Connect with us


    How Does Tesla’s $0 Marketing Approach Contribute To Their Brilliant Sales?

    This is just my personal opinion, not a scientific study.

    Image | Wikimedia Commons

    A few days ago, I discussed with a Dealer Principal of a German car company in Malaysia. Interestingly, he was my junior during my tenure at Proton. Now, he oversees one of the German car companies in Malaysia. During our conversation, I shared with him my articles published in “300th”. He suggested that I write about “Zero Marketing by Elon Musk”. I informed him that I had read about this topic and will try to share it in this article.

    This is just my personal opinion, not a scientific study. From the article, case study, and approach I read, as well from the observation I did, these are the conclusion I come up with.

    1. “Elon Musk” himself is a product on its own
    2. “Elon Musk” himself is one of the marketing tools
    3. Everything he says, projects he announces, and the way he reflects on issues and things become indirect promotions and marketing for himself and his products
    4. Elon Musk’s charisma or peculiar character also becomes a talking point
    5. Therefore, in my opinion, people see Tesla as having zero marketing, but in reality, Elon Musk has indoctrinated the whole journey starting from the development process, R&D, and so on. It is a marketing journey.
    6. Many people think that Elon does not have proper marketing launches, roadshows, or promotions. But in reality, the best marketing is word of mouth. So when he has achieved the ultimate marketing, which is word of mouth, there is no need for structured launches, structured PR, and so on, like normal car companies. Elon’s concept is product-driven, and he “hates” marketing.”

    Tesla is known for its unconventional marketing approach, which relies heavily on word-of-mouth, social media, and experiential marketing. This has led some to suggest that Tesla has essentially achieved “zero marketing cost” – meaning that the company spends very little on traditional advertising and marketing channels, yet still manages to generate significant awareness and demand for its products.

    Factors contributed to Tesla’s ability to keep marketing costs low

    There are five of them.

    1. Buzz and Word-of-Mouth. Tesla has built a passionate and loyal customer base that is eager to spread the word about the brand. Tesla owners are often enthusiastic advocates for the company, and their positive experiences with the brand generate significant buzz and word-of-mouth recommendations.
    2. Social Media. Tesla has effectively used social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, to engage with its audience and promote its products. The company’s founder, Elon Musk, is an active and sometimes controversial presence on social media, which has helped to create a sense of authenticity and transparency around the brand.
    3. Experiential Marketing. Tesla has prioritized offering customers an immersive and memorable experience when they interact with the brand. This includes allowing potential customers to test drive its vehicles, opening flagship stores in high-traffic locations, and creating special events and experiences for owners.
    4. Product Differentiation. Tesla’s products are differentiated from other electric vehicles and conventional cars, which has helped to set the brand apart and generate interest from consumers who are looking for something new and innovative.
    5. Cost Savings. By eschewing traditional advertising channels, Tesla can save significant amounts of money on marketing and advertising expenses. This allows the company to invest more in research and development, and to offer competitive pricing for its products.

    And the execution of the above factors

    Tesla is practising these really well.

    1. Test Drives. Tesla encourages potential customers to take a test drive of its vehicles, which can be done by visiting a Tesla showroom or scheduling a test drive online. This allows customers to experience the technology and performance of Tesla’s electric vehicles firsthand, which can help to generate positive word-of-mouth and encourage others to consider purchasing a Tesla vehicle.
    2. Social Media. Tesla has effectively used social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, to engage with its audience and promote its products. For example, Elon Musk has tweeted about new products or features in development, which generates excitement among his followers and creates a sense of exclusivity around Tesla’s offerings.
    3. Owner Referral Program. Tesla has a referral program that rewards owners who refer new customers to the company. This helps to incentivize owners to promote Tesla’s products to their friends and family, generating positive word-of-mouth and brand advocacy.
    4. Flagship Stores. Tesla has opened flagship stores in high-traffic locations, such as shopping malls and downtown areas, which allows potential customers to see Tesla’s products up close and interact with knowledgeable staff members. These stores are designed to be interactive and engaging, with features like touchscreens and car configurators that allow customers to customize their vehicles.
    5. Product Launches. Tesla has generated significant buzz and media coverage around new product launches, such as the unveiling of the Cybertruck in 2019. These events are often highly anticipated and generate significant interest from customers and media outlets, which helps to build excitement around the brand and its products.

