Marketing – 5 Lessons from Big Idea Guy, Elon Musk – Infographic

Saying Elon Musk Is Marketing Savvy Is An Understatement

Tesla Grand Opening in Menlo Park - Tesla Chai...

You won’t hear his name everyday and he doesn’t search out the spotlights. But as the co-founder of PayPal, the Father of Tesla Motors and the genius behind SpaceX,  there are many marketing lessons Elon Musk can teach the everyday marketer.

5 Marketing Lessons

1.  Power of planning – Here is a guy who identified three critical industries that represented phenomenal growth and potential while he was in college – the Internet, Transportation and Space.  He made his money in the Internet arena, which funded his efforts in creating the first all electric car with Tesla Motors, and his recent forays into space travel with SpaceX.

The simple act of identifying areas of opportunity, Musk was able to put himself in the game and to capitalize. Granted, he did all on a grandiose scale, but he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what he did if he didn’t have a plan.

Lesson:  Do you have a marketing plan for your business?

2.  Conviction – He left home at 17 to avoid compulsory military service.  Why?  Because:

“Suppressing black people didn’t seem like a good way to spend my time.”

Lesson:  Knowing where to spend your time and resources is critically important to your business’ overall success. But more importantly is your conviction to spend your time on the things that really matter.

3.  Focus – Musk taught himself how to program at the ripe age of 10 and drop out of Standford after two days to start his first business venture – Zip2.

Lesson:  Good marketing requires focus – focus on a specific audience, what they want and a focus on how best to fill that want.

4.  Dreams Bigger – Musk has injected big ideas into every industry he’s touched while following the basic marketing principle of delivering a product or service that people want.

People want a safe way to transact on the Internet.  Enter PayPal.

People want to do the ‘green’ thing, but still want and need transportation to travel farther than 100 miles.  Answer: Tesla.

Image representing Tesla Motors as depicted in...

Image via CrunchBase

Not only did Elon Musk create the first totally electric car, but Tesla is a design and performance stunner that can travel up to 300 miles on one charge.  In conversations with the local Tesla rep, Musk’s marketing plan includes the creation of a national grid of electric power stations and an SUV model to fill family needs.  As costs go down, the Tesla technology can evolve into commercial vehicles.

NASA was struggling and expensive.  Enter the SpaceX Dragon.

Not only is Musk the only privately funded entity to fly into outer space, but he figured out how to fund his future space business by transporting cargo to the International Space Station.  From there, his dream of transporting people to Mars is but a hop, skip and a jump away.

Lesson:  Dreaming big isn’t limited to outer space or high performance cars.  Every business owner can dream a little bigger and make a big difference to the bottom line.

5.  Drive and Determination – When he ran out of money to fund SpaceX, he had to turn to banks and friends to keep his dream alive.  According to Musk:

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it”.

Lesson: For most of you, your business is your life’s blood.  It feeds you and you feed it.  Drive and determination are what will keep you and your business going.

Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX efforts may seem totally out of reach to many small business owners.  But that’s not the point.

The point is that the characteristics Musk demonstrates – the diligent planning, the marketing savvy of filling wants and needs, the focus and determination that Musk displays in all of his initiatives – are not unique to him.  These are available to all who are in business.

So the question is:  How can you use these marketing lessons to make your business stronger?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Below is a over-the-top infographic of Elon Musk’s Iron Man feats created by: I think you’ll enjoy.


If you found this post interesting, join our list of readers and feel free to share this post with others.


Elon Musk: The Real Life Tony Stark

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - LinkedIn - Google Plus

Posted in Marketing Lessons and tagged , , , , , , .


  1. I would seriously call into question alot about this article; for example:

    He HAS SAID at age 17 he wanted to change space, payments, and cars….but really? Did he say he just wanted those three things? I can almost 90% guarantee there is some revisionist history. Its almost far more certain, he was aware of payments as a way to make money and after he did he did the two things he really DID want to do.

    The same objections can be leveled at almost all of the 5 “lessons” you stated.

    Dont get me wrong I hold enormous respect for Musk, but a lesson that is learned that is based upon a biased unverifiable claim as opposed to a fact is not a very good lesson to be learned.

    • Usman:

      I’m not certain what is really bothering you.

      If it are the Musk quotes that I’ve pulled from articles and interviews OR if it is the fact that I used the word “lesson”. If there is any “revisionist history” going on, then it is happening outside of this blog and is in the form of 60 minute interviews and others of the man.

      You are most welcomed to “verify” or to disprove any of these statements. I can assure you, the quotes are indeed quotes.

      I would also suggest that you seem to be missing the bigger point. That being that the lessons of planning, dream big, having focus, etc. are the characteristics that have helped Mr. Musk achieve what he has. They are shared traits among many successful people and that they are lessons for any business owner.

  2. Pingback: 16 Genius Quotes From Eccentric Billionaire Elon Musk (TSLA) | Lord of the Net

  3. Pingback: 16 Genius Quotes From Eccentric Billionaire Elon Musk (TSLA) « INTLFACES

  4. Pingback: 他何以是當代傳奇?Elon Musk 的十二句名言 - Inside 硬塞的網路趨勢觀察

  5. Pingback: 11 ELON MUSK QUOTES THAT SHOW HIS GENIUS | GetRichOnlineGuru

  6. Pingback: Why We're Keeping a Watchful Eye on Tesla (and Elon Musk) - Eco Warrior Princess

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *