This is the eleventh in our series of key takeaways from some of the presentations and panel discussions offered at the Social Commerce Summit in May 2008.

Sam Decker, Chief Marketing Officer at Bazaarvoice, Seth Greenberg, Director of Online Advertising and Internet Media at Intuit and Matt Corey, VP of Marketing at Golfsmith joined forces to present Real-World Tips to Evolve into a Customer-Centric Culture.

One resounding concern from senior marketing executives is how to champion change in a large organization – how to create a sustained culture shift that improves a company from the top-down.

Both Matt Corey and Seth Greenberg drove change throughout their organizations by using customer reviews as a “Trojan horse” for positive, customer-embracing culture.

According to Matt Corey, getting senior management on-board with a customer-centered strategy requires both financial and philosophical proof.  First, show your senior managers the ROI of your proposals.  Remember, it all begins with the P&L, and money is the language of business.  Leverage case studies, and be sure to define the measures of your success.

To appeal to the philosophical side of the business, see online examples of other best-in-breed brands.  What are they doing differently?  How are they engaging their customers?  Use those discoveries to fuel a unique vision for your brand. Also find relevant articles to support your point, and circulate them where necessary.  Matt recommends reading Roger Fisher’s Getting to Yes.

Seth Greenberg made similar inroads at Intuit, where even their new logo has come to directly reflect their commitment to customer-centricity.  Seth embarked on a campaign he calls “Socializing Social,” which he describes as having the courage to open up his brand.

Seth was a pioneer of user-generated advertising, launching the largest online campaign to promote customer reviews (see “Intuit Launched the Largest Online Promotion of Customer Reviews in History”). But he took customer engagement to the next level with a Vanilla Ice endorsement and a video contest called The Tax RapSeth’s philosophy: “We need to make fun of ourselves before they make fun of us.”  Today, TurboTax and Intuit have made tremendous progress online by embracing the power of customer-created content.

From reviews to video and beyond, Seth and Matt both helped drive “customer oxygen” throughout their organizations.

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