    Lessons to from Tesla’s zero-cost marketing strategy

    In most cases, a customer’s relationship with a business is almost entirely transactional. However, Tesla and its customers are not subject to that. Similarly, as Tesla is completely putting resources into making the best electric vehicles on earth, Tesla proprietors are putting resources into the progress of the organization.

    The people who make up Tesla’s target market are swayed by the mission of the company and truly believe that Tesla is capable of the best. In fact, in less than two decades, it has grown to be the most valuable automaker in the United States, one of the most sought-after automakers, and has a huge following. Recent statistics indicate:

    • Tesla positioned fourth among the quickest-developing brands overall in 2022.
    • Tesla’s income for the year finishing September 30, 2022, was $74.863 billion.
    • Roughly 254,700 Tesla vehicles were conveyed to customers in the second quarter of 2022.

    Do Tesla Engines have an incredible promoting division? Neither a marketing team nor a chief marketing officer (CMO) exists. Additionally, Tesla’s publicizing financial plan on spending money on marketing is zero.

    Image | Wikimedia Commons

    Examples to gain from Tesla’s marking methodology

    For a restricted marketing budget plan, you should have areas of strength for delivering an exceptional client experience. Create compelling referral programs to facilitate word-of-mouth marketing. Instead of relying too much on paid advertising campaigns, you should help the leadership of your company make use of their social media influence and present the company brand as a genuine brand with a sense of context to attract people.

    Additionally, you should have a compelling vision and mission statement that you can incorporate into all of your digital advertising and marketing efforts. After the sale is over, provide outstanding customer service, be open about your issues, and be brave enough to produce controversial content. Next, keep your company’s message consistent throughout, inform your audience of all updates, and respond to as many followers as you can.

    Last but not least, if you want to create a holistic brand, go beyond simply offering direct sales of your goods or services and consider contributing to a cause or doing something for the benefit of the general public. Also, don’t worry about your rivals’ success; instead, focus on becoming the best in your field and achieving your business’s long-term goals and vision.

    Presently, to plunge further into these places, the following are various examples we can gain from the evident advertising methodology of Tesla:

    1. Be transparent. Don’t be afraid to be a little controversial, focus your efforts online, allow self-service options, have consistent company messaging, keep your audience in the know, generate brand exposure through multiple paths, and embrace the competition. Let’s get started. Don’t rely on paid advertising. Instead, use your CEO’s social media influence. Be as authentic (and fun) as you can. Champion your mission and vision in all marketing efforts.
    • Create the Best Possible Customer Experience. Tesla’s focus on providing the best possible customer experience is one of the main reasons for the company’s success. When you go to a car dealership, you usually have to deal with a con artist who wants to make as much money as possible off of your purchase. You haggle over the price, test drive the car, and talk about numbers; overall, it takes a long time and is not very pleasant.

     There are no retail dealerships there, so you won’t have to deal with pushy salespeople. All data is advantageously made accessible on their site, you request and arrange your vehicle on the web, and timetable the pickup. The final price is what is listed. The whole car buying process goes smoothly and quickly.

    No big surprise Tesla has the most elevated client steadfastness of all vehicle brands with a general fulfilment rating of 90%. You will quickly realize that Tesla is unlike any other brand. An excellent car buying experience is made possible by the company’s control over the entire journey—from the initial test drive to subsequent maintenance—and its lack of sales pressure.

    An excellent experience creates a sense of exclusivity and encourages you to promote the business, which brings us to the following point:

    Create a solid referral program

    People place a higher value on recommendations from family and friends than they do on advertisements for a brand. That is, the Tesla branding strategy makes good use of word-of-mouth marketing, which is one of the most successful forms of advertising. As a result, Tesla has always had a solid referral program that encourages customers to tell others about their positive experiences with the company and its products. If you haven’t already, think about creating a fun referral program for your business that encourages customers to tell their friends and family about it.

    Try not to depend on paid promoting

    Whether you’re looking at web-based entertainment or cruising along the thruway, promotions are a disturbance you can’t get away from. Aside from individuals in the showcasing and promoting industry, there may just be a small bunch of individuals in the world who appreciate promotions. To put it another way, ads detest nearly everyone. But it appears to be a need for organizations to advance their items. Consistently, in the car business alone, billions of dollars are spent on promoting alone. Yet, Tesla burns through $0 on promotions.

    Instead, they concentrate on creating an experience for customers that automatically convert them into fans. Furthermore, additionally on building energizing items that you can’t resist the urge to ache for. In essence, Tesla shapes its brand through innovation and simple minimalism. It distinguishes itself from the competition by carrying out things differently without sacrificing quality.

