The Choice


What matters most in making your business successful? (It might not be what you expect)

If a genie popped out of a bottle and granted you instant “best-in-your-industry” status in just one of four categories, which would you choose?:

  • best management
  • best margins
  • best marketing
  • best product

While all these contribute to your business success, only one factor matters most.

It’s often assumed that the highest-quality and best product wins. Not true.

What’s the No. 1 restaurant in the world? McDonald’s. What’s the No. 1 wine? Franzia (the stuff that comes in a box!).

The next assumption is that management makes the competitive difference. Countless “dream teams” have failed miserably (think Enron, the movie Oceans 12 and the 2004 Olympic basketball team, comprising nothing but NBA stars, ending up third, losing to Lithuania. Ouch.).

Certainly your accountant and CFO would wish for the highest margins. Tell’em margins don’t matter at all if the product never sells.

Ultimately, like it or not, the one thing that matters most in determining whether your business succeeds or fails miserably is marketing.

“Fast, gigantic leaps come from only one place: sales and marketing.”
-Dan Kennedy

Person who knows how to get, keep and cultivate a customer gets paid the most. Period.

In our February issue of SUCCESS I

pay tribute to the late Steve Jobs, arguably the greatest marketer of our time. On the CD enclosed with the issue I reveal my findings from a several month research project trying to decode the marketing magic of Steve Jobs and Apple.

I found six strategies they mastered, which resulted in Apple becoming the most valuable brand in the world. I attempt to explain how you, too, can master these six strategies in growing the value of your business.

I also interview Seth Godin, Tory Johnson and John Maxwell, who share some incredible insights. Be sure to pick up a copy off the newsstands if you are not already a subscriber (gasp!).

If you are looking to make more money or grow a business in 2012, then make the deep study and mastery of marketing should be one of your goals this year.

What are some of the most clever marketing ideas you have seen or deployed yourself? Share them with us in the comments below.

I’ve been using this product for 6 months now and it’s totally eliminated all menopausal symtoms. ? Since we opened our doors in 2004, our shop has filled over 5 million discount prescription orders through our Canadian pharmacy.



32 responses to “The Choice”

  1. Hi Darren,

    Wonderful content as always.

    The first thing I do when your magazine shows up is pop to CD into my car’s player. Definitely part of my Success routine.

    Looking forward to the issue.

  2. “What are some of the most clever marketing ideas you have seen or deployed yourself? Share them with us in the comments below.”

    My success, like many others, is a direct result of my lobbying congress to pass oppressive laws against the citizens of the united states. I receive easy money because I have no competition and I pass a few dollars along to the politicians who pass my legislation. Win/win for the both of us with the us citizens loosing.

    Enjoy paying more, getting less and living in an oppressive state while I bathe in the riches made from your labor. God bless america!

  3. Hello Daren,

    Sincerely, i have not read any of ur materials but am interested based on the positive feedback.

    My sister and i are interested in selling home-made craft but are having problems with: marketing, blending our styles to customers’ wants, finance (managing to fulfill our dreams financially thru the jobs we have and resilence in living the dreams – lots of distractions).
    It is a dead-lock kind of and we dont know how to forge ahead.
    Please do u have some advice to ease these?

  4. Hi Darren, it is a wonderful post. I just saw the video of this post in the keynote you had delivered at the Experts Industry Association. I had sent an sms to the number given for the slides which I am yet to received. Do update. Like always, wonderful content from your end. And yes, since I agree with you that marketing is the #1 key to sales, what is your 5-3-1- suggestion for marketing.

    Looking forward for your reply.

    Be Healthier and Happier. Become Empowered and Enriched.

    Dr Maharaja SivaSubramanian N
    Holistic Healthcare Consultant and Peak Performance Coach

  5. Its true that best marketing (selling our ideas) is the vital. During my earlier employment, we used to find though one of our branded products is superior in quality wise to our competitors’ the volumes are always less compared to our competitor, which ultimately bringing down the margins and pressure on Production and R&D to bring down the cost of production. Though retired, I love to go through your newsletters and valuable information.


  6. Hello Darrin. The comments are awe inspiring. I agree that without product what else is there. Plus, look at technology today, this could not have happened at such an increased pace if it wasn’t for product (ie:, microsoft). Thank you for the knowledge and belief.

  7. I love this issue, I love you, and I also love Seth Godin!! Talk about a winning combination!!

    Thanks for constantly being a ROCK STAR DH! You make the world a better place!

  8. This is an awesome post, Darren. Steve Jobs was truly a master at his craft and we’ll miss him. Looking forward to reading the February issue of Success Magazine. Make it a better than terrific day!


  9. @Darren Hardy, I am working to organize a seminar targeting safety professionals specifically. There is no such kind of event where I live and there are many safety professionals who want to learn better ways to manage their safety culture and programs. So I am going to create a quality event for people to receive such training.

  10. Hey Darren – I’ve been a fan for a long time and finally took the plunge and ordered the digital version of Success magazine. I already own The Compound Effect and have read it several times now. Anyway, after I ordered, the ‘thank you’ page said ‘please allow 4 to 6 weeks for first issue delivery’. Is that right or is it just that you don’t have a specific thank you page for the digital edition? I assumed it would be available online and that I would have access fairly soon.

    Also – the videos on your ‘Designing the Best 10 Years of Your Life’ blog series that you did in 2010 don’t display any more. I had the video where you explain the importance of ‘Why’ (i.e. walk across this plank for $20) bookmarked and used to go back to it from time to time. I wonder if that could be fixed or if you could put those videos up on YouTube?

