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CAB 2.0 – the future of Customer Advisory Boards?

As we enter a new year, it’s a good time to reflect on Customer Advisory Boards in 2023 and predict where they are heading in 2024 and beyond… CAB’s are an important part of customer marketing and can become the flywheel in robust customer engagement and advocacy programs that can accelerate value realization for host companies.  However, there needs to be a significant value add for this transformation to happen.  The challenge is that CAB’s have traditionally been characterized as having outsized involvement (up to 90%) of the host or sponsoring company, across all CAB aspects – design, charter, recruitment, agenda, and ongoing operations.

The role of members in many CAB’s is limited to showing up to the annual meeting and participating in a few conference calls throughout the year.  This has been the unofficial agreement between firms and their key clients – key clients are too busy with their day-to-day jobs to devote more time to the CAB, and companies should be thankful for the limited customer engagement that they get.  CAB 2.0 introduces the concept of CLAB – Customer Led Advisory Boards.  This is the holy grail in CAB engagement as it represents an evolution of the traditional CAB engagement model.  Not all companies will be able to realize the promise of CLAB, but those that can get to this aspirational state will reap outsized benefits.  In essence, the CAB members become 50% “owners” in the CAB process and most importantly, in the strategic outcomes.  This paradigm shift is manifested in all phases of the CAB work, allowing customers to:

  1. Co-design the official charter of the CAB, including the strategic theme
  2. Take an active part in recruitment, making sure that the right personas and firms are represented
  3. Fully participate in agenda preparation sessions
  4. Create a “Customer Steering Committee” and become co-session leaders in meetings
  5. Review the meeting report and provide edits and suggestions
  6. Co-own sub-committees and work-streams
  7. Report twice a year to the company leadership and potentially to the official board of directors

The future of Customer Advisory and Partner Advisory Boards has to be more involvement from the members – allowing them to speak for 80% of the time during all meetings will create higher ENGAGEMENT and better INSIGHTS.

Let us know your thoughts on CAB 2.0 below?

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