Does Tesla need to Advertise? Nah, Tesla Customers do that!

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Ever wonder how the disruptive Californian startup Tesla Motors uses no advertising for its Model S? This subtle marketing technique left many carmakers catching up to a cool and sexy statement, the ownership experience of a perceived exclusive Model S.

Mercedes can claim to have done it earlier, and certainly Ford revolutionized marketing campaigns a few years ago by allowing bloggers and independent journalists to write about their experiences with the Ford Fiesta it on their own in the “Fiesta Movement” campaign.  Many automakers are barely catching up emulating the same formula and have had limited success doing so.  The idea is simple, let the customers talk about it. After all, they speak best about our products, at least much better than the advertising campaigns no one watches anymore, nor trusts.

Revolutionizing marketing, the easy way.

When it comes to introducing a product or service, the choice is simple. Either build the best product you can that meets a public need, or build something decent and flood the market with constant advertising until a public need is created. The latter has worked well so far, but let’s face it, why trusts a company claiming they have the best product?

The better way to sell something is to not sell it.

Have you ever watched a commercial advertising a Tesla Motors Models S? How about a Roadster? Why not? Simply put, Tesla has no need to hype a product that works and is really darn sexy. Tesla smartly used some of Apple’s best marketing techniques, letting its owners make a statement that they are different and drive their Model S down the street. Tesla Motors lets buyers make the statement, not the other way around.  It gets even better now that a group of Tesla Model S cars have traveled cross-country, and one reached Panama starting from the US. The only thing Tesla has had to do was put in place is a marketing department.

Innovators and followers.

With such a winning recipe, why haven’t other carmakers done the same? There are a few obvious reasons. For one thing, not all carmakers truly have sexy and innovative cars to sell. Another important point is that an exclusive ownership experience is not something every carmaker can claim to offer.  After all, a GM Spark is going to be sold differently than a Cadillac ELR, as well as a Ford Fiesta compared to a Lincoln top-of-the-line model.

Last year I went with a friend and his wife to pick up their new Tesla Model S. I wrote about the experience on another news outlet. Buying a Tesla Model S is more of a ritual, than simply walking into a dealership to buy a car. We were treated with a good espresso, a tour of the car that lasted close to two hours, which felt more like an ownership ceremony than anything else.

Tesla Motors is savings millions of dollars by not advertising directly what has already proven to be a great product of desire. It lets you, the consumer do that. So what is the better way of selling something? By not selling it bluntly. The better way to sell a product or service is to let your customer base talk most about it.  Tesla Motors has capitalized on that concept of selling the ownership experience of a distinctive and exclusive product better than anyone else.

Nicolas Zart
Born and raised around classic cars, it wasn't until Nicolas drove an AC Proulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing about this amazing technology and its social impacts in 2007. Today, Nicolas covers renewable energy, test drives cars, does podcasts and films. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. His articles are also published on Teslrati, CleanTechnica, the Beverly Hills Car Club and Medium. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart