There’s little debate that Elon Musk is the Tony Stark of our generation. Considering that he is the founder of billion-dollar companies such as PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors, it is natural to wonder how he was able to make his businesses grow so successfully. Elon Musk is not afraid to defy the status quo and has involved himself in many other innovative projects such as solar-powered homes, high-speed public transport, and tunnel boring.
Countless marketing tips and tricks readily available on the internet try to outline how he did it, but it’s useful to separate the wheat from the chaff. Let’s learn from the man himself.
Tesla does not follow the traditional car dealership model. When you want to buy their Model X, you do so online. Cutting out the middleman in this way and accessing its customers directly has saved Tesla a lot of money.
Tesla’s transactions are all conducted on the internet – no dealers, no price negotiations, and no inventory. The cars are built to order and you even have to wait in line – sometimes for years – before you can own one. Tesla’s smart and innovative marketing system has been a game-changer and is redefining the automobile supply chain.
So, no matter what product you sell, it is important to know your customers and position yourself where they can effectively find you – be it on the world wide web or simply in your local mall.
2. Start from the top.
Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, which is why its three-phase marketing strategy to make fully-electric vehicles available to the masses was put into practice.
Tesla perfected and cast electric cars in a new light, making them into premium products that attract early adopters and curious consumers.
Phase 1: Produce a premium and expensive sports car (Tesla Roadster)
Phase 2: Produce a more practical and slightly cheaper family car (Tesla Model S and Model X)
Phase 3: Produce fully-electric vehicles that are available and financially accessible to the masses (Tesla Model 3)
This three-phase model demonstrates how you can start with the most effective product in terms of ROI. You then reinvest those earnings back into creating and developing more affordable goods that are intended to reach and cater to a larger, less exclusive segment.
If you offer the press an interesting story to tell, they’ll give you free publicity. Offering free services for worthy causes, as Elon Musk has done on several occasions, such as creating child-sized submarines, has earned him piles of positive press in the form of articles featuring these events on the web and in print.
You can do the same with your company by participating in worthy causes that help the community. Try to support an organization that aligns with your company’s values and culture. Doing so will allow you to share these experiences through social media and convey the message across to your platform.
This practice effectively hits two birds with one stone – it increases awareness and support for your cause while simultaneously garnering free publicity for your brand and the values your company stands for.
4. Cultivate your following.
Elon Musk has never been afraid to be different. Combined with his approach and engagement with his 29-million-strong audience (and growing) on Twitter, he has created a solid community of followers dedicated to the values upheld by his brand.
This following allows Elon to effectively reach many people without focusing on traditional marketing efforts. Tesla forums have fans who discuss how to market Tesla better. A couple of college grads even made an ad in 2014 for Tesla Motors that cost them $1,500. Even though Tesla didn’t pay for the ad, it landed the pair a meeting with and a post on social media by Elon.
This goes to show that when you engender a positive societal impact and advocate something that people believe in, your customers become your promoters. They will become more than mere consumers, passionately advocating for your cause because they believe that they are part of a breakthrough – a slice of the future.
5. Develop the best quality product.
No matter how much you spend on marketing, if your product does not offer a good solution to a problem, it simply won’t sell. Tesla is successful because it has a relentless focus on building the highest-quality cars possible. The company developed the technology first, making sure that it is not only a new solution but the best alternative to internal combustion engines. And beyond merely making an alternative, Tesla set the goal for themselves to make a great car that can compete with other manufacturers even if the motor is ignored.
The best marketing, after all, is your product itself. If people voluntarily vouch for your product to their family and friends, your product’s perceived value improves dramatically. Word-of-mouth reviews and personal recommendations sell best.
If you’re in a position where you must choose between spending more on marketing or quality, choose quality every time. Continuously improve your product to be the best and the marketing will become progressively easier. Know your position in the market and capitalize on that. Quality outlives trends and leaves a more permanent impression – one that turns consumers into the most effective marketers you’ll ever have.
And perhaps the best marketing tip is to build something that matters to people. Tesla electric cars are, again, game-changers. Advertising efforts can be trivial if the value is apparent.
These are the strategies Elon Musk has been using for years – developing innovative and better solutions for humanity. Because he is arguably the best at what he does, the marketing of his company, his brand, and his products do not come at a high price, and sales don’t take much effort. He effectively found his niche, and then expanded his reach to the masses. He has become an influencer and an active proponent for affecting positive change to the world.
Elon Musk is an innovator and non-conformist, and even his marketing approach does not follow traditional methods and trends. Therefore, like Elon, try to put on your thinking cap and continue coming up with ways to develop a product or service that truly offers a better, if not the best solution for your consumers.