It’s seriously hard to get good ROI figures on engaging bloggers in helping with marketing. Dunno why, I guess companies either can’t measure it, or are so happy, they don’t want to tip off the opposition. 😛 But here’s some (from WOMMA):

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Toyota Greece Takes Bloggers for a Test-Drive

Word of mouth marketing isn’t just an American trend. It’s a global phenomenon. As proof, one need only glance across the Atlantic to Greece, where Toyota recently completed a campaign in which it engaged a team of Greek bloggers to spread the word about its new hatchback model, the Auris.

Toyota wanted three things from its Greek Auris campaign. One, it needed to be digital. Two, it needed to put the car’s interior — its “cockpit” — front and center. And three, it needed to inspire test-drives and get consumers into the driver’s seat.

To achieve its goals, Toyota decided to let its customers market the Auris for it. It invited 15 Greek bloggers to test-drive the car for a week, and encouraged them to post their findings to an official Auris Blog as well as to their own blogs. The results:

* Bloggers wrote 55 posts about the Auris.

* Readers posted 175 comments to the bloggers’ posts.

* The Auris Blog received 52,000 visits from 41,000 unique visitors.

* The campaign generated 2,000 test-drive requests — 50% of all test-drive requests.

So, if you could talk with 15 bloggers and generate 2,000 quality leads as a result, and it didn’t cost you a sausage, why wouldn’t you? Anyway, what is the cost of letting 15 people test drive a car for a week?

Actually, I guess one area of concern is that traditional media know what side of their bread has got the organic butter on: bloggers only allegiance is to their passion and their conscience. So if your car (product/service) sucks, a magazine might be ‘even handed’ in their review. After all, you also pay for advertising, and they want to be invited to press events again. Bloggers will simply say it sucks and lists the reasons why. And that is the crux of the matter – why people trust social media and complete strangers to ‘expert testimony’ and ‘trained journalism’. Have fun translating the Auris blog, boys.