Toyota Uses Microsite to Track Drivers’ Travels
To prove that its FJ Cruiser is a badass off-road contender, Toyota hit the road, literally, sending three teams of professional drivers across the country to reach off-road enthusiasts at small local gatherings, large off-road expos and trail parks. To make the experience last long after the thrill of on-site ride-and-drive experiences were over, Toyota turned to technology. An interactive microsite kept tabs on the three teams as they traversed the continent, leads were transferred nightly into the Toyota lead management system and photo ops were created at the height of excitement for test drivers.
From February to October, 2009, teams with Toyota FJ Cruiser, Forerunner and Tacoma trucks connected with key influencers in the discriminating four-wheeling community at grassroots events ranging from the demanding Rubicon Trail high in the California Sierras to the dense forests of Tennessee’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Attendees registered at computer stations on site where they provided contact information and signed a digital waiver before driving one of the vehicles over a pre-determined off-road course. As they put their pedal to the metal, drivers were photographed via “burst” cameras (multiple photos are taken in quick succession) so when they retrieved their photos online, the shots were shown together to demonstrate them tackling a tough obstacle. The photo op also served as a lead-gathering tool and a springboard for additional dialogue if attendees opted in. The event microsite at toyotatrail teams.com, housed team schedules, blogs, videos from the event and consumer activity photos. Visitors to the site could meet the team members, email videos to friends and view photos as background music heightened the excitement.
It all worked together to prove the competence of the vehicles over some of the toughest trails that can be found and to leverage word of mouth and positive feedback from key influencers to the general public.
“The technology added on both sides,” says Keith Dahl, National Manager of Event Marketing at Toyota. “From the company side, it was an efficient and timely way to communicate and gather information and from the participant’s side, it was quick and easy. The photo opportunity allowed them to engage in the event and have a memento of it afterward. We felt it was a win-win all around.”
Nearly 10,000 riders drove a Trail Team vehicle on the courses; 35,000 people had their photos taken at the events and nearly 5,000 photos were sent to friends and family by participants. More than 1.2 million Trail Teams email newsletters were delivered. But perhaps most important, nearly 2,000 consumers opted in to receive more information about Toyota vehicles.