A short while ago, I saw an article circulating on LinkedIn titled ‘How Tesla spend £0 on marketing and still continue to grow’.
*Spoiler alert* They don’t.
Without sounding like the most generic best man speech; the Oxford dictionary defines ‘marketing’ as ‘the activity of presenting, advertising and selling a company’s products or services in the best possible way’.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, likes to claim that he ‘hates advertising’.
That tweet was not a one-off sarcastic comment. Elon Musk has claimed on multiple occasions that he ‘does not like advertising’ and that ‘Tesla does not use marketing’.
Let’s break down Tesla’s current marketing activity, then outline how Tesla does indeed use advertising, with the help of Elon himself.
The first and most obvious component of the Tesla marketing mix is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is where businesses pay celebrities or accounts with large followings to promote their products or services. After many grey areas and legal disputes, influencer marketing is now ticking along at a steady incline, expected to be worth $13.8 billion by the end of 2021 (according to Influencer Marketing Hub).
Tesla may not pay any ‘influencers’, but it just so happens that their CEO, Elon Musk, has almost 60 million followers on Twitter. Elon Musk is an influencer. Okay, not the type of influencer that walks around London posting Instagram stories of cocktails with #ad in the bottom left corner of the screen, but the very definition of the word. Elon Musk influences a large audience of followers, and so Tesla, with Elon very much involved, is utilising influencer marketing to promote the brand.
Musk constantly shares updates about Tesla and retweets many of their tweets. That brings me onto the next component of the ‘non-existent’ Tesla marketing mix:
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn – what do these platforms have in common? They’re all social media channels = yes. They also all have an official Tesla social account on them, sharing organic posts about product, business, and service updates, to a combined audience of over 28million users.
This one speaks for itself. Organic social media is definitely a form of marketing. And someone has to be paid to manage these channels, especially with the number of eyes on them.
PR is the practice of managing the reputation of a business, group, or person, and attempting to affect the public’s perception of said person/people.
Tesla claiming to be, and Musk claiming that Tesla are, one of the only companies in the S&P 500 to spend nothing on advertising is a PR stunt in itself. I for one, would not be writing this blog if they hadn’t made such claims. You wouldn’t have clicked on this blog. I wouldn’t have seen the blog that made me write this blog. Blogception from a very ingenious PR play by Musk. Commendable to an extent.
Again, do I need to explain this one? Tesla have a website and I imagine that it wasn’t free to create.
Tesla News is a newsletter sent to company stakeholders and customers. Newsletters are a large part of marketing. According to Statista (2020), email users globally are to hit 4.3 billion, and with almost 21% of emails being opened in the first hour of sitting in an inbox, the channel still remains one of the best for ROI. DMA (2019) have conducted research into email marketing and found that, on average, for ever $1 you spend, you can expect an average return of $42.
These statistics are more of a showcase for how strong email is as a channel for marketers. Primarily helping to push users down the marketing funnel, I’m sure Tesla have their strategies when it comes to email marketing. Again, someone has to manage this content from a paid marketing automation platform.
The point of this article is to not prove Tesla wrong, but to point out their potential naivety when it comes to what counts as marketing. Elon Musk most likely doesn’t consider himself as an influencer and wouldn’t put two and two together to discover that Tesla are technically implementing a constant influencer marketing campaign, just without the #ad. Marketing is everywhere. Social media channels, whether they be organic or paid, the PR stunt that might not be a PR stunt, the website…it all counts as marketing.
At Cremarc we help our clients with all elements of the marketing mix. We build websites, rebrand, implement email campaigns, manage social media channels, assist with PR, and more. We even provide a free-of-charge Marketing Discovery session so you can see what needs to be done before you partner with us. Get in touch today!