    This does not mean that you should completely disregard paid advertising; rather, the amount you spend on ads should be minimal. Your goal should be to give your customers an amazing experience and to make the best products for your market that, with the help of content marketing, sell themselves. Additionally, sincere tweets from your company’s CEO probably have a much higher value than 30-second paid YouTube ads, which brings us to the following point.

    Utilize your CEO’s social media influence

    Tesla Motors would not be where it is today without the influence of Elon Musk, the company’s charismatic and rather bold CEO. When it comes to using social media to its full potential, CEOs typically have some reservations. Also, that is very reasonable – they must be incredibly careful about the thing they’re posting similar to the essence of the organization, as it were. A single erroneous post can seriously harm the brand’s image and even lead to lawsuits.

    You could say that his influence on social media has been more important to Tesla’s success than any money spent on marketing. It would be an understatement to t a million followers.

    Here are some examples of Elon Musk’s tweets indirectly promoting the Tesla brand. I take these tweets as PR activities and Press releases for TESLA. Brilliant move. Very indirect but impactful.

    On April 19, 2021, Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than the average vehicle.” This tweet indirectly promotes the safety features of Tesla’s Autopilot technology, which helps to differentiate Tesla from other automakers and reinforces the company’s reputation for innovation and safety.

    On February 16, 2021, Elon Musk tweeted: “I use the Full Self-Driving beta almost every day. It is getting mature and closer to release. Hoping to roll out widely in the US by end of the year.” This tweet indirectly promotes Tesla’s Full Self-Driving technology, which is a highly anticipated feature that sets Tesla apart from other automakers.

    Tweeting About New Product Releases: Elon Musk frequently uses Twitter to announce new products or features that Tesla is working on. For example, in January 2021, he tweeted about the development of a new electric semi-truck, which generated significant media coverage and excitement among Tesla fans.

    Responding to Customer Feedback: Elon Musk often responds directly to customers on Twitter, addressing their concerns or feedback about Tesla’s products. By doing so, he demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction and helps to build a positive reputation for the brand.

    Tweeting About Sustainability and Environmental Issues: Tesla’s electric vehicles are often seen as a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly option compared to traditional gas-powered vehicles. Elon Musk frequently tweets about sustainability and environmental issues, highlighting Tesla’s commitment to these causes and indirectly promoting the brand as a solution to these problems.

    Sharing Positive News and Reviews: Elon Musk frequently shares positive news and reviews about Tesla’s products on Twitter, retweeting articles or customer testimonials that highlight the quality and performance of Tesla’s electric vehicles. This helps to build buzz and excitement around the brand and generates positive word-of-mouth among his followers.

    Teasing New Products or Features: Elon Musk is known for teasing new products or features that Tesla is working on, which generates excitement and anticipation among his followers. For example, in 2017, he tweeted a teaser image of a Tesla semi-truck ahead of its official unveiling, generating significant media coverage and buzz around the product.

    Overall, Elon Musk’s tweets indirectly promote Tesla by building excitement and anticipation around new products and features, addressing customer feedback and concerns, and highlighting the brand’s commitment to sustainability and environmental issues.

    Be as authentic (and fun) as you can

    The Tesla branding strategy is blatantly authentic, continuing in the same vein of authenticity. While the CEO posts memes on Twitter, they enhance their vehicles with features like “fart noises.” At the same time, they employ the best engineers to construct vehicles that assist in addressing the fossil fuel crisis.

    They seem, by all accounts, to be casual and carefree while additionally being perhaps the most aggressive brand on earth. Simply put, you can use Tesla’s branding strategy, which is more “human,” relatable, and fun, for your branding.

    Embrace your mission and vision in all marketing activities

    As a result, every brand and business needs a compelling vision statement. During testing, it not only helps the company move forward, but when used strategically, it can also greatly support all marketing efforts.

    Now, Tesla’s vision statement is by far the strongest:

    “To make the most convincing vehicle organization of the 21st hundred years by driving the world’s change to electric vehicles.”

    Additionally, “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy” is Tesla’s mission.

    It is clear to customers that Tesla Motors does more than just sell cars. The majority of businesses cannot match this level of ambition in their mission and vision statements; however, you can certainly follow the strategy of using your statement to establish a devoted following for your brand.

