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What Lil Nas X & Tesla's Marketing Have in Common

By Angelica Fierro on

Confused by the title? Just listen and it will all make sense. Lil Nas X & Tesla have more in common in their marketing strategy than you would think.



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Here is the transcript:


Hey, everyone, welcome back to another episode of the Marketing cave. As you can see in the title of this one, somehow I've made a connection between little Nas X the rapper, hip hop artist, country singer, and the company Tesla when it comes to their marketing and advertising. So the way that this idea kind of came about was I got asked to go speak at my alma mater, Texas State University. And by the time that this episode is actually published, I will have just finished speaking there. So when I started thinking about what am I going to talk to a bunch of college students about? These are all Journalism and Mass Communications students, which is the school I went to so I can kind of understand but I'm a good few years removed from being in college. So I was trying to put myself back in their shoes and think about what a college kids care about what interests them. What Do they know about the corporate business world? Or do they not know about it? And what inside Can I share? What can I do to actually kind of come up with something that resonated and that they could actually relate to? 

I had just watched this video from these two youtuber filmmaker entrepreneurs. Their names are calling in Samir and I'll put the link to the video in the show notes so you guys can check it out. But in the video, they really take a deep dive into how little Nas X Old Town road took this like meteoric rise over a very short span of time. And what's really interesting is he isn't Taylor Swift to have a big budget to put behind you know, YouTube commercials promoting his song and putting it out on promoted songs on Soundcloud and all those things but what he did have is a really incredible understanding of the internet and and how creating content that can be shareable and passed along can really amplify your message quickly on different platforms and different places. 

So to give you a little bit of backstory on this Little Nas X now teen years old didn't have a job. And I think he was like living with his grandma was we're just recording songs in his closet. He found the beat for this on YouTube and he paid $30 for it. He then recorded it and uploaded it to soundcloud and Spotify and all these other places, which is nothing different, right? There are a million different SoundCloud rappers out there who are doing this on a regular basis. The difference is, he understood the value of content and the value of morality of that content when it gets shared and passed along. So he literally spent hours making memes over two different clips of videos with his song in the background. And he uploaded them to tic tok and he shared them on Twitter and literally was just constantly doing that. As soon as he started to see some of those videos get retweets and to get shared and it started picking up some traction. He knew he had something and again, deep understanding of how the internet works. He went to Reddit and he created a subreddit that said what's that song? That goes horses in the back or what's that song that says Old Town road. And literally knowing that people can't go search Google singing the song they know it's a text based search, or if they can sing a song or know the lyrics, it's not going to pull up a video or or a music video, it's going to pull up a text based result. He knew that if someone was searching for those lyrics, that subreddit that he created himself would then show up in the results. And then he knew that if he linked to Spotify into YouTube, and all the places that you can stream the music, he could then get people to actually find the song, stream it, share it and increase the overall awareness of the song and it worked. 

This means that he shared or that he uploaded to tic tok got reused and revamped and people were making their own versions of it. There were hundreds of thousands of tech talks made with his song in the background, so and that song Old Town road ended up debuting on Billboard's cross genre hot 100 chart, the Hot Country Songs chart and the hot r&b hip hop songs, charts. All at once. And then I'm sure as most of you know, it ended up being the longest running number one single in Billboard Hot 100 history, which is 60 years. And he was on there for 17 weeks straight as the number one song beating out, people like Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber who had previously held that same record. 

So the example or the point that I want to make with little know sex is that when you understand the power of content, and how people sharing that content can amplify your message and extend your reach. You all of a sudden have just as much power as any big major corporation or someone who has signed to a major record label. And speaking of that, he recently signed a multi million dollar deal with Columbia Records, all from a $30 beat he recorded in a closet and then use the internet to his advantage to get him where he is. And if you ask him he even says it was no mistake. It wasn't just a thing that he stumbled upon or happened to take off. He was very intentional with the way that he wanted to share the content. Get it out there spread the awareness and really did work.

 So the next example is Tesla, obviously, I'm sure anyone who's watching or listening to this is familiar with Tesla and Elon Musk. But what's really interesting about him and Tesla that also is very similar to Little Nas X is that there's a report out there that shows number of advertising dollar spent per car sold. And it compares all the major car retailers for this, you know, certain category that they fit into. They literally spend zero dollars in advertising or marketing per car sold, which boils down to they don't pay for ads, they don't do Super Bowl commercials, they don't do radio spots, they don't do any type of advertising at all. And when I say advertising, I mean in the traditional sense, they're not putting money behind anything to spread awareness or get their message out or make big announcements. But what Tesla does really well is content that and they leverage the media and news coverage to amplify their message rather than putting $1 spin behind it to get it out there.

