So, you’ve received an email from your VP asking you to set up a CAB. What now?
First, a short definition, “a CAB (Customer Advisory Board) represents an opportunity to participate customers in the decision-making process of any organization. It’s a chance to validate strategies and learn through first-party experience with consumers and business decision-makers.”
So in essence it’s a select customer community that performs online activities and meets face-to-face from time to time, and it provides first-hand information to your company about your products and services. More importantly, unlike a mere survey, a CAB is a two-way feedback process because it allows customers to interact directly with your company and with each other.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Every CAB will look different and will evolve with time according to your stakeholders and the company’s goals.
So here are 5 steps to consider when planning your CAB:
Confirm the list of involved stakeholders, decide on how many affiliated customers you want, and select activities that will meet stakeholders’ goals. Is your company looking to launch a new product and is looking to vet it with your CAB attendees? Are you looking to improve an established product/service? Or maybe you would like to better understand how your customers prefer to interact with your company.
Recruit customers according to the stakeholder varieties, industry, country, and desired product mix. These are your most influential Advocates, but they do not have to be the perfect ones in terms of how happy they are with your products/services. CABs can be a chance for more neutral Advocates to become supporters by showing them your company aims to learn and improve.
Prepare and send invitations, pack of communications, build an agenda with heavy customer participation, pre-event questionnaires, social media buzz plan, and perform community activities. Foster excitement by showing your attendees how much value your CAB provides.
Logistics (food, facilities customization, and branding), attendees’ guidance on accommodations, and transportation, speakers support, etc. If your event is virtual, make sure all technology used works properly and has the capability to provide a high-standard experience.
Post Event Activities
CABs will yield a lot of learning, both for your stakeholders and customers. Promote those learnings and show other Advocates and prospective customers what benefits will come out. You can use social or editorial publications, co-PR, and community activities.