Customer Advisory Boards: Delivering Client Value through Peer Relationships

In her recent post on CustomerThink, Peers: The Secret Sauce to Advisory Board Success, Roanne Neuwirth shares that

“The formula for a successful customer advisory board is simple, but can be challenging to achieve: it’s all about reciprocal value. You have to create as much value for members as you expect to get out of it yourselves as the sponsoring company.”

This perspective is absolutely spot on.

However, the focus is often on the value the sponsoring organization will receive, and less so on the peer relationships that are forged between members—which is something we see happen as the trust and connection evolves over time. In reflecting on the value that customer advisory boards bring to the members we speak to often, three benefits come to mind.

Extend their network of peer sounding boards.

Customer advisory boards provide unique and safe venues for CXOs to share with each other best practices and lessons learned. For example, a technology leader working to build an agile environment can gain specific advice and perspectives from peers on how they are doing it. Or they may be struggling with vendor issues and look to others who are familiar with their challenges for guidance on how they have tackled similar situations.

Open up a cross-industry perspective that they don’t always have.

Often executives get to know players within their own industry, but cross-industry Boards bring access to peers in very different environments, providing new viewpoints and sometimes even open up potential partnerships. Tom Greene, Chief Information & Business Services Officer for Colgate-Palmolive shared his views on serving on customer advisory boards in a CIO Insight post. Peer access was a key area of importance, “The insights I gain from these conversations, due to the varied backgrounds of the participants, is something I value immensely above and well beyond the goals of the board.”

Deepen engagement with existing partners.

A CIO Board member shared during a regular one-on-one interview we conduct with Board members that she had recently had a two hour telepresence session with a fellow Board member CIO, during which they exchanged ideas. She was quite enthusiastic about the value of the conversation, and the deeper connection that resulted. While they are both from a similar industry and their organizations are existing partners, the two members did not know one another prior to meeting at the Board session – it was the Board that brought them together.

So when considering the value that comes from Customer Advisory Boards, do not forget the benefits experienced by members connecting to each other. Customer Advisory Boards are a crucial tool to fostering true peer relationships and providing the foundation for senior executives to interact with one another – inside and outside the Boardroom.

Related Stories

Membership Mix: Determining the Ideal Membership Equation for Your Customer Advisory Board

Posted on 11.21.2019 by in Customer Advisory Boards

Membership recruiting is foundational to the success of customer advisory boards and careful selection of the right mix of members is imperative to standing up a solid board. The key word in “customer advisory board” is customer. The advising client  

Continue Reading »

Progressing Customer Advisory Board Advice

Posted on 09.6.2019 by in Customer Advisory Boards, Featured

‘Closing the loop’ is a phrase we use frequently at Farland Group. The point of this phrase is to emphasize that an engagement with a client is only as good as the action taken after the customer advisory board meeting.  

Continue Reading »

Why A Customer Advisory Board

Posted on 08.1.2019 by in Customer Advisory Boards, Featured

Good relationships are about honesty, trust, and a shared commitment to agreed upon goals and mutual success. For clients to trust you, or anyone for that matter, you need to make commitments and follow through on the promises made or  

Continue Reading »

Customer Advisory Board Recruiting: Why it is the Most Important Thing

Posted on 06.20.2019 by in Customer Advisory Boards

So, the great news is you just got approval from senior leadership for a Customer Advisory Board, but now what do you do? Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) are an integral part of an overall customer marketing program. However, they are  

Continue Reading »


Customer Advisory Boards

An advisory board is a powerful engine of engagement, insight, and business transformation. Make the most of yours.

A Board Success Factor: Business and Industry Expertise » Advisory Boards: How to Extend the Value »

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

Want to improve your standing with your C-suite customers? Deliver what executives want: ideas, inspiration, innovation, influence.

C-Suite Insight: Digital Disruption » Looking to Engage Executives? First, Understand What They Want »

Learn More »