Having now completed hundreds of Customer Advisory Board engagements, we come across many people who ask us how their company’s advisory council compares to others. While we have created a benchmarking, audit and optimization offering and have completed this for several companies, you can start with the Customer Advisory Board Engagement Quadrant below.   

In our Customer Advisory Board Engagement Quadrant, one axis measures CAB impact and the other axis measures advisory board member engagement.  Our goal is to help companies move their Customer Advisory Boards to the “high performers” quadrant.

Customer Advisory Board Engagement Quadrant

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Is your Client Advisory Council relationship based?

Advisory councils in this quadrant are focused on relationship building, with a face-to-face meeting at least once per year at a luxurious location (think Paris or Tuscany).  In between meetings, the host company takes Customer Advisory Council members to NBA or PGA tour sports games, Michelin star or celebrity chef dinners, or sold-out concerts.  The cost is very high along with ultra-exclusivity.

This relationship based program provides limited peer exchange because the focus is on individual relationships and the value to host company is low. There isn’t a focus on peer exchange or content or creating a customer-driven agenda.

Is your Customer Advisory Board event based?

If you treat your Customer Advisory Board as simply a meeting that brings together some of your customers and your executive team face-to-face once or twice per year, there will be limited value in terms of impact on product roadmap or strategic direction.

We avoid describing an advisory board meeting as an “event” that implies a one-off occurrence.  We like to use the word “meeting” that is part of a year round effort of engaging your customers and internal stakeholders. Without ongoing engagement throughout the year, there is a void in between meetings without substance and content to generate much impact.

Is your Customer Advisory Council sub-optimized?

The next quadrant represents CABs that are sub-optimized. The strategic impact of the Customer Advisory Council is higher than the relationship based and event based quadrants. However, the advisory council members aren’t yet fully engaged.  Perhaps advisory council member feedback isn’t being captured and disseminated internally to then incorporate customer feedback into your company’s strategy, products or solutions.

Is your Customer Advisory Board a high performer board?

The high performers’ quadrant is the leaders’ quadrant.  Advisory board members here are not only engaged with your company but they are speaking with each other and exchanging ideas within the board meetings and outside the construct of the board.  Your company is creating a shared future and vision with your customers.

A customer advisory board has a significant impact on your company’s strategy, solutions, roadmap, customer satisfaction, marketing, thought leadership development, and customer advocacy. We’ve written about the benefits of advisory boards for you to read about here (CAB page on our website), here (infographic), here (eBook) and here (webinar).

Watch our video above about the CAB Engagement Quadrant. Where does your Customer Advisory Board fit in the CAB Engagement Quadrant?

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