When someone drops the name, “Tesla,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it sleek electric vehicles, green energy, Elon Musk, or maybe even thoughts of outer space? The fact that any of these options would be a reasonable conclusion means one thing: Tesla has a fantastic marketing strategy. There are a few elements to it, but if you’re a business looking to refresh their online presence or a startup looking for different ways to do things — here are a few things you can learn from Tesla’s marketing strategy.
The Marketing Strategy
The first thing to know about Tesla’s marketing strategy is that they don’t put any money into it. It’s been dubbed the USD0 — or Zero Dollar Strategy — and relies mostly on social media and word of mouth. This doesn’t mean Musk hates advertising. In fact, according to Forbes, he may, however, have some disdain towards traditional advertising considering the sheer number of possibilities available to companies in today’s day and age. Forbes even goes so far to warn businesses,
“Focusing solely on traditional advertising in today’s world is a ticket to mediocrity and a sure-fire formula for failure.”
Let’s just say you’re in the right place by looking for alternatives.
Who Are They After?
Tesla knows their market well and implemented a moving strategy as the business progressed. First, they set out to prove that electric cars could compete with the world’s supercars. This was revealed in their publicly available Secret Master Plan. From there, the focus shifted; next, they wanted to make an affordable car. Musk’s recipe is pretty well known, and Venture Beat sums it up eloquently as,
“Build sports car. Use that money to build an affordable car. Use that money to build an even more affordable car. While doing the above, also provide zero-emission electric power generation options.”
So, today’s market is pretty much anyone who cares about the environment and would happily drive an electric, rather than a traditional, vehicle should it fit into their budget. This Tesla has done well, as the brand is now associated with numerous positive values that consumers feel good about.
PS. Do you know who you’re targeting? Check out how to create an audience persona.
What About the 7 P’s of Marketing?
Anyone who has done a bit of marketing has heard of the 7 P’s: product, price, place, promotion, people, process, and physical evidence. Tesla’s marketing places precedence on just 2 of these prudent P’s: place and product.
You may have noticed that Tesla doesn’t work with dealerships. Instead, they have a website and company-owned showrooms or galleries — some of which provide servicing as well. This is strategic for them, as Tesla wants to be in control of the entire customer experience. No middlemen necessary.
The product aspect speaks for itself, especially re: their secret master plan. Make an electric car that is available to everyone. They shifted from an out-of-reach supercar all the way to a reliable, affordable car.
How Do They Do It?
Here are the dirty details you were really looking for. How exactly is Tesla doing what they do? How are they the company with the best organic engagement on social networks without paying for campaigns? Let’s dig in.
Marketing through customer experience
Remember the “place” aspect of their marketing strategy? Here’s how it’s paying off. Because Tesla runs the show from initial inquiry to final purchase, they have managed to simplify the entire customer experience — and consumers love it. Gone are the days of the cringy car salesman. You can build and purchase your vehicle from their website.
They have one other customer experience trick up their sleeves: a referral program. Successful customer referrals resulted in free Supercharging miles so happy customers can “fuel up” on Tesla.
Leveraging Elon Musk and social media
There’s no better way to achieve word of mouth in today’s world than through social media. Luckily for Tesla, they also have a charismatic CEO with a massive following. While you may not have an Elon Musk at your fingertips, it’s helpful to humanize your brand by putting a face to the company and creating engagement through various channels.
When it comes to social media, Tesla — and Musk — are also very authentic and consistent. Posts and messaging match the brand, they’re constantly online on various platforms and channels of exposure, and their mission statement has been replicated through their content: “Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” Through social media, they also manage to engage with the community, lift up their competitors, and dive into various PR opportunities.
If you aren’t sure how to maintain consistency with your social media posts, we’ve got some tips for you!
The last weapon in Tesla’s marketing arsenal is its ability to use cross-promotion. The more talk and promotion you can produce across channels, the better. While you may not be able to launch a Tesla Roadster into space while being piloted by a dummy named Starman, you get the gist. Partnering with other brands to help lift each other up can go a long way. You get more reach, exposure to new audiences, and more resources for your campaigns.
When a company that doesn’t pay for any advertising becomes highly successful, it’s good to take notes and pay attention! As you can tell, a lot of it has to do with leveraging social media. If you’re not sure where to start, our team at Ghostit can help you out! We’re something of experts in the digital marketing realm. Fill out this form to get started!