marketing pie is not for you.

My basic marketing strategy involves creating, building and developing relationships. Like the woman I was talking about earlier. We created a friendship four years ago – never did we connect on the basis of doing business with each other in the future. But I can guarantee you, we will have our relationship long after doing any business together.