With today’s busy schedules and overbooked executive calendars, it may be tempting for customer advisory board (CAB) or partner advisory board managers to try to time their next advisory council meeting adjacent to another industry conference, or perhaps even one of their own user group events or customer meetings. But doing so presents the inevitable pros and cons.
Pros: If most of your customer advisory board members are already planning to attend an industry conference or your user group meeting, holding your client advisory council at the same time could ensure higher member participation, and fewer last-minute drop outs. It could also ensure your own executives will be at the same location at the time as well, and save on travel costs for everyone involved.
Cons: The promise of schedule and travel efficiencies will likely be lost if the adjacent conference presents a competing focus that distracts both customer advisory board members and company leadership. The worst outcome would entail your own executives popping in and out of the advisory board meeting to attend the competing program – those optics send the signal that the CAB isn’t really that important to the host company. In addition, as executives are very busy and typically resist extending their travel within a business week, they may simply choose one meeting or the other – your CAB or the adjacent program.
Finally, cramming too much content within the same week will lead likely lead to participants getting overloaded, burned out and not contributing as enthusiastically as they would if the client advisory council meeting was held on its own right. One of the least effective CAB meetings I attended early in my career took place immediately following a user group conference held over the previous few days. Not only were all participants mentally spent by the time the CAB started, a few of the session owners thought they could get by repeating some of the content presented over the previous few days. Everyone noticed, and the members were not happy about this.
Bottom Line: Holding your next customer advisory board meeting timed with an industry or company event may seem like a good idea initially to reduce travel times and costs. But the tight scheduling and information overload will likely negatively impact your CAB meeting, and cause your program to suffer in the eyes of participants. Here are more answers to common questions about customer advisory boards like this one about whether or not to hold CABs meetings with other events.
In our opinion, customer advisory boards are crucial strategic programs that deserve their own dedicated attention from all participants. As they offer the richest level of customer engagement, impact strategic and product planning and deepen relationships with key clients, CABs are too important to dilute their impact or distract participants.
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Ignite Advisory Group is the leading global authority on Customer Advisory Boards. Ignite’s proven methodology for managing and evolving Customer Advisory Boards includes a 4-stage process, encompassing 48 deliverables and measured by 20 metrics to deliver a clear ROI. To learn more about how your company can benefit from Ignite’s CAB methodology and process, contact us today.