Tag Archives: brand management

Tesla Keeps Shifting Tactics

Once again we examine Tesla. Ok, ok, we know we covered it last month when the company announced it would be closing stores, and then reversed the stores closing. Also last month, the company announced price increases for all models except for the Model 3. And that seemed like a lot for a relatively short period of time. But, Tesla still wasn’t quite done.

Later in March, Tesla announced a new vehicle named the Model Y, a compact sport-utility vehicle with an expected price of $39,000. Model Y will begin production in 2020, have a range of 300 miles/charge, and go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Larger than the Model 3, Model Y will sell for $47,000 in fall 2020 with a $39,000 version expected in spring 2021. Tesla is now taking orders for Model Y with a $2,500 refundable deposit.

Next, in mid-April, Tesla announced that it is halting online sales of the Model 3 at the $35,000 base version. (Wait – wasn’t last month’s tactic shift about moving buyers to use online shopping? What’s happening?) Buyers can order the $35,000 priced version only by telephone or at Tesla’s retail stores. If buying online on Tesla’s website, the minimum price for the Model 3 starts at $39,500, 13% higher than in stores. This is the fourth price change already this year for Tesla.

Another point of confusion concerns test drives. On Tesla’s website it states that customers can drive a car for a week, or less than 1,000 miles, and still return it. Some stores have told buyers that is they test drive before buying, they only have a single day to return the car.  Also according to the website, car delivery should happen within two weeks, but stores have stated that it can take much longer in some areas, particularly if customers want the $35,000 base model.

It’s not good to confuse consumers.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss Tesla’s distribution model and compare it to other automobile manufacturers’ models. What are advantages? Disadvantages?
  2. Show the Model Y in class: https://www.tesla.com/modely
  3. What are the key differentiators for this model versus competition?
  4. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  5. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for Tesla.
  6. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  7. Debrief exercise.

Source: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Assoc. Press, other news sources

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2019 NCAA Championship Games Bring in Revenue

Ah, there is nothing like spring. The days get longer, the weather warmer, and the hoops get a workout!

March is madness indeed when the NCAA basketball tournament games get underway. Instead of working (or studying) fans stealthily watch games at work, home, on TVs, computers, and phones. Brackets get filled out, hopes rise; and then inevitably, hearts get broken. While not the largest total viewership of any sporting event, nonetheless the Men’s NCAA championship game draws a large audience – and with it, a lot of advertisement and promotion. This year’s championship game between Texas Tech and University of Virginia drew 19.6 million viewers (according to Nielsen), a 23% increase from last year’s game.

As far as advertising revenue, the tournament brought in an estimated $933 million to CBS and Turner (according to iSpot.tv). Of that total, $114 million (12%) was spent on ads during the championship game alone. Cost for 30 seconds of air time range around $1.4 million. Who were the biggest spenders?

  • AT&T Wireless – $68.0 million
  • Buick – $42.5 million
  • Geico – $36.4 million
  • Capital One – $31.6 million
  • Progressive – $27.9 million

These numbers are just for TV commercials. Now add in additional revenue for sponsorships, signage, events, and more!

How did your bracket do?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. Poll students: Who watched the NCAA men’s basketball games? How much did they watch? On what devices?
  3. What ads can they recall seeing?
  4. Show a highlight video of the final game: https://youtu.be/cm3OA8NRib4
  5. For the NCAA games, who is the target market? Is there a secondary target market?
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for NCAA games. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  7. Based on the target market profile, what makes this event unique for these viewers and advertisers?

Source: Jerde, S. (9 April 2010). NCAA championship game averages 19.6 million viewers. Ad Week.

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Tesla Shifts Retail Strategy, Then Shifts Again

Tesla, Tesla, Tesla… It’s so much fun to track this company. Not only are the products innovative and exciting to follow, it is also a marketing case study in nearly constant motion.

Case in point: At the end of February the company announced it would be closing its retail stores in order to cut costs and lower the pricing of the Model 3 to make it more affordable (at a starting price of $35,000). Tesla believes that car buyers will increasingly rely on on-line ordering instead of physical stores. Tesla stated that in North America, a customer can buy a Tesla on their phone in approximately a minute. Which begs the question, just because customers can do this, will they do it?

However, two weeks later, Tesla reversed its strategy and stated it would instead keep most of its 378 retail stores and would instead raise prices of cars by 3%, excluding the Model 3 cars. Tesla hoped to cut costs by closing stores, but landlords, customers, car dealers, and lawmakers protested the closings. The stores will still function as a showroom and location for test-drives, but sales will still be done online.

Where do you want to stop for your next car?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the distribution model used by Tesla and compare it to the distribution model used by other automotive manufacturers.
  2. Here is an interesting video on why Tesla cars cost so much: https://www.wsj.com/video/the-secret-to-why-a-tesla-costs-so-much-hint-batteries/65F3A21D-0837-4DA6-B739-612124815603.html (Hint – it’s the batteries.)
  3. Poll students: How many would buy a car online instead of at a dealer/store?
  4. What are advantages and disadvantages of buying cars online only?
  5. Why has Tesla disrupted the traditional automotive sales model?
  6. Will other automotive companies follow the Tesla model?

Source: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Assoc. Press, other news sources

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