Mercedes has developed social media initiatives aimed at "digital natives," folks 16-to-33 that have grown up with the web, that don't stop at posting photos and blasting a few characters at a time. One is a community called Gen-Benz, with 580 members who provide Mercedes comments and commentary on the brand.

The other forum for feedback comes via a group of 1,800 M-B Advisers who provide feedback on the marque's advertising and branding. Interestingly, Mercedes has used the group to get input on marketing the SLS AMG, not just the models you might think more appropriate for the 16-to-33 demographic.

The results being promoted do raise an eyebrow. In one instance, some Gen-Benz members were dispatched to dealers as mystery shoppers and they reported that dealers didn't treat them well, a verdict that Mercedes' VP of marketing described as "a truth we wouldn't have known about for a couple of years." In another case the M-B Advisers told Mercedes to stick with an emotional pitch for its SLS AMG, yet we aren't sure how many other ways there are to advertise a nearly $200,000 car. Still, a fairly conservative company going this far to interact with current and new buyers is a smart move.

[Source: MediaPost]

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