Elon Musk is relentless – both in his pursuit of greatness and acquiring customers through marketing for all of his businesses.
Marketing is an endless long-tail game. Making marketing decisions in this ever-changing world is not only an art or science but marketers need to recognise the opportunities and threats hidden in this digitalised business environment. Whether you cash in on a fad, trend or a mega-trend, your goal has to match with the users’ goal and your offering has to be irresistible. Above all, it has to be sustainable. This calls for a disciplined method of collecting information about customers and continuously monitoring user goals. And, in this context, “research and surveys” play a strategic role towards gaining the right insight.
But, is there any structured formula to conduct customer research and survey? Can this help in forecasting demand? These few strategies are plucked directly from Elon Musk’s business gambles.
“Good Judgment Comes From Experience And Good Experience Comes From Bad Judgment”
Elon Musk, the real-life Iron Man starts every day with a bigger vision for his company to change the world and humanity. Born in South Africa in 1971, Elon Musk started his first business, Zip2, at age 24. He has a list of primary business pursuits today including, SpaceX, the tunnel digging Boring Company, Tesla, OpenAI, Neuralink, Hyperloop and much more to come like the newly-proposed VTOL. He believes in working on things that are unlikely to succeed, and with the right vision, he aims to succeed. Interestingly his goal to dig the tunnel faster through his boring company is not working well. Things are going slower than the snail’s crawl, he claims!
Elon Musk recently admitted his mistake for not strategising properly with Tesla’s SUV model X. The model was too complicated and costly. He could admit his mistake for not making this SUV as utility based on certain survey and feedback. A typical example of understanding what your customers are doing and responding.
But, yet another interesting aspect here is that he did not stop. Elon Musk re-focussed and re-implemented strategies that can take him closer to his long-term vision with this SUV model. Significant improvements were made.
Result: Consumer Reports’ Annual Satisfaction Survey recently found 88 percent of Tesla owners would buy it again.
The lesson that one can learn from this is, go ahead and admit your mistake if you have made any, but eventually, learn from your mistake. “Every cloud has a silver lining.” But, you can arrive at this stage only if you follow your customers and read their interests and expectations.
Elon Musk believes in engaging customers around those experiences that they value. The results are seen. “We say the things that we believe even when sometimes those things are delusional,” noted Musk. He has the right motivation.
So, what do we pick from this story?
Follow your customers.
By doing this, you are closer to creating the right revolution.
How To “Follow” Your Customers According To Elon Musk
This is a preliminary investigation.
- What type of information do you get?
- What type of information do you need?
- What is economically feasible?
- Can the process be done legally and ethically?
Define And Develop A Research Plan
Market surveys stand as one of the best ways to understand your market and demand. Define the objective and the scope. Time every survey perfectly. Establish and maintain all parameters. Make use of social media too. This could fetch you the best, real and immediate results. Have a separate plan to build and measure social media ROI.
Dig Into The Customer Data
- Data which is not processed, analysed, and interpreted is of no use. Rather it is a sign of danger to hold data without any purpose.
- Tap into customer data and insights.
- Collect both demographic data (general) and psychographic data (interests, belief, lifestyles, attitudes, behaviours).
- Marketers need to collect timely, precise and actionable information about customers and competitors.
Spend On Your Brand Research
- How is your product performing?
- Are customers seeing a value in your product?
- What major changes would they wish to see in your product?
- What is your competitive advantage?
Bring Life To Your Research Via Personas
You need to add life to the research you conducted by making it more fictional. This helps in understanding their needs, goals, behaviours, and expectations. By doing this, you are better placed to offer the best experiences that you customers expect from your brand. Include personas as your marketing tool and make adjustments and improvements accordingly. The method is sure to pack a punch.
Quantify And Interpret
Once your researches and surveys are in place, it is important to measure them and interpret your results. You can identify your strengths and weakness at this point in time. So, the next step is to make the right decision.
Make The Right Decision
You have all the facts and intuition ready at this stage. Summarise the data and report it well. Such a research plan should now help you to make the right decision.
Back in 2013, the American Marketing Association defined the word marketing as, “the activity; set of institutions; and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
Today, with digitalisation the same definition goes as, “activities, institutions, and processes facilitated by digital technologies for creating, communicating and delivering value for customers and other stakeholders.”
Unfortunately, the challenge lies in tackling the changes that are happening at a frenetic pace in this digital landscape. Technological shifts are creating both opportunities and threat to both existing business and the upcoming ones. Strategising with the right team at the right time and with the right tool can save you from derailing.
Just keep in mind not to be left behind. By now you understand the real power of customers. Brands have no choice but to match user goals. A good research and survey of both your customers and market will help every marketer understand the strength and weakness of every brand. If Elon Musk has been doing this, so should you.