Monthly Archives: October 2015

Where Can Customers Buy Tesla Cars?


All marketers known that in order to gain sales, a company needs a strong distribution channel. After all, when a customer wants to purchase a product, the product must be easily available – or else the customer is likely to purchase a different item that is easier to find. Yet, despite its lack of dealerships, Tesla seems to be doing quite well.

But, since Tesla Motors wants to sell its cars directly to consumers, where does one buy a Tesla if not from a car dealership? The mall! Tesla now has 200 showrooms worldwide and also accepts online orders (charge cards are accepted). However, in states where direct sales to consumers are prohibited, Tesla retail stores can only serve as showrooms and not conduct transactions.

Recently, Tesla revamped its flagship retail store in San Jose to include interactive displays for four themes: safety, autopilot features, battery charging network, and dual motors that propel each axel. Tesla’s stores are typically located in luxury shopping malls where the stores focus on the brand experience and expose shoppers to the technology and quality of the cars.

Shopping at the mall just got a lot more exciting.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of distribution.
  2. Show Tesla’s Web site:
  3. Show video of a Tesla store tour:
  4. Review the product life cycle. What stage are Tesla products at in the life cycle? What is the impact of distribution to gain market share?
  5. What is the role of the stores?
  6. Discuss the Tesla brand. How does the brand experience translate to the showrooms?
  7. Divide students into teams and have the teams research the legislation about auto dealerships. What are the benefits and disadvantages of this system for consumers? For dealers?

Source:, CNN Money, other news sources

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Robots on the Move


Technology seems to be advancing by leaps and bounds. And we mean this literally. Boston Dynamics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google, has robots that can leap tall buildings, scale walls, navigate tough terrain, and more. The company has both wheeled and four-legged robots for indoor and outdoor operations. The robots are electric-powered, hydraulically activated, and with advanced sensors for navigating rough terrain.

These robots are amazing. One is Cheetah – the fastest robot in the world that travels at 29 miles per hour. Another robot – Sand Flea – weighs only 11 pounds and can jump 30 feet in the air. There are also anthropomorphic robots that can test chemical and protection wear to be worn by humans in hazardous conditions. And let’s not forget about Spot – a 160 pound robot that moves like a dog with a sensor head that lets it navigate and negotiate rough terrain.

Consider the business applications of robotic technology.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up Boston Dynamics YouTube page with videos and show robots in action:
  2. Show Boston Dynamics Web site:
  3. Divide students into teams and have team examine a different robot.
  4. What are commercial and business applications for each robot?
  5. What companies might buy robots (beyond the military)?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a business-to-business marketing campaign for robots.

Source: Manufacturing Business Technology, Boston Dynamics


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New Wheels for Commuters


Not everyone drives to work, takes the train, rides the bus, or rides a bike. Some people commute in an entirely new, innovative, way using a variety of methods including self-balancing scooters, electric wheels, and electric unicycles, and portable motors. Why? It’s both fun and economical.

This new generation of electric transportation methods solves problems with getting around in dense urban areas in an economical way. Instead of needing a car or motorcycle, these personal devices take up little room and are efficient and entertaining. Commute to school on a self-balancing electric wheel. Or, add a portable motor to a bicycle or scooter to get around town quickly. With lights, horns, and Bluetooth integration, the future of electric-powered transportation is hip and eye-catching.

Ride one today!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the video with the new devices:
  2. Poll students. Have they ridden or seen any of these devices? What were their experiences?
  3. Bring up Web sites from companies that sell these products:


Electric Unicycle:

Share Roller:



  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team determine a target market for the products.
  2. Once a target market is selected, have each team develop the marketing mix.
  3. Share the plans on the white board. Debrief the exercise.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Manufacturing Business Technology

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