July 19, 2024
Don’t Comply with Tesla’s Advertising and marketing Mistake

Inform us you don’t know something about advertising and marketing with out telling us you don’t know something about advertising and marketing.

Final week, multibillionaire and advertising and marketing genius Elon Musk fired the newly formed content and marketing team one yr after he begrudgingly mentioned he would “attempt a bit of promoting and see the way it goes.”

Information of the dismissal got here simply after quite a few studies of the bugs, failures, and restricted gross sales of Tesla’s latest product — the larger and fatter Again-To-The-Future DeLorean referred to as the Cybertruck. It additionally got here simply earlier than Tesla’s newest earnings report.

Must you care that 40 individuals in Tesla’s advertising and marketing and content material crew had been eliminated unceremoniously? Is {that a} good factor for the model?  What does it say about your prospects in advertising and marketing?

We went to Robert Rose, CMI’s chief technique advisor, for his take. Watch this video or learn on for his takeaways:

What a distinction a yr makes

Final week was robust for about 40 individuals in Tesla’s advertising and marketing division. Nevertheless, I think about many in all probability noticed their depart coming in a technique or one other.

Their departure was a part of an ongoing broader layoff at Tesla, which earlier introduced plans to reduce its global workforce by 10%. On condition that Tesla nonetheless counts greater than 140,000 staff, the entire layoff quantity might finally hit 30,000 to 40,000. So, dropping 40 advertising and marketing and content material people who find themselves extra appropriately described as communications professionals isn’t probably the most significant a part of the Tesla story.

However what resonates with me probably the most is Tesla’s sudden turnaround in its beliefs about advertising and marketing, promoting, and content material as a contemporary firm. Solely a yr in the past, Elon Musk seemingly begrudgingly mentioned he would try advertising. At the moment, the content material crew already existed, however they acquired a brand new mandate to “attempt a bit of” promoting. A yr into that experiment, Elon mentioned the advertisements had been “far too generic” on his X platform.

However had been they? Perhaps they had been, and perhaps they weren’t. Perhaps his crew wasn’t large enough or lacked the abilities to provide wonderful model promoting. Perhaps the crew did magnificent work however couldn’t get it accredited. Perhaps they did however couldn’t get it promoted correctly. Right now’s trendy marketer realizes so many issues that get in the best way of doing — and publishing — excellent artistic work.

Little doubt, the previous Tesla advertising and marketing and content material groups ought to be happy with the work they did. In a LinkedIn submit, the group’s chief, Alex Ingram, wrote in regards to the demise and thanked his crew for the wonderful artistic work they did over time.

So, what’s the takeaway?

Historical past doesn’t repeat, nevertheless it does rhyme

Again in January, which appears like historical historical past, I wrote about Solo Manufacturers throwing its model advertising and marketing crew beneath the bus after a disappointing gross sales quarter of its Solo Range regardless of their wonderful artistic work. Its Snoop Dogg marketing campaign went viral, however six weeks later, the corporate hadn’t achieved the specified gross sales, so it fired the CEO. I identified that one thing larger was in all probability at play, however they felt compelled to make the advertising and marketing plan the scapegoat.

So right here we go once more, however this time it’s Tesla. Because the well-known quote says, “Historical past doesn’t repeat itself, nevertheless it does usually rhyme.”

Although most information studies say the 40-person crew had solely been round a yr, my studying says the staff had been round loads longer than that. In Alex’s LinkedIn submit, he mentions they’d been doing the work in comms, public relations, and social media since 2019. It was Elon’s quote to “attempt a bit of paid promoting” that was a yr previous.

On the floor, the dear comms crew was doing attention-grabbing issues, however then they needed to attempt promoting. It didn’t work to Elon’s liking, so Tesla removed the crew.

That makes nearly as a lot sense as tearing down a social media platform to its studs to see what is going to break after which being stunned when it does.

Sadly, as I discussed in the course of the Solo Range problem, entrepreneurs should be used to this. When issues go amazingly properly, advertising and marketing nearly by no means will get the credit score. It’s the genius CEO’s imaginative and prescient, the extraordinary gross sales crew, or a celebrity product that gained the day. Then issues fail, and it’s nearly all the time advertising and marketing’s fault.

It’s a Faustian discount that entrepreneurs have accepted since advertising and marketing has been round.

Don’t take any takeaways from Tesla on what to do

What annoys me probably the most is when a CEO, board, or management crew feels the necessity to throw advertising and marketing beneath the bus when it’s assuredly not their fault. If issues had been going nice for Tesla — and they’re actually, actually not — would Elon take trip of his busy day to thank the advertising and marketing and content material crew that created the advertisements? In fact not.

So, why, within the face of shedding 10% of Tesla’s workforce, would he exit of his option to throw shade at a crew that makes up 0.0002% of the corporate and say that their work was “generic”?

As a result of Elon thinks he is aware of higher, and his insecurity requires him to say the quiet half out loud. Extra troublesome are the management groups throughout the business who will hear this pronouncement and, as they did in Twitter’s dismantling, say, “Perhaps we must always try this too.”

Spoiler alert for these leaders: Don’t. Tesla all the time thought-about advertising and marketing and branding as an afterthought. Its famous absence shouldn’t be laudable however one of many myriad signs of challenges the automobile firm has. There are not any classes to be realized right here for any management crew apart from what to not do.

To the previous content material development crew at Tesla, bon voyage. Let me know if I can do something to assist. Your work was improbable. Your fellow advertising and marketing and communications practitioners are with you. You’ll all find yourself in a greater place.

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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising and marketing Institute