Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) are an integral part of an overall customer marketing program, but they are very different engagement vehicles from events and require a special kind of mindset and planning for the long term. Of all the activities requiring immediate attention once you decide to create a Customer Advisory Board, membership recruiting is one of the most important, and is necessary to create a strong foundation.
Determining the best membership mix for your Board can be challenging as there are so many variables to take into account. Some of the recruiting basics to consider are:
Customer Advisory Board Size
- What is the ideal number of members to have in a meeting – be it virtual or in-person – to create the right tone and conversation?
- Given your desired ideal number of members ‘at the meeting table’, how many members should be on the overall Board roster to guarantee robust meeting attendance?
- Do you want clients only, or a mix of clients and prospects?
- Are you considering a blend of longtime customers and those who are new to your client list?
- What is the client spend with your company?
- Do the target members have strong relationships with your senior executives?
Member Demographics & Diversity
- Will your geographical mix be global or more regional?
- What industries / sectors is your organization seeking input from?
- Does your target list have sufficient gender diversity?
- Are there certain areas of expertise that you are seeking for your Board?
- Are the individuals seen as leaders in their profession and industry? Would they be a draw for others to be connected to, creating a ‘halo effect’ for your Board?
Once you’ve determined the ‘ideal member’ attributes and have created your initial target list, take the time to develop a matrix that will highlight any gaps and you can actively recruit to fill those holes.
Assembling your Customer Advisory Board membership and reaching critical mass for your inaugural meeting will take longer than you think and requires consistent follow through. But by focusing your time and energy on this key activity, you will be creating a solid base for your Board.