tesla-marketing-strategy

Tesla Marketing Strategy: Buzz Without Ads

Tesla doesn’t have an official advertising budget to spend on budget, as it has almost been null over the years. Indeed, Tesla leveraged a combination of Elon musk’s ability to generate significant media coverage and build a product that sold via word of mouth and directly to consumers.

Dissecting Tesla’s Marketing strategy

Tesla’S business model has three major components that make it up.

tesla-business-model
Tesla is vertically integrated. Therefore, the company runs and operates the Tesla’s plants where cars are manufactured and the Gigafactory which produces the battery packs and stationary storage systems for its electric vehicles, which are sold via direct channels like the Tesla online store and the Tesla physical stores.

On the supply side:

  • Vertical Integration: Tesla famously integrated its whole manufacturing process, starting in its early days, when this strategy was not easy nor cheap to follow. Indeed, companies usually achieve vertical integration as they reach a major scale. Instead, Tesla did the opposite. It started to integrate from its inception vertically. This led the company to the verge of bankruptcy on multiple occasions. While finally, Tesla started to rip the benefit of vertical integration only in the 2020s onward.
  • Direct distribution is another critical element of Tesla’s business strategy. Indeed, since its inception, Tesla has been looking for ways to sell directly to consumers through its stores, inspired by Apple’s direct-to-consumer strategy.

Today Tesla has reached an incredible scale in terms of manufacturing, passing over a million delivered cars in 2022.

tesla-production-vs-delivery

Thus, generating over $81 billion in revenue in 2022, primarily from the automotive segment.

how-does-tesla-make-money
In 2022, Tesla generated $81.46 billion in revenues. Tesla’s business model primarily relies on automotive sales, $71.46 billion (almost 88% of the total revenues); services/others followed with over $6 billion; energy generation and storage generated over $3 billion in revenues.

Indeed, the automotive segment also carries most of the gross margins and profits for Tesla, thus showing a completely different picture compared to a few years ago, before Tesla had reached mass scale.

tesla-cost-structure
Automotive sales are the most critical segment for Tesla, with over $71.4 billion in revenue from automotive parts; most of the gross profits come from automotive sales, with over $20 billion in gross profits, or a 28.5% gross margin.

And yet, Tesla spends zero dollars on advertising.

That has been thanks to the ability of the company to generate significant media coverage, which has been continuously driving sales.

These sales dollars have been invested in product, R&D, and scale.

tesla-r&d-strategy
Tesla R&D’s costs have doubled in absolute number, from almost $1.5 billion in 2020 to over $3 billion in 2022. Yet they have decreased as a percentage of revenue, from 5% in 2020 to 4% in 2022. These R&D expenses primarily comprise costs associated with personnel for teams in engineering and research, manufacturing engineering and manufacturing test organizations, prototyping expense, contract, and professional services.

Thus, Tesla’s marketing flywheel combines buzz through Media coverage, direct distribution, and investments into the product, which might generate further word-of-mouth and scale.

Read Also: Tesla Business Model

Related to Tesla

Is Tesla Profitable?

is-tesla-profitable
Tesla was profitable in 2022, and it generated $12.55 billion in net profits. Tesla has been profitable since 2020. Indeed, Tesla generated $862 million in net profits in 2020. And it further generated $5.6 billion in net profits in 2021.

How Does Tesla Make Money?

how-does-tesla-make-money
In 2022, Tesla generated $81.46 billion in revenues. Tesla’s business model primarily relies on automotive sales, $71.46 billion (almost 88% of the total revenues); services/others followed with over $6 billion; energy generation and storage generated over $3 billion in revenues.

Tesla Revenue Per Employee

tesla-revenue-per-employee
According to a FourWeekMBA analysis, in 2022, Tesla’s revenues per employee were $637,144, growing from $542,079 in 2021.

Tesla Profit Margin

tesla-profit-margin
Telsa’s profit margins moved from negative 3.15% in 2019 to over 15% in 2022. As Tesla scaled up manufacturing and improved its economies of scale (with new facilities) and scope, the company became extremely profitable by 2022.

Tesla Profit Margin Per Car

tesla-profit-margin-per-car
Tesla’s profit margin per car in 2022 was $9580, compared to over $6000 in 2021 and over $1700 in 2020. As Tesla was working toward mass manufacturing in 2020, the company’s profitability per car has increased slightly.

Tesla Production

tesla-production-in-2022

Tesla Production vs. Delivery

tesla-production-numbers

Who Is Elon Musk

who-is-elon-musk
Elon Musk, seen as one of the most visionary tech entrepreneurs from the Silicon Valley scene, started his “career” as an entrepreneur at an early age. After selling his first startup, Zip2, in 1999, he made $22 million, which he used to found X.com, which would later become PayPal, and sell for over a billion to eBay (Musk made $180 million from the deal). He founded other companies like Tesla (he didn’t start it but became a major investor in the early years) and SpaceX. Tesla started as an electric sports car niche player, eventually turned into a mass manufacturing electric car maker.

Who Owns Tesla

who-owns-tesla
Elon Musk, an early investor and CEO of Tesla, is the major shareholder with 21.7% of the stocks. Other major shareholders comprise investment firms like Baillie Gifford & Co. (7.7%), FMR LLC (5.3%), Capital Ventures International (5.2%), T. Rowe Price Associates (5.2%), and Capital World Investors (5%). Another major individual shareholder is Larry Ellison (co-founder and CEO of Oracle), with a 1.7% stake.

History of Tesla

history-of-tesla
Founded in 2003 by Eberhard and Tarpenning, eventually, the initial co-founders left the company, and by 2004, Musk first became the main investor. After that, by 2008, he took over as CEO of the company. Tesla would go through many near-death experiences until 2018. And yet, by 2021, Tesla will become a trillion-dollar company.

Tesla Business Model

tesla-business-model
Tesla is vertically integrated. Therefore, the company runs and operates the Tesla’s plants where cars are manufactured and the Gigafactory, which produces the battery packs and stationary storage systems for its electric vehicles, which are sold via direct channels like the Tesla online store and the Tesla physical stores.

Tesla Competitors

tesla-competitors
As an electric automaker and builder of sports cars and now trucks, Tesla’s competitors comprise companies like Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi, Rivian Lucid Motors, Toyota, and more. At the same time, Tesla is an electric energy production and storage company (SolarCity); it competes with Sunrun, SunPower, and Vivint Solar. And as an autonomous driving company, it competes with companies like Zoox, Waymo, and Baidu with self-driving software.

Real-Time Insurance

real-time-insurance
A real-time insurance business model enables Tesla to build its insurance arm by dynamically adjusting the premiums based on real-time driving behavior. Reduced insurance premiums hooked with the leasing arm enable Tesla to scale its demand side of the business.

Read Also: Tesla Business Model, Elon Musk Companies, Who Owns Tesla, Transitional Business Models, Tesla Competitors.

Read Also: Who Is Elon Musk? The Elon Musk’s Story, How Does Elon Musk Make Money, Elon Musk Companies, Bill Gates Companies, Jeff Bezos Companies, Warren Buffett Companies.

How did Tesla use a transitional business model to thrive?

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