6 Tips To Create Customer Advisory Board Meetings Worth Traveling To

Eyal Danon, President and Founder of Ignite Advisory Group.

Although the pandemic is over and professionals are able to travel again, it seems they are being more selective in choosing the meetings they’ll fly to. This is likely due to the gained familiarity of online meeting platforms (e.g., via Zoom, Teams, GoToMeeting, WebEx, etc.), travel budget restrictions, airport delays on the news or just being too busy to leave the office.

That means companies who host customer advisory boards (CABs) need to create extra value and incentive to get their customers to travel to their in-person meetings. If your CAB members don’t recognize the value, benefit and exclusivity of attending your meeting in person, they likely won’t travel to it and may provide the “too busy” excuse, or perhaps send a (lower-level) alternate in their place.

Given this, here are six tips for ensuring your CAB meeting is worth traveling to:

1. Create a member-driven agenda.

When companies begin to consider topics for their upcoming CAB meetings, they generally think of things they want to “show and tell” their members—about their company, new products and latest features coming. But this is the wrong approach; instead, your members themselves should determine the topics.

This means interviewing (or at least surveying) them before your meeting to determine the top topics and issues that are impacting their own operations. With this information, you can create a member-driven agenda that they will be eager to discuss face-to-face with their colleagues.

2. Consider what you want to learn.

Along these same lines, instead of thinking what you want to tell your customers, consider what you want to learn from them. What challenges is your own company facing? What budget trade-offs are you considering? Who are you thinking of partnering with or acquiring? What marketing campaigns are planned for the year ahead? What other uses for your products or services might exist?

Being honest and open with your own struggles, and getting your customers’ input to these and many other issues will provide material insights into your own company.

3. Get people moving.

Don’t have your CAB members travel all the way to your meeting just to subject them to hours of PowerPoint presentations or product demos. Get your attendees out of their chairs by planning engaging breakout sessions in which they prioritize their challenges and needs, and how your solutions can help mitigate them.

Make CAB sessions interesting and even fun with sticky notes, Monopoly money, whiteboard brainstorming sessions—anything to get members engaged and thinking out of the box. If you don’t, and your only content is a lineup of boring presentations, you might as well just make your meeting an online webinar and invite all customers to attend.

4. Deliver learning opportunities.

CAB members want to learn from their peers at other companies to overcome shared challenges, and take these lessons back to their own firms to implement. That means holding sessions that uncover and highlight innovative solutions to common roadblocks from which everyone can learn.

This might include sharing use cases from your successful customers, or, better yet, having one of your more advanced CAB members lead a session on their operations or success overcoming a challenge. But be cautious of other third-party speakers (e.g., analysts, economists, authors, etc.)—such outside speakers rarely engage members well and as such make better webinar speakers to all your customers.

5. Enable benchmarking.

In addition to learning from each other, CAB members are always looking for opportunities to benchmark themselves against other industries.

For example, a CAB member who deals with supply chain may want to know where others stand in terms of electric delivery van adoption—the percentage of electric vans out of a total fleet, the utilization metrics, fuel cost savings, plans moving forward, etc. Armed with this knowledge, this CAB member can return to his company and communicate that they are leading in this area, or perhaps are significantly behind the market in adoption.

A successful CAB should proactively provide multiple opportunities for such benchmarking.

6. Hold engaging social activities.

A big part of CAB meetings are the opportunities for members to interact with each other and create relationships that will help with their companies and personal careers long into the future. As such, host companies should ensure quality meals and social activities that facilitate such engagement. Such activities are always well received by members and are a big draw for making the effort to travel.


To convince busy executives to travel to your in-person CAB meeting, it’s important to show them the value of doing so. To do this, provide engaging content, stimulating exercises and exclusive opportunities to talk to their peers and learn proven best practices that they can utilize immediately within their own organizations.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Scroll to Top