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Physical vs. digital advisory boards

3 things to consider before you launch your customer advisory board

Christian Davepon
Christian Davepon
November 6, 2019

For many years, customer/product advisory boards followed the same scenario. Companies invited a group of 10-20 customers, paid for their flights and fancy hotels, made them feel important, and asked for their advice.

There are certainly benefits in such events, but technology enables companies to replicate the same experience and scale it. You can ask more customers more questions, get deeper insights and save tons of time (and money).

Size: from dozens participants - to hundreds

Investing $250k in a meeting of 10-20 strategic customers will certainly make them happy and committed. However, to get real insights on your product or strategy, you should probably go one or two levels down in the hierarchy.

More often than not, your users are not those you invite to customer advisory boards, simply because you cannot manage high numbers of attendees. A digital advisory board would enable you to engage with hundreds of users, who have a direct influence on your revenues.

We recommend inviting at least 200 people to your digital board, and make sure different groups are represented (new users, heavy users etc.) A digital advisory board will also make them feel committed and involved - and help you get their input.

Space: from one space - to cyber space

We’ve all been in over-crowded meetings. Simply put, you cannot invite more than 15 people and expect them to participate. It just doesn’t work. Putting aside the risk for group thinking, large meetings or conferences are not effective in getting user input.

Digital tools can solve this pain, by replicating the same process, but scaling it up. Customers can wade through responses in seconds, engage directly with each other and help you to sum up their advice. More interaction, for less cost.

Time: from two hours - to two weeks

Physical advisory boards require a lot of preparation. It’s quite an investment to bring everyone together. That’s why companies cannot have more than one or two meetings every year. Very little input, for a very expensive investment.

The digital world makes it much easier for people to share advice when it’s convenient for them. No more long flights or endless video calls. You ask a question, and let your board members answer when it’s convenient for them.

Physical vs. digital advisory boardsChristian Davepon
Chris is the co-founder of Insights.US in Germany