Last Tuesday, it was my turn to present to the class a marketing case study. I decided to do one on Tesla. Since the presentation had to be short (about 5 minutes), the information I tried to convey was pretty basic and to the point. However, I did try to engage the class in a couple of discussions. Here are the highlights:
Tesla Motors was founded in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, not by Elon Musk. Elon Musk became Chairman of the Board in 2004 after raising millions in financing for the company.
In 2006 the Tesla Roadster was unveiled in California officially launching Tesla as a car company.
The company is based in California and employs 13 thousand people across 4 continents, and the company has yet to make a profit.
It produces 2 premium all-electric vehicles: Model S, and Model X, with a 3rd model, Model 3, in development.
Tesla's mission is "to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy."
In my estimation, Tesla's value proposition is that it produces a high performance, all-electric, luxury vehicle with a driving range that exceeds all of its electric vehicle competitors. The Nissen Leaf still outsells Tesla models, but it has a much smaller driving range; (about 80 miles), and it does costs less.
Tesla is a perfect example of Seth Godin's remarkable "Purple Cow." It's unique (all-electric), it was marketed to a niche audience of early adopters and "sneezers," and it uses social media, word of mouth, and website for most of its promotional activities; no advertising agency. Plus, purchasing transactions are done online.
Thus far, from a marketing point of view, they seem to be doing everything right.
I included a SWOT analysis of the company done by UC Berkeley Extension in 2013. Bullet points of the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats were shared and discussed by the class. One threat that could pose a problem are the potential lawsuits that could come about from the autonomous driving features that are being launched with every new model.
What's trending for the company is that the Model 3 had the biggest one-week launch of any product ever, with 325,000 reservations received in the first week. However, Consumer Reports recently rated the Tesla Model X in the 10 least reliable vehicles category.
I closed the presentation with a video that introduced the self-driving capabilities available on all the new Tesla cars, complete with a Rolling Stones music track. Ah...entice those baby boomers!
UC Berkeley Extension Strategic Marketing Study