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

How to Make Working Groups Work For You

Posted on 12.8.2022 by in Customer Advisory Boards

Coming out of Customer Advisory Council meetings, there is generally a list of action items, and areas identified for further exploration. There are many ways to follow through, but one vehicle is invaluable when it comes to keeping  

Continue Reading »

Less is Definitely More: The Customer Advisory Board Content Trap

Posted on 11.22.2022 by in Customer Advisory Boards

Often as companies work to build out their Customer Advisory Board meeting agendas there is a desire to pack in the content for fear there will be silent, with no one offering their comments or perspectives.  The  

Continue Reading »

Customer Advisory Board Advice: Learn to Love the Pain

Posted on 08.30.2022 by in Customer Advisory Boards

The thing about Customer Advisory Boards is you just might get what you wished for: unvarnished advice about your strategy and your business. And while this is the very reason to create a Board, it can sometimes  

Continue Reading »

Three Ways to Operationalize Client Advisory Council Actions

Posted on 07.11.2022 by in Customer Advisory Boards

You just wrapped up a client advisory council meeting – discussions were dynamic, everyone was engaged, and as a result there are many ideas and potential actions to move forward. It’s exciting and daunting at the same  

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 »