Tesla doesn’t need to do market research, even though some critics believe it should. This statement may seem a bit extreme, or even radical, but when a market is already saturated with too much of the same thing, that market begins to crave something different — something fresh. Tesla has provided this time and again with its electric vehicles and is taking on the energy sector as well. Also, Tesla isn’t your traditional company out there just aiming to cash in and move on to the next version of the same old thing. Tesla does its own thing in a way that benefits the world, Tesla, and ultimately its customers.
— 🔋Tristan Arkesteijn🔋 #ikdoewelmee (@TArkesteijn) December 2, 2019
Tristan Arkesteijn shared an article by a popular but non-mainstream website that is well known for publishing very critical articles on Tesla. This piece argues that Tesla not doing market research is absurd and it paints the Cybertruck as the ultimate disaster of a product.
First, let’s define what market research actually is. According to the Oxford Dictionary, market research is the “action or activity of gathering information about consumers’ needs and preferences.” Traditional market research means spending hours and dollars trying to figure out who your market is and how to get them to notice and then buy your product.
However, the very act of interacting with your customers on Twitter is a form of market research. Elon may not be pouring billions into data streams, but he collected much feedback from fans on Twitter when developing the Cybertruck. He listens to his customers when they express the need for things like Dog Mode, Caraoke, and more nuanced features and improvements to make his products even better.
Who Is Tesla’s Market?
Let’s look at Tesla’s market. Who is the target customer for Tesla? Think about it before you answer that question. Tesla isn’t just a car company, nor is it just a leader in the automotive industry. Tesla is also producing solar and battery products for your home. Tesla is in the market in order to change how we use energy.
That means the target is almost everyone, anyone. Let me be specific: People who drive and who own homes. Hubspot explains that when it comes to doing market research, you should first define your buyer persona. Anyone could be Tesla’s buyer persona. Elon Musk is targeting as broad a portion of the population as possible, because eventually everyone needs to switch to using more sustainable energy.
Anyone who interacts with Elon on Twitter about Tesla products is providing market research. Every time he answers someone’s request on Twitter about a Tesla product or says, “That’s a good idea, we’ll use it,” Elon is engaging with market research. This engagement does help to develop better products and improve existing ones. There really isn’t a need for the “market research” the above article rests its arguments on.
Why Tesla Doesn’t Need Market Research
On November 21, 2019, @elonmusk unveiled what is largely considered to be the greatest evolution in vehicular fashion & function.
— Viv 🐉 (@flcnhvy) December 2, 2019
Tesla’s market has been continuously growing as the Model 3 continues to sell worldwide and more and more people discover the car and its many benefits, which the Tesla team built in because they knew those things made the car useful, great, better. Elon Musk and crew worry less about soft signals from market research and spend more time thinking about what would make a vehicle awesome to them. Doing that has led to great success, because it turns out that things they think would be great many other people think are great as well.
As Tristan pointed out earlier in that tweet above, Nokia spent millions of dollars doing market research and came to the conclusion that smartphones were a passing fad. Market research is great for businesses that are selling products that never change much, to help determine which minimal changes to implement for broader consumer appeal. Cars were once a part of that group, examples of products like ink pens and sketchbooks that don’t fundamentally change much from year to year. However, EVs change that — or, at least, provide the opportunity to change things. Elon Musk’s Tesla crew take the challenge head on and tackle it without fear of lacking consumer interest. They make what they think is useful, fun, and exciting. It turns out, other people tend to think the same about these improvements.
Tesla is a company that is here to change how the auto market does things. Elon Musk has been following the company’s Secret Master Plan and Master Plan, Part Deux, and that’s been working very well for Tesla. Why change strategy? Elon Musk’s hunch was that the truck market was craving something different — something fresh. He has given people this with the Cybertruck. It seems the market is happy with this.