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How Elon Musk's Strategy that "Skyrocketed" his Companies

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Written by

Kristian F.

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Published on

Feb 5, 2021

Tesla has recently topped Instagram as the fastest-growing brand in the world.


According to the London-based company "Brand Finance".


This shouldn't be too surprising tho, after all, they positioned themselves well in some of the fastest-growing & most popular industries like electric vehicles, sustainable energy, and even space travel.


And they're being led by an outspoken, media-savvy, polarizing leader, Elon Musk, who is basically a walking and talking marketing machine.



So while their business growth may not be surprising, what is shocking is Elon Musk and other Tesla insiders claim that Tesla does not do advertising, and yet they've still managed to grow 64.9% just in the last year alone.


So how did Elon Musk and Tesla Become the fastest growing brand in the world without spending money on advertising?


Well, the first thing you need to understand when unpacking Elon Musk and Tesla's claim that Tesla does not do advertising is really understanding that advertising does not equal marketing, but rather Advertising is just one small part of marketing.


And in Tesla's case, a very very small (nonexistent) part of marketing.


But that doesn't mean that Tesla doesn't do marketing because they do, and they do a lot of it.

Under the "marketing umbrella", you also have a ton of other things like content marketing, social media marketing, public relations, and many more.


All of these are marketing tools that Tesla uses and all of them cost some kind of time, money, or energy.


For example, when Tesla launched their Falcon Heavy rocket into space they also sent a Tesla roadster along for the ride.



Well, that was marketing! Marketing that just so happened to cost just under 100 million dollars.


Now, this little trip to space wasn't advertised, wasn't advertising at all but, it did include elements of content marketing, social media marketing, and public relations.


But when it comes to finding new and creative, innovative ways to get attention to do marketing that isn't advertising well, Tesla isn't alone.


In fact, there's a number of other popular and well-known businesses that spend very little or nothing at all on advertising.


Companies like Google, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Uber. All of these have built massive empires on the back of marketing but not necessarily of paid advertising.


We will take a look at what is at the core of their marketing strategies in just a second, but first, let's tackle and answer the question:



What's wrong with advertising anyway?


When it comes to launching a new brand, a new business, or a new company, the traditional way is to create something, spend a ton of money on advertising, and try to reach as many people as possible.


When this is done right and when it's paired with an actual good product/good service/business it can be quite effective.


The problem is... that rarely, this approach is done right.



And more often than not, advertising dollars (throwing money at the problem) are spent, instead of spending time on strategic thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and really getting to the core, and the underline principles of what's truly going to result in business growth.


This is where the famous John Wanamaker quote comes in, and it says:


"Half the money I spend advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don't know which half".

And in today's day and age, that's simply unacceptable.


Now, while there is a ton of places where advertising can go horribly wrong, very quickly, a large portion of this waste simply comes down to optimizing for the wrong variables.


These are the things like spending money to try and get likes, comments, and shares or simply trying to reach as many people as possible, or try to improve metrics like brand recall, which is really just how many people remember you.


These are fine but at the end of the day, it's not how many people remember you that matters, it's how many people buy from you.


Marketing's job always has, and always should be first and foremost to convert people into customers.

If your marketing isn't making sales, not bringing new revenue, or making you money, it's not working.


And Tesla's marketing strategy is definitely working.




So if Elon and the whole Tesla team arent focused on advertising, what are they doing instead?


First of all, Tesla has a great product. And, they're obsessive about making their great product even better and are obsessively focused on the customers.


Tesla customers love the brand, they love the company, and they love the product. They talk about it, write about it, and tell everyone they know just how great it is.


Plus, like another great brand that also spends little to no money on advertising, Apple, innovation is at the core of what they do, always trying to make it better, faster, and more exciting.


You see, some of the first principles of marketing are:


#1 to make a really great product,

#2 to tell everyone about that product.


The sad reality is that most businesses, entrepreneurs, and marketers often shortcut the number 1 and go straight to number 2 (trying to get as much attention as possible), but this never works well unless you really focus on creating that great product first.


Next up, we have Elon Musk as an incredibly integral part of Tesla. Tesla almost has a baked-in marketing aspect to it, with Elon and his personality.


Elon is also able to leverage his personal brand that he spent years building up before getting into Tesla. Because Elon Musk is so polarizing, so out there, and so outspoken, makes it really easy for him to get a ton of attention, and Elon Musk is synonymous with Tesla.



Essentially when one of these large personalities does something, says something, or anything like that, well, there's kind of a two-part effect where the personal brand gets attention but the business gets attention as well.


When Elon Musk went on the Joe Rogan podcast, that's Marketing.


Elon Musk, being polarising, outspoken, and not being afraid to say and share his opinions on Twitter, that's marketing.


Elon knows this and he's good at it.

Another part of Tesla's marketing strategy is also to use influencers and early adopters in the tech and automotive space.


These influencers in the tech field or in the automotive field, or on electric vehicles, or anything like that has a higher level of credibility and authority in their field among their audience other than just a generic celebrity.


So Tesla works with these brand influencers who then become brand evangelists, who then go out and tell everyone and anyone about just how great Tesla really is.




Values


Tesla and Elon Musk are unapologetic about their goals, dreams, and desires for the future of their brand and for the world.


They draw a line in the sand and they say you're either with us or you're with them.


Apple did this years ago, and they did it incredibly well with the "Mac VS PC" marketing campaign. Coca-Cola and Pepsi have also been doing this for years.


