Small Business Marketing — Gangnam Style!

You should be curious about the first video to break the 1 billion views mark on YouTube. When it does it in five months, you should dig to find something to learn.  Okay, so ‘you’re welcome,’ because I’m about to do it for you.

The video I’m talking about is Gangnam Style by Psy. Psy was, and I emphasize was, a middle-of-the-road pop singer in North Korea. Now he has the most popular video ever on YouTube, was mentioned in Google’s Annual Report, has made $8 million and counting JUST from YouTube ad revenue (I link to his video at the bottom of this post) and basically, he can do just about anything he wants to do.  Talk about the perfect storybook viral success story, this is it.

But forget about the video for a minute.  Really, the video is less important that what it teaches. Let’s focus on what we can learn. You’re here to grow your small business, not become a pop star. What I believe is unique and interesting about this video (from the standpoint of what YOU can learn):

It’s authentic
He did it for himself and obviously had fun doing it
He “set it free”

The first two are actually parts of the same thing. Think about the times you experienced a product or service that was created by what I call an artist. Whether it’s a restaurant or wholesaler or clothing store or software company or whatever, there’s a difference between the customer experience delivered by someone who is performing to their own standards and business ethics, and someone who’s doing it because they think it’s a good business opportunity. This is what creates authenticity, and authenticity gets people’s attention and attracts them to you.  Plus, it’s just plain old more fun to do something to your own standards.

Back to the video for just a moment.  After he created the video he “set it free.”  If you have something new or unique, it’s better to spend less time worrying about protecting it and more time worrying about perfecting it because the more people start to copy you, the more successful you will become.

Now here’s the really important thing I have to say about Gangnam Style small business marketing.

The issue I see that holds more small business owners back is not a lack of authenticity, it’s a lack of communicating and demonstrating that authenticity. In other words, you may be doing the best job at creating a customer experience and building value around what you sell, but your marketing may make it seem unremarkable, or “Just like everybody else.”

So, how to solve this: Don’t cede control of your marketing to anyone.

YOUR marketing needs to reflect YOUR voice. This doesn’t mean you should not use an outside resource (especially a marketing consultant!) to improve your marketing. It means you can’t cede control to that outside resource. YOU are responsible. Even though you may not be a marketer, you know what resonates with you. You know if something is an authentic representation of who you are. Don’t let somebody create “great marketing copy” that doesn’t truly represent who you are.

Enjoy. . .it’s silly, almost a parody of itself (and the music videos of the past), but at a billion+ views, you gotta pay attention!!


Meeting Hamilton was a transformative experience for our firm. We were referred to him by another marketing consultant and we’ve never looked back. Hamilton is a quick study and “got” what we were about in record time. He zeroed in on what set us apart from the rest and helped us capitalize on that. He’s helped us grow during “normal” times and survive the tough. Hamilton strikes a perfect balance between helping us realize our ideas and bringing all-new ideas to the table. I trust him completely. He listens deeply and his resulting recommendations are like gold to us.

Dallas Porter-Stowe, Phoenix, AZ