    [DARREN HARDY] Gary, the complete Designing the Best 10 Years of Your Life program was closed to the public as of March 2010 and is now available, completely refreshed and revised as well as packaged in a leather cover with an annual Achievement Management System… and a 4-CD training program included, as Living Your Best Year Ever available here:

  11. Love your work however I’ve given up purchasing Success magazine … I live in Australia
    The CD is DRM locked to the USA and ends up frustrating the heck out me
    Read the mag and want to access the CD … nope not gonna happen
    Surely if you are exporting magazines world wide they can be DRM free?
    Just saying …

  12. Darren
    I was thinking marketing.
    Mine strategy is to find out what your customer
    Wants and give it to them. That easy too easy who can mess that up
    Ha haaa right

  13. It’s true that the greatest product in the world can’t sell until people know about it! There is a lot of white noise out there drowning out your product’s voice, good marketing is essential to getting heard. [So…..check out my link! 😉 ! ]

  14. Darren,
    I find that persistance and follow through are the biggest factors when you start a marketing campaign. You need to carry that message through to the next phase of your marketing plan. Added to that, your customers need to know you care enough to continue marketing to them because you care about their business not just getting their business.
    I read your magazine every month and listen to your CD everytime I am out doing sales calls. The benefits I have received are amazing. Thank you!

  15. I run a safety products and safety consultation business. When I came on board one of the things I realized right away was the need for better marketing. So I did two things.

    1. I invested in a good website to feature our products on, as well as some SEO. And…
    2. Invested in learning about video.

    Video has been FAR more effective then any flyer, newletter, blog post, or email I have ever sent out. Now trust me I am still learning how to do this. I spend time writing out what I am going to say and work on the editing. But with each video I get better and better!

  16. Thanks Darren, will definitely pick up a copy of this issue.

    I just finished reading Steve Jobs Biography, couldn’t put it down! Brilliant marketer. I’ve been in marketing for 15 years now and what really hit home for me about Jobs is when he said part of Apple’s success was knowing what the customers wanted before they knew themselves.

    To have that level of insight into your target market and the instinctive creative mind that Jobs had is a wonderful asset in any marketing role.

    Keep up the great work.

  17. Darren, love your great book,the COMPOUND EFFECT!!

    keeping track of my spending was a real eye opener.

    Thank You!!

  18. Just attended a conference where the keynote speaker talked about creating one’s destiny, and his one quote “I will do today what other won’t, so I will have tomorrow what other’s don’t” really reasonated. My husband and I own a small family winery, and we work many long hours on both the production of wine, and managing vineyards, but also marketing our brand, running a busy tasting room, and opening another one on the ranch in 2012. Darren’s Compound Effect book has had a huge impact on us, and while we work very hard, we have tried to concentrate on what’s important. During today’s seminar, the speaker asked if anyone had worked on their 2012 goals, with detailed steps to accomplish them, and I was the only person out of 100 who raised their hand. Amazing…and at the end, three ladies sitting next to me said, “well, he (the speaker) is lucky that he can travel and work on big marathons and goals, but we have to go to work – 9-5 every day.: I looked at them and said, “if that’s something that you want, then just starting planning now” and they looked at me as if I had two heads. Thanks Darren for good words of wisdom for “dreamers” like us…people tell us that we are living our dream (wine and horss) and we are…but it takes a lot of planning, goal setting, and darn hard work!
    Tammy Rimes – Hacienda de las Rosas Winery

  19. What are some of the most clever marketing ideas you have seen or deployed yourself?

    Darren, speaking from my 28 years of being in business (starting from the basement with $2000 to combined total revenues of 1 billion almost 29 years later), We empower our team to study our client’s needs daily and consistently deliver solutions that support the success of their business. The result= client succeeds and they keep coming back due to a positive experience. On average 65%+ of our business is repeat over the 28 years. Really, I believe we need to earn our client’s trust daily and be consistent with delivery positive solutions to win them over the long haul.

    Happy New year!

  20. I have read the Compound Effect, listened to the dvds….truly inspiring Darren. When my 31 year old came home for Thanksgiving I told him about you, Success, and TCE. Then I asked him if he would like to take 10 minutes and watch Tavis Smiley’s interview of you on his PBS show. Well , low and behold, he listened to the interview, then asked if he coud borrow my copy. I was very surprised…he never reads…. have we taken action yet and truly started compounding? Well…we are working on it. Shawn Achor has taught me the Zorro method, and I actually started cleaning my highly disorganized office…thanks to you and the great teaching Success CDs. BTW, when are you going to offer rewards for pushing Success?… I tell everyone that will listen…it is by far the best magazine on the market. can’t wait for the next issue. Danny

  21. Darren, reading the intro to this, I found myself saying, “please don’t be marketing, please don’t be marketing..” Obviously a weaker spot for me. My intention for 2012 is to STICK to a plan instead of jumping into a new one each time I get lured in a new direction. Love your magazine!

    Also, keep featuring well known people that have had a less than ideal start out in life. I teach mindset with meditation to some high schoolers and every month I read to them who you feature. It is amazingly cool to read to them about big hitters like Tyler Perry and George Lopez saying meditation is a part of their life. Here’s to an amazing 2012!

  22. The most clever are the ones that involve humour.It seems to take the edge off the hard sell and makes people pay more attention as they will watch or read to the end.Examples could be some of the Bud light commercials,Geico ads,etc. The ones promising something free or 2 for the price of one at the end seem to work as well,although personally I am always a little suspicious of those (hidden costs,exhorbitant shipping amounts,etc.)They have to grab your attention A.S.A.P. to hold your attention.

  23. I find that mindset can make a skillful person look like an amateur and an ignorant thrive in the most competitive of environments.
    A tiny shift in our self-image can mean huge financial, emotional, spiritual profits!

    If someone is looking for gigantic leaps I would put all my eggs in one basket (A. Carnegie style) and that is self-image.

    Agree with me or not… have an OUTSTANDING 2012!!

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