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Marketing Lessons from GOLD RUSH

I, like many wives across America, have to suffer through watching one of Cable’s top TV shows, Gold Rush. If you have not seen the show, it is a reality TV show that tracks (now) 3 gold mining camps in Alaska as they attempt to achieve the wild west dream of striking it rich through gold.

The main protagonist camp the show follows (the Hoffmans) is a group of bumbling average Joes who have no idea what they’re doing. As a result it’s fairly painful watching them fail. That said, I realized there are some key fundamentals you could apply to marketing or every day business.


If these guys have anything in excess, it’s faith. Faith in the fact that there will be gold in the ground, faith in themselves, faith that what they’re doing is the right thing. Even if it’s unfounded, they have faith.

We all have to have faith in ourselves, in our work and that someone’s looking out for us, otherwise it’s not worth doing.


Led by faith, these idiots never give up. Some days when their old equipment breaks for the umpteenth time they are tempted to quit, but they always try, try again. That’s why the show is still on- their perseverance is endearing and a worthy trait to embrace.

Market Research

Many of us were scratching our heads when we watched Todd’s crew establish their new Yukon mine and just guess at where the gold might be and start clearing. Huh? Every company or individual should always verify there’s a market before jumping in headfirst. In this case, they were chastised by a mining expert for not drilling to make sure there was even gold in the paydirt they were clearing.

In every day business, you want to make sure consumers 1) want your product, 2) will pay for your product and 3) there are enough people who will pay for your product to make it worthwhile. Marketing staff (or inventors) should always do the due diligence and market research on the front end to validate demand. This lesson is elementary: If there ain’t gold, don’t mine.

Cooperation & Communication

A final lesson to be learned from Gold Rush is that like any hard endeavor, it takes a team to accomplish anything worthwhile. That takes a lot of communication, cooperation and collective buy-in to the cause. If everyone isn’t on board, you’ll have people bailing out and it will make your job that much harder. Many saw Dakota Fred demean his hard working son Dustin, or the mechanic get distracted by his love life which puts unsustainable pressure on the other teammates. Make sure you have an environment that everyone wants to work in, and gauge commitment before you launch into a high-pressure project. One weak link can break the chain.

So I complain about having to see the constant fight, equipment breakdown, lack of gold, but in actuality they bring amusingly delivered messages from which we can all learn. From what unconventional source do you glean business lessons?

Julianne McCollum is the principal of Yellow Duck Marketing. She also rewards her husband’s understanding of her long hours by supporting her husband’s love of reality TV shows like Gold Rush, Top Shot and Sons of Guns.