The genius of Tesla’s marketing strategy

Traditional advertising is less effective than ever before. It interrupts. It can’t get through ad blockers. We’ve learned to ignore it.

Having fans sell your product is more effective than ever before.

Tesla grasp this. They have zero advertising budget. The focus is on turning customers into fans. And it’s fair to say they’ve succeeded:

Graph of Tesla's Subreddit size and Twitter following


If I had one just one word to summarise Tesla’s success it would be authenticity. They are unashamedly themselves.

The car makes “fart noises”. Their CEO makes memes. And, simultaneously, they have the best engineers in the world working on a solution to the fossil fuel crisis.

The result is both one of the most carefree and one of the most ambitious brands on the planet. It’s Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes meets Tony Stark. And the juxtaposition is captivating.


If authenticity is how to connect with an audience, controversy is how to multiply an audience. And Musk is the master of this:

He smokes weed with Joe Rogan, sells flamethrowers, blasts a Tesla into orbit, and then when it’s time to launch a real product he’s got our attention.

Imagine any other automobile company attracting the world’s media to a launch event, smashing two windows, and selling 250k+ units upfront:

Tesla's YouTube fans

* * *

Competitors spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a 30 second commercial to play during a basketball game.

Tesla sit back and watch their fans make these videos for them. An army of YouTubers explaining “Why I bought the new Cybertruck” in a far more sincere way than any commercial could:

Laura Elizabeth Twitter

And the numbers are frightening:

6.9M views * 1 / 5000 conversion = 1,380 Cybertrucks

That’s $75M revenue. From just 1 video.

What can we learn from Tesla?

Well, if the best salespeople are your customers perhaps marketing should be a little less about attracting eyeballs and a little more about building relationships.

Instead of asking “How many views?” ask yourself “How many fans?”

I experienced this on a micro level last week. One organic tweet from Laura resulted in 5x as many newsletter sign ups as $30 worth of Facebook ads:

Marketing Examples Product Hunt


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