    The ones that stand out are those that completely support their beliefs and believe in what they sell. You should incorporate your company’s clear vision into every piece of marketing material if it resonates with the target audience. This is how you will build a devoted fan base and, by extension, a devoted customer base.

    Provide outstanding customer support after the purchase

    The customer experience continues after the purchase. After a purchase, customers frequently interact with your product, which influences their perceptions of the business and its services.

    By considering the entire journey, Tesla puts its customers in their shoes. For example, Tesla fabricated an enormous organization of supercharging stations across the US and Europe to make it helpful for clients to charge their vehicles moving. The example here is that organizations that consider post-buy client needs are the ones that success enormous over the long haul.

    Be transparent

    It is very important to be completely honest and transparent with your customers. If you’re working to fix a problem that will make customers unhappy, it’s better to be open about it than to keep it a secret. Your customers will appreciate it.

    For instance, manufacturing issues discouraged many Tesla Model 3 pre-ordered customers from waiting for their deliveries. Soon, Model 3 backlogs at assembly plants left customers puzzled as to why they hadn’t received their cars.

    Rather than concealing the issue, Tesla was real about its difficulties. Elon Musk personally responded to several customers who tweeted at the company, providing sincere updates on the situation.


    To summarize, customers are more willing to endure delays and issues if they are aware of what is taking place behind the scenes. Therefore, transparency ought to be an essential part of your digital strategy.

    Don’t be afraid to be a little controversial

    Authenticity is the best way to connect with your audience in the right way, and controversy is the best way to reach more people. And Tesla, led by Musk as CEO, excels at this task. He does things like smoke marijuana with Joe Rogan, sells flamethrowers for fun, and sends a Tesla into space—all of which are controversial and completely grab your attention until a new product is introduced.

    Concentrate on the internet

    The modern customer begins their buying journey online. Therefore, potential customers get their first impression of the brand from the internet. With millions of social media followers and numerous press mentions, Tesla stands out thanks to its strong online presence. Developing a brand that stands head and shoulders above the competition relies heavily on this social proof.

    In addition, customers are empowered by a seamless digital experience and can conveniently access all information on their website. They are given the information they need to make their own decisions rather than being coerced into making a purchase, which brings us to the next point… Allow Options for Self-Service Modern customers are impatient. They don’t want to wait for brands to contact them. They want to be able to get answers to any questions they have right away.

    Roadster in space | Wikimedia Commons

    Tesla perceives this reality quite well. As a result, prospective customers who have taken a test drive of a vehicle are provided with a link through which they can customize their vehicle and determine its precise pricing. Tesla gives customers the freedom to make their own decisions rather than wasting customers’ time with unnecessary sales pitches. Customers appreciate this, with 73% stating that valuing customers’ time is the most important thing businesses can do to provide excellent service.

    Keep your audience informed

    Tesla and Elon Musk frequently communicate with their followers via Twitter or the company blog. Their audience is aware of where to find the most recent information in this manner. The vast majority of the organization’s declarations are made nonchalantly in light of Twitter fans.

    This teaches you to communicate openly and continuously with your audience. Likewise, answering remarks and grievances on time via web-based entertainment is significant to building a reliable fan base.

    Create brand exposure through a variety of channels

    What Other Offerings Do You Have Aside From Your Core Products or Services? Is it true that you are doing anything fascinating or helping the world? In some cases, standing apart from your opposition doesn’t need to simply be about your business contributions, but your association with other significant things on the planet.

    Supporting a reason, raising assets to help somebody out of luck, and being available on public occasions likewise get individuals to look at your business because of reasons other than only the items or administrations you offer. Instead of being just a business trying to sell as much as possible, you’ll be seen as a friend by everyone.

    Simply put, each of these activities raises awareness of the brand, which ultimately results in increased sales over time. If you didn’t already know, Elon Musk famously open-sourced all of Tesla’s patents in good faith and praised Tesla’s rivals for their advances in electric vehicle technology.

    The company simply concluded that considering other businesses as competitors were “silly” after considering them as such for roughly a decade. Since their company’s goal is to speed up the world’s transition to sustainable energy, they thought it would be best if other businesses used their ideas as long as they contributed to the process.

    This shows Tesla’s capacity to embrace rivalry. It demonstrates that as opposed to agonizing over your rivals’ prosperity, your center ought to be to turn into the best at what you do while understanding your organization’s central goal – which, normally, is intended to ultimately benefit your interest group.

    In the end, people would appreciate that and choose your brand over those of your rivals.

    Tesla’s marketing strategy is known for being unique and innovative.


