How to Cook Up a Killer Customer Advisory Board

Two of my biggest passions are cooking and baking. I spend a fair amount of time reading cookbooks, culinary magazines and pouring over food-related Pinterest boards to create a memorable meal. My professional passion is helping our clients to convene an engaged, vibrant Customer Advisory Board and amazingly these have a lot in common!

Advisory Boards, like cooking, are not an exact science. Baking requires precise measuring and careful following of steps; too much or too little of a single ingredient could have disastrous results. Cooking, however, allows for flexibility and improvisation. Advisory Boards, similar to cooking, use a recipe or cookbook as a guide, but the development of an Advisory Board is not an exact science and in fact requires flexibility to adapt and shift over time to meet the needs of the members and the sponsoring organization.

Recipes guide cooking; program plans and best practices steer Customer Council management. Cooks use recipes as a framework for their culinary creations, outlining the ingredients, the timing, and milestones to look for along the way. Similarly, program plans, timelines and best practices provide guidance in developing and maintaining a Customer Advisory Board.

Experience allows for ingredient substitutions. As you become more adept at cooking you can follow the basic recipe and make substitutions. The same is true with Customer Councils. You may have content, strategies and tactics you use when creating a Council, but as the group evolves and you learn what engagement levers work and which don’t you can start thinking of substituting ingredients.

In the end, it all comes down to the experience—planning and ingredients make a great meal and a great meeting!

Related Stories

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 »

Client Experience: Building a C-Suite Approach

Posted on 03.22.2020 by in Understanding the C-Suite

Establishing a client experience strategy is an area of significant focus for many business-to-business (B2B) companies.  As customers, we are all demanding more and more of the businesses with which we engage in our daily lives; it is not surprising  

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 »

The Value of Convening C-Suite Peers: Reaping What You Sow

Posted on 02.1.2020 by in Engagement Strategy, Featured, Featured, Understanding the C-Suite

In our work with Customer Advisory Boards and other executive engagement programs, we have seen firsthand the extent to which C-level executives seek and crave connection to real peers, where they can share stories and gain insights in a safe  

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 »