Helmed by the controversial yet undeniably impressive Elon Musk, Tesla is making substantial changes in the vehicle landscape. Taking a pro-environment stance, Tesla is an electronic vehicle manufacturer which is full of bells and whistles, a marketers dream. What Musk and his team have done is cultivate what was expected to occur eventually, however he did it. Musk and Tesla managed to break the mainstream. What contributed for this to happen was it being a strict electronic car company, not just a recognised brand that has added a couple of electronic cars. With the later, you probably wouldn’t even be able to tell easily whether it ran on electricity or petrol.
Being an electronic car manufacturer though is not enough, Musk managed to make electronic cars cool and highly desirable. Their strategy is effective, easily summarised into three phases. Phase 1: release a powerful, expensive sports car. This is flashy, what will interest the richer clientele. Phase 2: release a slightly more practical and more affordable family car. Phase 3: release an affordable electric car for the masses. Take the money made from the previous phases to build cars for even more people. The timing will be perfect as the foundation has already been build and Tesla has been established as desirable, making people desperate to own one. Releasing it early and affordable, if feasible, would not have had the same effect.
Perhaps the most fascinating facet of how they operate is, there appears to be little to no money injected into the marketing. To quote Musk on the Model 3: “We’re not promoting the car.” Seldom does a prominent member of a successful company say something akin to this. Further, Musk says: “If you go to our stores, we don’t even want to talk about it, really, because we want to talk about the thing that we can supply.” Tesla, in short, doesn’t invest in paid advertising because it doesn’t need to. But it isn’t strictly true, Tesla taking the approach of marketing in less obvious ways.
How does Tesla market? Elon Musk behaves is totally calculated and one big advertisement for Tesla. To give an example, him unexpectedly selling 20,000 flamethrowers drives interest towards Tesla. He even made a 10 million profit by selling them. In a slightly more overt market practice, there’s the SpaceX launch where he sent the Tesla Roadster into space. By doing something out of the ordinary, that interests a lot of people and, again, drives a lot of attention to Tesla. It definitely is more impressive than the standard Honda advert.