What is a Customer Advisory Board – Really?

Companies apply “customer advisory board”, “client advisory council”, and similar terms to almost any forum involving customer input and interaction. Such a broad definition—“a forum for customer feedback”—causes confusion. Which customers? Feedback about what? Who needs insight? How will they use it?

Customer Advisory Boards are Strategy-Level Sounding Boards

Consider three different levels for customer feedback—product, solutions, strategy. Do you have a clear consensus about which kind of forum you’re trying to create?

Farland Group’s Definition of a Customer Advisory Board

In our minds, a customer advisory board:

  • builds relationships between key, senior customers and stakeholders
  • meets multiple times a year
  • advises on and shapes strategy, product/service direction, and innovation
  • fosters an ongoing, collaborative dialogue about the market

It is a strategy-level listening tool and sounding board that offers equal value to both you and participating customers. Your leadership team learns from your c-level customers.

AND a customer advisory board IS NOT a:

  • Lead generation tool
  • Conference or event
  • Focus group
  • Research program

Conspicuously absent:

  • Any type of selling or pitching
  • In-depth product testing and discussion

Why?

Those discussions misuse your advisors’ time. They undermine the trust, energy, and engagement that are critical to get the most valuable, strategic advice.

 

Related Stories

Checklist for a Successful Advisory Board Meeting

Posted on 02.7.2019 by in Customer Advisory Boards

It’s only early February, but we’re full speed ahead into our spring meeting season here at Farland Group. As we plan for the coming months, below are a few items we work on sooner, rather than later, when pulling together  

Continue Reading »

Tackling the Transformation Challenge

Posted on 01.31.2019 by in Featured, Understanding the C-Suite

Transformation was at the top of the priority list for most organizations in 2018, whether it was creating a digital transformation strategy, or beginning to implement that strategy. A month into 2019, it is clear that transformation remains a hot  

Continue Reading »

Mastering Executive Engagement
What’s Holding You Back?

Posted on 01.10.2019 by in Engagement Strategy

Strong relationships with your c-level customers can accelerate change, uncover opportunities, and strengthen your company’s position. What keeps B2Bs from earning those relationships—and realizing their value? We’ve identified 10 common—but surmountable—barriers that hold B2Bs back.

Continue Reading »

What are You Working on at this Time of Year?

Posted on 12.19.2018 by in Customer Advisory Boards

As 2018 comes to a close and we look forward to the new year, I find myself reflecting on some of our priority areas at Farland Group — both for the boards we work on as well as my own  

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 »