The idea seems enticing – why don’t we leverage the fact that customers will attend a major tradeshow or event and schedule the Customer Advisory Board meeting either before or after the tradeshow?
Another variation on this idea is to hold the Customer Advisory Board meeting right next to an internal user conference or even a sales kick off. However, based on our experience, choosing this shortcut rarely works. The main reason is that it’s very difficult to compete with major industry shows and events.
By the time the members of your advisory board arrive to your meeting, they are probably exhausted from participating in the tradeshow or if they are before the tradeshow, they will think about the days ahead and not dedicate their full attention to the board meeting. You should also consider the fact that in these cases you are asking the members to commit to what usually amounts to one full week out of the office – a tall order for many executives, decision makers and influencers. Another consideration is your own executive team. They also are not going to focus only on the board meetings and will be pulled away for analyst meetings, client meetings or urgent sales call.
Bottom line is that the Customer Advisory Board should be important and strategic enough to merit a dedicated time and place for the meeting.