Tesla Motors Needs No Ad Agency or Advertising to Sell Model S Electric Sedan

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 6

Tesla Sells in This Way...Get People to Drive the Model S...Love It...Then Write or Talk About It...Simple Enough, Right?

Tesla Sells in This Way…Get People to Drive the Model S…Love It…Then Write or Talk About It…Simple Enough, Right?

“Tesla Motors has no advertising, no ad agency, no CMO, no dealer network. And that’s no problem.”

99 Out of 100!!!!!  These Guys Wrote About It After Loving It Too

99 Out of 100!!!!! These Guys Wrote About It After Loving It Too

That’s how AdAge opens a recent article on Tesla’s nontraditional method of “marketing” its Model S and it’s something we touched on awhile back.

Somehow, Tesla is capable of breaking the mold, while still being able to sell the Model S at such a rate both the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt are trailing it so far in 2013.

How’s this possible?  Well, while Tesla Motors may not advertise in the now-traditional way of print ads or on-screen spots, Tesla does do it the old-fashioned way, which is by word of mouth.

One way this word-of-mouth advertising is done is by getting journalists behind the wheel of the Model S.  Most of these journalist are enamored with the Model S and then tend to write glowing reviews that are read by thousand or even millions.  This method works to a degree, provided that the vast majority of the reviews are positive, which in the case of the Model S is most certainly true.

The other way in which Tesla advertises is through its “stores.”  These stores, which number 35 in the US, allow potential buyers the chance to check out Tesla’s ware and to ask questions that are answered by Tesla’s highly trained personnel.  There’s no high-pressure sales tactics used here.

As Tesla spokeswoman, Alexis Georgeson, told AdAge:

Drive It...Show That it Kicks Butt...Write About...That's Tesla's Way of Advertising

Drive It…Show That it Kicks Butt…Write About…That’s Tesla’s Way of Advertising

“Right now, the stores are our advertising. We’re very confident we can sell 20,000-plus cars a year—without paid advertising.  It may be something we’ll do years down the road. But it’s certainly not something we feel is crucial for sales right now.”

The last part of the advertising equation for Tesla is CEO Elon Musk.

As Model S owner, Connie Charney, told AdAge:

“You feel like you’re part of something bigger, a new age of motor vehicles. … Elon Musk is my hero.”

He’s not just Ms. Charney’s here though.  Musk is like the ultimate pitchman with his unmatched knowledge of the Model S and his personality that brings him down to the level of the average individual.

Here’s where the story gets interesting.  According to AdAge, Tesla’s marketing department is only seven staffers strong.  Its website for ordering the Model S is run internally by Tesla and the automaker has nothing on the drawing boards in terms of upcoming advertisements.

Tesla’s marketing budget is as close to $0 as it gets.  Compared to the $25 million Nissan spent to pitch its LEAF alone in 2012, Tesla spends pennies, so to say.

But it all somehow works.  Sales of the Model S say so.

Source: AdAge

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6 responses to "Tesla Motors Needs No Ad Agency or Advertising to Sell Model S Electric Sedan"

  1. Dave K. says:

    It’s pretty simple, if you build the best production car in the world, people will buy it. I’m with Connie, Elon is my hero! Too bad he’s not eligable, I would vote for him for president.

  2. Bonaire says:

    With the media and various avenues of interest for EVs – there really needs to be much advertising. Nissan and Chevy marketing their Leaf and Volt seems to be aiming to create loss-leaders. The Volt was followed for years prior to introduction and many people were ready to buy in the first year or two (much like Tesla’s Model-S). The companies should be working to drive down costs so that the vehicle prices are lower. Lower and lower MSRP is the primary way to move EVs. The technology, ecology and benefits of electrical driving will sell themselves if the MSRP is lowered. The only thing I ask is that dealerships don’t lie or make stuff up when presenting these vehicles to potential buyers. Nissan reps saying the Leaf is a 100-mile car and the salesmen now talking the Volt down at Chevy dealerships. That’s ingenuous.

    1. Bonaire says:

      First sentence should be “there really doesn’t need to be much advertising”.

      1. “the 25 Million Nissan spent to pitch it’s LEAF” … that works out to be over $2500 per 9819 LEAFs delivered in 2012.

        A more cost effective approach…
        1. Reduce price by $1750 (Nissan may already considered this, not knowing 2013 Ad budget)
        2. $500 toward funding DC Quick Charging Network along freeways in local market (malls & places of high use, which will give high brand visibility),
        3. $250 to getting butts in seats. Ride-swap… park current ride to get free Leaf (no gas) for a week. Ask driver to a share a ride and tell about experience. At current lease rate of $249/month, easily generates 50 rides per LEAF sold! Nissan is currently delivering ~2200* LEAFs per month. A few variations exist, where an airport, or hotel parking location could be used to make vehicle swap.

        *If Nissan’s current LEAF monthly sales trend continues for June, more LEAFs will be delivered by July 4th, 2013 than were for all of 2012.

  3. John Hollenberg says:

    > The only thing I ask is that dealerships don’t lie or make stuff up when presenting these vehicles to potential buyers. Nissan reps saying the Leaf is a 100-mile car and the salesmen now talking the Volt down at Chevy dealerships.

    Or Nissan saying the heat doesn’t affect the Leaf batteries. They might as well offer a well known bridge to the prospective purchasers in Phoenix.

    1. Steven says:

      Good luck with that.