A great example of this was a little while back Elon Musk's other company SpaceX launched the rocket or the spaceship Falcon Heavy. There was a ton of media coverage around us it was a big deal. There are people who drove to the site to watch them launch this rocket. It was a really well documented very big deal. So of course, Elon Musk being the genius he is knew he couldn't pass on the opportunity to get a little additional, a little bit of additional legs out of this. So what did he do? He strapped a Tesla Roadster to that rocket before it took off. And of course, there's a whole YouTube video showing them the process, putting the car on the rocket, and now that car is literally up there orbiting the sun as we speak. And because there was so much media coverage, and so many people tweeting about it and filming it, it's a historic moment that people naturally also saw that his Tesla Roadster was strapped to the rocket. So it became a spectacle. It was a big deal. People were talking about it, they were tweeting it and how much money did it cost for him to get that exposure and get that message out there that he strapped a car to a rocket zero dollars obviously cost money to send the rocket up there and cost money to put the car on the rocket. All that cost money But did he pay anyone to see that message? No. 

The other thing that Tesla are really what Ilan does really well is Twitter. He has 28 million in something followers on Twitter and is constantly interacting with people he's reacting to means he's retweeting anime stuff that he's into. He's just himself. But the other piece about this is there was a guy who was complaining about Hey, that the dinging in my Tesla is too loud. And his name was like Ted or something. And he was like, it's too loud. It's waking up my kid who's sleeping in the backseat. Elon saw retweeted said, Yeah, we'll fix it. And now in the new software update, you really have like Ted mode, and you can just click the toggle. If you want to have lower volumes. People see that and they react to it, they retweet it, they share it, it gets picked up on news coverage. He also is just himself in the sense that he was tweeting and responding to people and Twitter actually shut his account down because they thought that he'd been So that's how active he is getting out there in front of his followers getting shares getting retweeted. And that's content, right. And he's not paying for that. It's other people tuning into what he has to say and then amplifying his message for him. 

And there's actually one other example that I want to give that isn't in the title of this just because it would be too long and obnoxious. But the makeup company glossier, so the founder of glossier, her name is Emily Weiss, and she noticed that she just didn't really like the way that big brand makeup was selling to, or kind of like dictating the way that people should wear makeup or telling them how to look or feel. So she started her own makeup company, and she just wanted to do things differently. So their business model is just direct to consumer. They don't go into any big stores, they don't work with retailers, they literally are direct to consumer. And what allows them to do is really control that narrative, right? In her words, she's like, I know what my customer wants, I know what they've bought. I know what they previously have looked at and care about and that way they can communicate with those customers exactly the way that they want to be communicated with the other really big thing that they did is they created a community and they allow that community to share and to create content and talk about their favorite looks and products and how to use them. 

If you go look at glossies YouTube channel, they have like 140 something subscribers, each video gets maybe you know, 50 to 100,000 views. If you search glossier review on YouTube, the first five results has over 5 million views combined. So they've created a community where people want to share they want to give their insight on how the makeup works and what they like about it, what they don't like about it. And that's allowed them to again amplify their message and reach more and more people without having to actually create that content themselves or pay to get that message out. Again, I understand influencer marketing, there may be some dollar spent there or at least some dollar spent to send all those products for free so that they'll review them. But the biggest thing is is their company has a voice. They have a community people feel a part of it. And it's all amplified by content YouTube being one big example but they also have a huge social media following will repost people who We're in the community on their page and and that is now a billion dollar business. 

So I share all of those examples with you of little Nas X, Tesla and glossier to really make two points. The first one with Little Nas X is the power of content is huge. If you can create content that other people want to interact with, and they want to share and they care about and they find it entertaining, you can get your message out there significantly faster in a more viral way. The second point that aligns more with Tesla and glossier is these big brands that have a personality or they have some type of belonging for you as a customer, and you can relate to their brand and to their messaging and what they're trying to accomplish. Those types of companies have so much more success with consumers because it's something that they can identify with. Now, obviously, those are very b2c type examples, but really where this is starting to bleed over into b2b, in the b2b space, you're still selling, you're still marketing to people, right? So the more that you can look like or interact with, or present yourself the way that a b2c The brand does, the more likely you are to have success and to relate to those customers and engage with them and and actually grow your reputation as a brand. 

So that's really it for this episode, I really just wanted to share these examples that kind of connected in my mind and ways that people are using content, not necessarily spending a lot of money or having a huge ad budget, but really investing in creating content and interacting with their customers and building a brand that people can identify and resonate with. So I hope that you can take this and apply this to your marketing. I know sometimes in the b2b space, it's not this glamorous, it's not this cool and flashy. But that's a challenge that I think you should accept head on. Try to find a way to give your company a brand that people gravitate towards. So that's all for this episode this week. Thank you so much for tuning in and I will see you in the next one.

topicIcon content creation, The Marketing Cave