Marketing is at the core of what Tesla does. They know what's important and they do it well.

Tesla has recently topped Instagram as the fastest-growing brand in the world.


According to the London-based company "Brand Finance".


This shouldn't be too surprising tho, after all, they positioned themselves well in some of the fastest-growing & most popular industries like electric vehicles, sustainable energy, and even space travel.


And they're being led by an outspoken, media-savvy, polarizing leader, Elon Musk, who is basically a walking and talking marketing machine.



So while their business growth may not be surprising, what is shocking is Elon Musk and other Tesla insiders claim that Tesla does not do advertising, and yet they've still managed to grow 64.9% just in the last year alone.


So how did Elon Musk and Tesla Become the fastest growing brand in the world without spending money on advertising?


Well, the first thing you need to understand when unpacking Elon Musk and Tesla's claim that Tesla does not do advertising is really understanding that advertising does not equal marketing, but rather Advertising is just one small part of marketing.


And in Tesla's case, a very very small (nonexistent) part of marketing.


But that doesn't mean that Tesla doesn't do marketing because they do, and they do a lot of it.

Under the "marketing umbrella", you also have a ton of other things like content marketing, social media marketing, public relations, and many more.


All of these are marketing tools that Tesla uses and all of them cost some kind of time, money, or energy.


For example, when Tesla launched their Falcon Heavy rocket into space they also sent a Tesla roadster along for the ride.



Well, that was marketing! Marketing that just so happened to cost just under 100 million dollars.


Now, this little trip to space wasn't advertised, wasn't advertising at all but, it did include elements of content marketing, social media marketing, and public relations.


But when it comes to finding new and creative, innovative ways to get attention to do marketing that isn't advertising well, Tesla isn't alone.


In fact, there's a number of other popular and well-known businesses that spend very little or nothing at all on advertising.


Companies like Google, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Uber. All of these have built massive empires on the back of marketing but not necessarily of paid advertising.


We will take a look at what is at the core of their marketing strategies in just a second, but first, let's tackle and answer the question:



What's wrong with advertising anyway?


When it comes to launching a new brand, a new business, or a new company, the traditional way is to create something, spend a ton of money on advertising, and try to reach as many people as possible.


When this is done right and when it's paired with an actual good product/good service/business it can be quite effective.


The problem is... that rarely, this approach is done right.



And more often than not, advertising dollars (throwing money at the problem) are spent, instead of spending time on strategic thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and really getting to the core, and the underline principles of what's truly going to result in business growth.


This is where the famous John Wanamaker quote comes in, and it says:


"Half the money I spend advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don't know which half".

And in today's day and age, that's simply unacceptable.


Now, while there is a ton of places where advertising can go horribly wrong, very quickly, a large portion of this waste simply comes down to optimizing for the wrong variables.


These are the things like spending money to try and get likes, comments, and shares or simply trying to reach as many people as possible, or try to improve metrics like brand recall, which is really just how many people remember you.


These are fine but at the end of the day, it's not how many people remember you that matters, it's how many people buy from you.


Marketing's job always has, and always should be first and foremost to convert people into customers.

If your marketing isn't making sales, not bringing new revenue, or making you money, it's not working.


And Tesla's marketing strategy is definitely working.




So if Elon and the whole Tesla team arent focused on advertising, what are they doing instead?


First of all, Tesla has a great product. And, they're obsessive about making their great product even better and are obsessively focused on the customers.


Tesla customers love the brand, they love the company, and they love the product. They talk about it, write about it, and tell everyone they know just how great it is.


Plus, like another great brand that also spends little to no money on advertising, Apple, innovation is at the core of what they do, always trying to make it better, faster, and more exciting.


You see, some of the first principles of marketing are:


#1 to make a really great product,

#2 to tell everyone about that product.


The sad reality is that most businesses, entrepreneurs, and marketers often shortcut the number 1 and go straight to number 2 (trying to get as much attention as possible), but this never works well unless you really focus on creating that great product first.


Next up, we have Elon Musk as an incredibly integral part of Tesla. Tesla almost has a baked-in marketing aspect to it, with Elon and his personality.


Elon is also able to leverage his personal brand that he spent years building up before getting into Tesla. Because Elon Musk is so polarizing, so out there, and so outspoken, makes it really easy for him to get a ton of attention, and Elon Musk is synonymous with Tesla.



Essentially when one of these large personalities does something, says something, or anything like that, well, there's kind of a two-part effect where the personal brand gets attention but the business gets attention as well.


When Elon Musk went on the Joe Rogan podcast, that's Marketing.


Elon Musk, being polarising, outspoken, and not being afraid to say and share his opinions on Twitter, that's marketing.


Elon knows this and he's good at it.

Another part of Tesla's marketing strategy is also to use influencers and early adopters in the tech and automotive space.


These influencers in the tech field or in the automotive field, or on electric vehicles, or anything like that has a higher level of credibility and authority in their field among their audience other than just a generic celebrity.


So Tesla works with these brand influencers who then become brand evangelists, who then go out and tell everyone and anyone about just how great Tesla really is.




Values


Tesla and Elon Musk are unapologetic about their goals, dreams, and desires for the future of their brand and for the world.


They draw a line in the sand and they say you're either with us or you're with them.


Apple did this years ago, and they did it incredibly well with the "Mac VS PC" marketing campaign. Coca-Cola and Pepsi have also been doing this for years.


Marketing is at the core of what Tesla does. They know what's important and they do it well.

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