Reviews for Tesla's Model 3 are out, of which the vast majority are quite favorable which is a credit to Elon Musk. There was one particular review Elon Musk singled out on Twitter, where he often muses.

Tom Randall from Bloomberg spoke highly of the Model 3, but in particular made reference to a sub-culture of Tesla superconsumers who have taken their Tesla's camping. The Model 3 can comfortably fit someone six foot nine inches in the back with the seats folded down. It has a great ceiling for star gazing. And it keeps the climate comfortable with just seven percent of the battery.

Whether 'camper mode' was intentional or not is uncertain, but it looks like a case of superconsumers finding new use cases for an existing product. Winning the camping consumer segment may not be the difference maker per se for Tesla, but it highlights the opportunity every startup or large company has to re-invent and re-energize marketing, selling and innovation.

In my book, Superconsumers, I explain why the highest passion and highest profit consumers of a category spend so much. It is because they have discovered multiple use cases beyond the norm for a category that makes their lives much better. They get more value out of the category and hence spend more. It's not a matter than they have more money.

My friend Taddy Hall calls this 'jobs theory', where consumers don't buy products as much as they hire them for a specific job. Superconsumers spend more because they have a wider variety of jobs, from entry level jobs to executive level jobs.

New Everyday Uses: The Entry Level Job

Champagne and sparkling wine have strong seasonal spikes in the holidays as you would imagine. However, if you look at sparkling wine superconsumers, you noticed that their spending is consistent all year.

Digging deeper it was interesting that superconsumers were using sparkling wine as a beer replacement. They didn't like the taste of beer, but wanted something cool, refreshing and bubbly. So why not sparkling wine? One company took advantage of this insight to innovate smaller, single serve bottles to better serve this demand and to let superconsumers convince other beer rejecters to follow their lead.

This is critically important for infrequently used or very expensive products. To become more relevant, you need an everyday use case. Smoothing seasonality can have a dramatic impact to your operational efficiency and bottom line.

New In Between Uses: The Middle Management Job

Tesla's camper mode is a great example of this. It's not just autopilot mode for your daily commute, which would be your entry level job. It's not the ludicrous mode, where you show off by going from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, which is an executive job.

Camping in your Tesla is somewhere in the middle. You don't do it frequently and it is of in between importance. But having it just adds that much more benefit to the value equation so you're less price sensitive and more willing to recommend Tesla to a friend.

This can be effective for sales, especially when you have someone on the bubble of buying. A great middle management job/use case can be just enough to push them over the edge.

New Higher Order Uses: The Executive Job

Cracker superconsumers were another interesting set of consumers. I had them draw cartoons, psychological drawings, depicting a cracker superconsumer and their lives. A surprising number of them kept drawing outdoor, active lifestyles.

Probing deeper, what was fascinating was that many of these cracker superconsumers had recently decided to change their lifestyle to eat better and exercise more. One of the key things they needed to solve for was their love of potato chips.

So instead, on their own they decided that crackers could be the 'Nicorette' of chips and personal nutritionist for them. Crackers are similarly salty, crunchy and satiating, but much slower to eat than chips. This life hack enabled them to get their salty, crunchy fix, but slow them down long enough for their brain to tell them they were full.

A nutritionist, personal trainer and life coach are all executive level jobs that you would not expect a basic snack brand could do, but more often than not superconsumers confound our core assumptions. Much of consumer packaged goods and big food are losing share and relevance. In part it is because they are everyday products without higher order aspirations. Solving for this is the key to surviving and thriving again.

Published on: Aug 14, 2017