Building Customer Value through Advisory Boards

Customer advisory boards enable organizations to gain insights into markets and the competitive landscape, receive advice on key strategic areas, and to more deeply understand trends that may affect their business. Customers join advisory boards with certain objectives in mind as well, such as the opportunity to engage with peers and thought leaders, the access to key senior executives, and to help shape the strategies of their business partners.

In order for boards to thrive, there must be reciprocal value for both the sponsoring company and the clients they bring together. Here are a few things to consider when developing and managing executive advisory boards to ensure that all parties experience the benefits.

Act on advice. Advisory boards are created to advise, but is the advice always fed back into the organization? Board members spend valuable time providing strategic advice and will expect that insight incorporated into strategies, roadmaps, services, and products. Meeting agendas that are created solely with the organization’s interests in mind or that lack progress against the challenges discussed in the board meetings will put board member participation at risk. Take the time during board meetings to acknowledge that you hear their advice and share with the board tangible ways their insight has helped move a strategy forward or resulted in new product or service innovations.

Reward members. Keep board engagement strong by giving them an early glimpse into a new strategy or offering, or provide them the opportunity to engage with a thought leader they may not get access to elsewhere. Being the first to hear about innovative solutions to problems, or new content and thought leadership adds extra value that customers appreciate, and will ensure their interest in sharing their advice back with you.

Provide access to executives. Board members often mention to us how much they appreciate when senior executives of the sponsoring company attended – and stayed at – the board meetings as engaged participants. Customers are able to access the executive team at one time, and can easily engage them for informal conversations as well as the formal sessions.

Cultivate true peer connections. Advisory board members often mention the importance of being able to interact with their peers as one of the biggest benefits of participating in boards. Case in point, we recently spoke with one CIO who has engaged with a number of other members outside of the board meetings. This is a testament to the power of the peer. Examine the makeup of the board membership carefully to ensure that you have the right mix of members to create a true peer conversation.

Reciprocal value is key to sustaining customer advisory boards. What are some of the ways you are giving to get?

Related Stories

Building a Strong Membership is Key to Customer Advisory Board Success

Posted on 03.25.2021 by in Customer Advisory Boards

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  

Continue Reading »

Staying Connected in a Virtual World

Posted on 12.15.2020 by in Customer Advisory Boards

My colleague Camille Antonetti recently shared that her word to describe 2020 was ‘adaptability’, which got me thinking about the word that sums up 2020 for me. Connected is my word. Given many of us have been working from  

Continue Reading »

Taking your Customer Advisory Board Meetings Virtual

Posted on 04.13.2020 by in Customer Advisory Boards

As my colleague Camille Antonetti wrote in her recent blog, COVID-required social distancing and stay at home measures have necessitated organizations to shift their in-person events and meetings to virtual platforms. In our work at Farland Group, we have  

Continue Reading »

Customer Advisory Board Charter: Do You Need One?

Posted on 03.5.2020 by in Customer Advisory Boards

You’ve stood up your Customer Advisory Board (CAB), recruited your client members, completed a successful CAB meeting and are working through all of the follow-on activities. One of those activities should be to create a Customer Advisory Board Charter.  

Continue Reading »


Customer Advisory Boards

Customer Advisory Boards are powerful engines of engagement, insight, and business transformation. Make the most of yours.

Meeting Facilitation: Virtual and In-Person Boards » Taking Your Customer Advisory Board Meetings Virtual »

Learn More »

Engagement Strategy

Like any good relationship, customer engagement is a long-term, reciprocal effort. When done well, meaningful engagement leads to better business results, faster.

Engage Your Customers to Help You Stop Pitching » Getting to a Customer Engagement Mindset »

Learn More »

Understanding the C-Suite

Building C-level programs that are meaningful and bring value to you as well as to your c-suite customers is challenging. Veiled sales pitches won’t win the day with this audience. Deliver what executives want: ideas, inspiration, innovation, influence.

Building a C-Suite Client Experience Strategy » Do you Know What Your Customers Value? »

Learn More »