When I use the words “the next big thing in the world of electric vehicles”, where does your mind jump to? If an image of the tech giant Elon Musk’s Tesla pops in your head, you’re with the rest of us! All this perception of Tesla is created through a marketing strategy with no spending on the marketing budget. Surprised. Lets see how?

Now try to recollect the advertisements, slogans, commercials, or any other promos of Tesla. Have anything? No?

Good, because there aren’t any!

Yet how is it that the brand recall is so favorable to Tesla every time words like – Electric Vehicles, Sustainable Energy, Innovation, (Coolest Car ever! No? Okay) are mentioned. Such is the genius of how Mr. Musk runs his show that reflects in Tesla’s Marketing Strategy. He has made history by creating one of the most popular brands with a $0 marketing budget.

So, what does $0 marketing budget mean?

Imagine marketing a product just over a decade ago. It would mainly consist of print media (magazines, newspapers) or broadcast media (TV, Radio) that would invariably incur a huge expense, right?  But the rapid advancement in technology has propelled the variations in avenues through which a product/service is marketed.

Without incurring a dollar to its name, products are now marketed through Internet and Social Media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. This results in $0 budget marketing. A strong online presence has proven to be a successful equivalent to its competitors’ traditional approach, as shown by Tesla.

What’s so different about Tesla’s Marketing Strategy?

Touted as the most valuable car company in the world, Tesla has earned this position within a short span of 17 years, dethroning the long time champion, Toyota. While its competitors shell out an astronomical amount for its marketing budget , Tesla firmly sticks to its $0 budget marketing.


Time and time again, Mr. Musk has expressed his resistance to mainstream advertising citing it to be waste of resources. He has built the brand Tesla that is worthy of withstanding on its own with right marketing strategy, leaving the reins of marketing to his consumers.

Currently, Elon has one of the strongest online presence compared to his competitors with a huge base of 39M followers on Twitter, making him one of the first CEO influencers of our time. His constant interactions with consumers directly (as opposed to a marketing team handling the account) creates an emotional connection. But what makes him radically different from his competitors?

Elon Musk – the driving force behind it all! Does Tesla really need a marketing budget ?

Elon shares every step of progress made, be it success or failure; he responds to his fans, seeks their feedback, doesn’t shy away from any controversial topics, well, he’s just out there! His streaming tweets might not always give positive results, (remember the one time when he claimed to be taking his company private and had a lawsuit filed? Well, probably, that’s not a good example) but he is undeterred!

Can you think of any other CEO doing this? Forget online presence, can we possibly remember the names of any other Auto Industry’s CEOs for that matter?

elon musk on times cover to show tesla marketing strategy
Source: Time100.time.com -2013

So, what does this all mean for them practically? Whenever there’s a tweet from him on a live stream of a product launch or a prototype release, we, his target audience would ensure that we do everything to popularize it further- tweet it, share it, create memes, blog it ,and rave about it every way possible! And there goes the marketing.

All – free of cost! We choose to be a part of the phenomenon; we take pride in doing so. Elon Musk has built a brand so powerful that we might as well jump in the bandwagon for the fear of being left out!

That’s how Tesla remains one step ahead of the others. Elon clicks with the current generation. He is, after all, a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist! (rings a bell…?)

Read: With Tesla, Elon Musk Isn’t Just making Electric Cars

Mission, Targets, and everything in between!

The brand loyalty of Tesla can’t be attributed just to Elon’s eccentricities though. Tesla’s mission is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” and they strive to do that every way possible.

Now more than ever, there is a pressing need to reverse the negative impact on the environment. Their products – Solar panels, Solar Roof System, Zero-emission transport with their Electric Vehicles(EV),etc. create a sustainable energy eco-system.

Addressing the potential climate disaster and working towards it, genuinely, is a refreshing take from a billion-dollar company. This earns brownie points from the anxious public who are pretty much doomed to face the wrath of climate change by this point.

Source: Startup Division

In October 2017, when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Tesla extended support by offering an alternative source of power for the affected areas. Apart from just Tesla, Elon Musk and his other ventures try to help whenever there is an actual need.

Back in 2018, Elon and his team prepared to save 4 boys stuck in a Thai Cave, immediately jumping into action. Although it didn’t come to fruition, it was widely noted that the tech could be used in any future crisis.

Currently, they’re working to get the approval to enable sensors to detect if a child is left in a hot car for their future models.

Every time Tesla is involved in a humanitarian act, it creates a positive affirmation for its supporters strengthening the notion that they stand for the right thing, thus, gaining loyalty.

Read: Is the rise of Tesla stock price sustainable?

Tesla’s Marketing Strategy of Customer being the King

Apart from the mentioned factors, how does Tesla appeal to its set of customers and earn their trust to come back again? When customers show interest in the purchase, Tesla enables them to directly approach them, deleting the arrangements with traditional car dealerships.

In addition to this, their product can also be customized based on the buyer’s preference. This creates an ease of doing business with Tesla as opposed to what could have been a long, tedious process.

With its primary focus being Customer Experience, Tesla has topped the list of Consumer Reports Owner Satisfaction Survey. Having said this, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s perfect. No. It only means they embrace their flaws and try to improve as they go. Tesla welcomes feedback from its consumers, using them for further improvements. Ultimately, that’s what’s expected from a purchase, isn’t it? Customer Satisfaction.

Source: Tesla Daily

With their unshakable ideology for a better future and their commitment to keeping the customers happy, all led by a mastermind results in the holy trifecta that requires no additional support from marketing (at least in the present climate) to solidify their brand. They can stand tall on their own, carving a new space for themselves that’s hard to compete while others are ready to forgo billions in doing the same!

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Srinidhi Vijayaragavan
Author

I’m a marketing and branding enthusiast, having just kick-started a career in the same. In addition to having an avid interest in reading and writing, I love learning something new every day about anything and everything!

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