I disagree. If you are funny or talented enough and you put yourself out there, the marketing will come to you claiming that you need them to get started. Maybe it used to be true that you needed heavy promotion through television, but I don't know if it is anymore. Things are changing, and for the better IMO.
I think the success of this experiement proves that you DON'T necessarily need all that marketing cash. You DON'T need to have every one of your customers exposed to 12 ads to ensure they see a video, not when the Internet is your word-of-mouth. The cost of marketing has been over-inflated by the assumption that box office / DVD success is the only valid success.
If you don't use the big Marketing Machines to promote your movie, maybe you won't make a hojillion dollars at the box office, but you know what? I don't watch that many things at the movies anymore - it's too expensive, inconvenient, and often a poor experience when compared to viewing in a home theater setup. The relative "success" of a movie puts too much emphasis on this overpriced and outdated mode of distribution. There's a reason why big screen-warping action blockbusters make that box office bank - they are the only movies really enhanced by being 3 stories tall and louder. And I'd be willing to bet that the long-run digital/DVD revenue for some of the high-quality but low-marketed movies more than made up for a shoddy box office performance.
With regards to home video, I can't exactly justify $20 or more to buy a movie or video to own that I will only watch once. Times are hard, bills are more important than entertainment, and I'm much more willing to wait than I ever used to be for something to come down to a reasonable price, regardless of the distribution method. I just don't see the point in buying anything I won't watch multiple times. Rental, sure. Digital rental via subscription (netflix, hulu) definitely. Bring the price down to a level that doesn't assume I will watch it 20-30 times over its life and we can talk. And I've digitally rented TONS of movies or DVDs that I never saw a single commercial for just because a peer recommended it. On the Internet.
When you add in his honest appeal to human decency and the attractiveness of paying an extremely talented artist directly instead of a media conglomerate, I was sold. A fair price didn't hurt either.