What you need to know about customer advisory boards

Shaun H. Ruff


I’m Dean Lindsay and I’m a senior manager, product marketing at Checkout.com. My role is leading on our global efforts for customer advocacy, including our customer advisory councils, customer stories and our Voice of Customer strategy.

At Ignite London, I’ll be speaking on customer advisory boards and how they can be a fantastic way to learn from your customers, the benefits to your organisation, along with steps and best practice to have valuable sessions.

So, what is a customer advisory board? 

A customer advisory board is a group of 10-15 customers that you meet on a regular basis to hear from their thoughts, challenges and to share what is upcoming from your organisation. These can be your ‘go-to’ customers for honest and candid feedback, to share your future plans to ensure it aligns with theirs and gives you a great opportunity to listen to your customers’ challenges and how well you are performing against their expectations.

Setting out your goals as to what you would like from the customer advisory board is key, ensuring it is in line with your organisational goals and principles to figure out your ‘North Star’. At Checkout.com, our customer advisory board has been aligned with our first operating principle ‘solve for the customer’. Along with this, set out the type of customers you would like in attendance – think of your existing ideal brands, strategic customers, job titles, seniority, industries. 

Once you have your shortlist with the key contact, agree with the customer success managers and senior stakeholders that everyone is happy and once the list is approved, begin outreach to your potential members! For the email, make sure you:

  • Keep it positive.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Set expectations – on what it will be, timings and cadence.
  • Outline next steps.

Collaborating with peers from different industries is always taken as a big positive for members, as they will be going through similar challenges and can learn from each other. It can also lead to other advocacy and co-marketing activities, from activities such as their inclusion in an email campaign to get their brand additional visibility, to an out of home advertising campaign for more significant brand awareness. 

Keep it human and honest 

A successful board is a business operating principles lead, well organised, collaboratively delivered (both internally and externally) one, with all discussions and responses documented leading to actionable takeaways. It shouldn’t be ‘one and done’ and takes place on a consistent basis – I find that every three months (between in person and virtually) is a great cadence. Make sure you keep it human and honest – your merchants will be a lot happier for it. 

Why you need Ignite London

Ignite is a fantastic event for all B2B marketers, with great brands, inspirational speakers and sessions, with plenty of things to take away into your role and organisation. It’s also great to meet peers facing similar challenges, to bounce ideas off each other and share best practice. What makes Ignite so unique is the calibre of the B2B focused speakers and sessions, which I feel is unrivalled

And did I mention meeting in person!? That aside, I’m really looking forward to hear from Barbara Stewart, who always has great sessions on CX and Andrew Last from Harvard, always interesting to hear what he and the organisation are up 

Take the leap of faith! For all B2B marketing professionals, it’s a brilliant event and there’ll be plenty of sessions that will really get your marketing pulses racing!


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