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What a Scottish Singer Can Teach You About Marketing

With over 93.2 million views (expected to exceed 100 million views Monday) across 650 unique clips means you’ve probably seen or at least heard of the Scottish singer Susan Boyle from Britain’s Got Talent. Her performance is one the biggest viral hits to date. Have you taken the marketing lesson from it?

You can watch her performance on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, check it out because it is amazing.

Now, as marketers we need to take a deeper look here at what’s driven this performance to such record heights.

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Perhaps we need start by looking at who Susan Boyle is…

A story worth sharing

She’s not attractive by most standards. You could even call her homely or frumpy.

She was bullied as a child and at 47 years old has never been kissed.

She’s unemployed and still lives in the house she grew up in. She lived there with her parents both now deceased. Her mom passing away in 2007.

It was her mother who pushed and insisted that Susan enter Britain’s Got Talent. Her mom was confident she’d win but Susan… not so much.

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Finally, she worked up the courage and entered, blessing us all with her voice and silencing the world.

So, here’s the question… would her performance have been as powerful, as moving, as buzz-worthy if her story had been a different one?

What if she came from a privileged background, was swimsuit gorgeous, and was outgoing and charismatic?

I don’t think so. Sure, we’d all appreciate the voice but what’s really driven her performance to insane viral levels is the story that’s connected to it.

Story driven marketing

We’re all driven by story. Story is our most basic form of communicating ideas. We’re attracted to them because they are how we intimately connect with others – we feel an affinity towards their story or are intrigued by what their story might be.

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You have a story. One that’s compelling, too. I guarantee it. And if you’re not sharing your story then you’re neglecting one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal.

What is your story?

Written By

Mark Eckenrode is a Certified Master of Guerrilla Marketing raised on comic books, punk rock, and Pepsi. He's also the chief marketing trainer at HomeStomper where AgentGenius readers can learn unconventional methods for winning with social media.



  1. fred

    April 20, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Blah Blah Blah… Susan sucks, and who’d buy her music? no one!

  2. Mark Eckenrode

    April 20, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    @fred – musical taste noted. now get past that and note the marketing tip which is what this article is really about.

  3. BawldGuy

    April 21, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Susan kinda sorta reminds me of Kate Smith. Kate wasn’t a pinup gal either. All she could do was sing circles around most of her competition. Nobody will buy Susan’s music?

    Gimme a break. With Simon in her marketing corner, and her world class voice, along with her story (See? I get it.), it’s not hard to see a healthy market for her music.

  4. Missy Caulk

    April 24, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I’ll buy her record. I love her story and you are right, it is her story that engaged us, the music made us sit up and listen.

  5. Jim Gatos

    April 26, 2009 at 5:29 am

    Well, I at least am very proud to say that any success I had came to me in spite of my being fat and ugly.. LOL..

    Just kidding.. That really was an amazing voice! She should be making CD’s!


  6. Hollie Steel

    May 24, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Yes there are several things to learn from this event. You have to work with what you have. And the right message can gain powerful traction even when it isn’t the conventional style. You can even take advantage of being unconventional but you have to have something special to make your message shine through.

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