    Let’s look at some key takeaways that our companies can learn from Tesla’s marketing approach:

    1. Develop a strong brand identity. Tesla has created a strong brand identity around its products and services. The company’s brand stands for innovation, sustainability, and cutting-edge technology. Other companies can learn from Tesla’s approach by creating a strong brand identity that resonates with their target audience.
    2. Leverage digital channels. Tesla has been very effective in leveraging digital channels such as social media, online advertising, and content marketing to reach their target audience. Other companies can learn from Tesla by developing a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that includes social media, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and email marketing.
    3. Create a unique customer experience. Tesla has created a unique customer experience that sets it apart from other car manufacturers. The company’s stores are designed to provide a high-end retail experience, and its vehicles come with advanced features that are not available in traditional cars. Other companies can learn from Tesla by focusing on creating a unique and memorable customer experience that sets them apart from their competitors.
    4. Focus on product quality. Tesla’s success is largely due to its focus on product quality. The company’s vehicles are known for their advanced features, long battery life, and superior performance. Other companies can learn from Tesla by focusing on product quality and investing in research and development to create innovative and high-quality products.
    5. Embrace a mission-driven approach. Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. This mission is at the core of everything the company does, from its product design to its marketing campaigns. Other companies can learn from Tesla by embracing a mission-driven approach and aligning their business goals with a larger purpose that resonates with their customers.

    Elon Musk is known for being a very hands-on CEO who is actively involved in promoting and marketing Tesla’s products. Here are some key lessons that you as CEOs, founders or Head of Marketing can learn from Elon Musk when it comes to promoting their products:

    1. Be passionate about your products. Elon Musk is known for his passion for electric cars and sustainable energy. As a CEO, it’s important to be passionate about your products and to believe in their potential to make a difference in the world. When you are genuinely excited about your products, it’s easier to communicate that enthusiasm to your customers and stakeholders.
    2. Use social media effectively. Elon Musk is very active on social media, particularly on Twitter, where he has millions of followers. He uses social media to engage with his followers, share updates on Tesla’s products, and respond to customer feedback. As a CEO, it’s important to use social media effectively to connect with your audience and promote your products.
    3. Be a thought leader in your industry. Elon Musk is widely regarded as a thought leader in the automotive and renewable energy industries. He is constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and challenging the status quo. As a CEO, it’s important to be a thought leader in your industry and to use your platform to drive innovation and change.
    4. Lead by example. Elon Musk leads by example when it comes to promoting Tesla’s products. He is often the first to try out new features and technologies, and he is always willing to put himself out there to promote the company’s products. As a CEO, it’s important to lead by example and to show your customers and employees that you believe in your products and are willing to stand behind them.
    5. Engage with your customers. Elon Musk is known for his willingness to engage with customers directly, whether it’s responding to their tweets or hosting Q&A sessions on social media. As a CEO, it’s important to engage with your customers and to listen to their feedback. This can help you to understand their needs and preferences and to develop products that meet their expectations.

    One of the key aspects of Elon Musk’s marketing strategy is his focus on promoting his products through thought leadership and social media engagement. He uses his platform to share his vision for the future and to engage with customers and stakeholders in a direct and personal way.

    Another important aspect of Elon Musk’s marketing approach is his focus on product quality and innovation. He is constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and developing new products and technologies that are ahead of their time.

    Overall, Elon Musk’s marketing strategy is based on a combination of passion, innovation, and direct engagement with customers. He has been successful in building a loyal following around his companies and creating a strong brand identity that resonates with his target audience. CEOs and marketers can learn a lot from Elon Musk’s approach to marketing and use some of these lessons to promote their own products and services.

    Written By
    261 Subscribers

    Your Email Address

    An entrepreneur, business coach, rally, and race driver with a passion for entrepreneurs and talent development. A certified business & leadership coach, a part-time motoring journalist, and an automotive TV host.He served in various automotive companies, including PROTON, DRB-HICOM, General Motors, Kleemann, and KIA; gained experience in branding and international sales & marketing while serving in Rayong Thailand, Copenhagen Denmark, Singapore, Europe, and the ASEAN markets.He provides Business & Leadership Coaching, Corporate Training, Advanced & Performance Driving Classes, and Talents Development programs. You can email him via the given link.Currently a Board of Director of KEJORA Holdings and a Director at TIC (TAJ International College) and he sits on board a few other SMEs as a Corporate Advisor.

    Create A Channel Today