How Tesla’s 0 Budget Marketing Works?

tesla's 0 budget marketing
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Here is how Tesla’s 0 Budget Marketing strategy works.


2018 saw one of the most out of this world advertising campaigns with it quite literal taking marketing to a new height!

On the evening of February the 6th at 8:45 pm, we saw the first successful test launch of Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy rocket, the flagship of his private space-flight company – SpaceX.  Just shy of 4 minutes after initial take off at an altitude of 121km the payload of the mission was released, a brand new Tesla Roadster driven by a dummy nicknamed Starman.

This performance was beamed across the planet for the entire world to see. This creative style of advertising has resulted in Tesla and SpaceX becoming household names, a massive shift from the traditional approach of print, social and video advertising that most companies employ.

Tesla’s 0 Budget Marketing

tesla's 0 budget marketing

Promotional marketing is the bread and butter of the automobile world. However, Tesla is once again a little bit of an oddity in this field. Earlier this year “Brandtotal” reported that tesla had a 0$ social ad budget over a 30 day period, in other words, Tesla’s 0 budget marketing.

This report analyzed some of the largest car manufacturers in the world and looked at “all paid and organic social campaigns”. From this data, we can see that Facebook is the main money sink for most of the auto brands with youtube and Instagram not far behind. However towards the bottom, we see the outlier. Tesla. With them spending nothing on paid social advertising, this is a revealing clue towards the approach that tesla takes towards its marketing.

The company is the envy of brands across the world right now as they seem to have mastered the ability to reach a worldwide audience with a minimal traditional marketing budget. Companies across the world spend billions a year trying to figure out how to engage audiences and encourage them to buy their product.

So what makes Tesla special and why haven’t the marketers at Audi or Ford been able to replicate such a result? 

Even though Tesla doesn’t invest in social campaigns, why do we still see Musk’s face, the Tesla logo or a SpaceX launch continuously plastered across our screens? This can be primarily pinned down to Tesla’s marketing team has well and truly figured out the free media promotion equation.


If you give the media an interesting story to tell, they’ll reward you with free publicity. 

Musks media team have provided us with countless examples of this equation in action. After Hurricane Maria knocked out power for 3.5 million Puerto Rico resistents, which left them without basic resources like running water. Tesla was one of the first companies to step up and attempt to address the disaster. Pledging to help install battery packs and repair solar panels on the island; Musk tweeted that Tesla had “about 11,000 projects underway in Puerto Rico, with employees working hard to install them in hundreds of civic and residential buildings.”

The Governor of Puerto Rico tweeted back asking to talk further with musk, which resulted in it being retweet thousands of times and the story being picked up on international news around the world.

Another tactic in the marketer’s toolbox is the CEO, however, depending on the company this can be the sharpest or the bluntest tool available. Luckily for Telsa, Elon Musk may be one of the most marketable CEOs out there. 


Musk’s personal twitter has developed a strong engaged following of nearly 29million followers and a steady stream of tweets allowing Musk to speak his mind, often sharing the companies successes, goals and failures. Personifying the company brand in real-time. 

Compared to the other major automobile manufactures, Tesla is a company of today. Ford motor company is 116 years old, Audi 110 and Toyota 82. Tesla’s presence within the industry is disruptive to the core. This has resulted in supports that wants to be involved with the new era of motor vehicles. An era with a growing focus on the damage we’ve done to the planet and an increasing the pressure on individuals to address their carbon footprints.

Musks overarching plan to revolutionize the energy industry has been in development for the last couple of decades. Solar power, battery storage, and now electric cars. The plan, when executed successfully, will provide lower-priced, more accessible Tesla cars whilst developing zero-emissions options to power them from people’s homes. This green-focused ideology at the centre of Tesla has been able to plug into peoples passions and beliefs of wanting to save the planet whilst playing a role in the disruption of some of the global corporations.

This mixture of consumerism and ideology has created the perfect storm of Tesla fanaticism, that we may not have seen since the Mac vs PC Debates.


And to bring it all around and make this marketing grand plan self-fulfilling. You let your biggest fans be your advocates. Musks army of devotees that call themselves the Musketeers has started to take on a life of its own. You only need to visit the Tesla Forum or Tesla subreddit to see how passionate this group is. Every digital marketer knows that it is difficult to get people to advocate for your product, however, this is no problem for the Musk empire. With a range of products that people love, it’s not hard to get your fans to not only buy your products but to recommend them to their friends.

Whether you believe that musk and the team behind him can really ignite an electric vehicle revolution and save the planet then that is up to you. However, there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that he is a master at building free press, aligning his brands with flattering media opportunities and turning customers into advocates who do the selling for him.

The above youtube video regarding Tesla’s 0 Budget Marketing will explain to you a bit more.

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