I’ve been reading Jon Spoelstra’s book from 2000, Marketing Outrageously. The idea of pushing marketing outside of the realm of what is normally done has been on my mind because of a few things:
- I’ve been more active on marketing Twitter and the concept of innovation in marketing has been debated heavily there.
- I’m working on some projects that both offer exceptional value and are getting lost in the shuffle of so many demands on their prospects’ time.
- I realized that the most successful projects I’ve worked on all had a sense of danger in them…not danger as is someone might die, but danger as in this could go wrong and my career could be over and I could be a laughingstock.
Which got me around to Tesla.
I saw a tweet from a marketer that I respect saying that Tesla’s struggles to hold price could be helped by brand-building advertising. (The idea isn’t wrong, advertising could help. But I don’t know if it will help quickly enough.)
As someone that has a Tesla and loves driving it…I also get a lot of questions about the car and came up with some marketing ideas that may just be a little different than just advertising.
1. Test drives everywhere:
One of the revelations of the purchase of a Tesla was the first time we were able to drive the Model 3.
My lady and I had purchased the car in advance without test driving it and we were excited either way. But test driving the car was an all-together different experience.
One of the challenges that people have in switching to an electric car is that it can feel like a huge change to many people.
But what if you made it simpler by taking a few cars out for people to test drive in places that they might not normally associate test drives like shopping malls, grocery stores, recreation centers, etc.
Just give people a chance to engage with the cars in the real world.
2. Get Tesla into schools:
I don’t mean driving a car into the school.
But maybe take some of the lessons from the electric car and create content that schools can access and use to teach science, innovation, and sustainability.
You could easily post these videos to a website designed for school-age children with worksheets, links to learn more, and all kinds of other fun stuff that would do a few things:
- Teach kids about science in a way that is meaningful to them and that they can associate to something they see in the real world.
- Would engage kids, especially if they were to use Elon Musk. Because if you haven’t talked to an elementary school kid lately, at least the ones I know, a lot of them think Elon Musk is their hero. (In fact, my son often asks me why Elon Musk hasn’t solved a particular problem yet.)
- It would expose people to Tesla in a way that was engaging and meaningful.
(To be clear, I’d feel uncomfortable about doing something with kids in this way except for our school systems already have allowed soda machines and vendors in our schools for decades to market sugar water and candy to our kids. So marketing science, innovation, and sustainability only seems cool…even if it is being done to make people feel comfortable with a car company.)
3. Double down on the publicity stunts:
A friend of mine texted me about an idea I ran by him earlier in the day, his text said, “The whole industry is a publicity stunt, but I guess if you are going to do one you have to go all the way…and you are definitely trying to go all the way.
It will be hard to go past putting a Roadster into space, but why not try?
I’ve been a big advocate of the idea that you build your brand with publicity and you maintain it with advertising.
So far in the history of Tesla, that’s what they’ve done well.
The rollout of the Model 3 was marketing genius, even though the execution of the $35,000 electric car was problematic.
Launching a car into space, genius.
The Boring Company, even if it wasn’t specifically about Tesla, it did a great deal of good for the Tesla brand.
On and on you can go with stunts and ways to generate more earned media for the company. The challenge is coming up with the ideas, but the payoff is powerful.
Hell, I might write another post with PR stunts that Tesla could do to generate more buzz.
But for now, I’ll just take a bump up the list on the Model Y reservations.
What say you Elon and friends?