Holding A Customer Advisory Council – Part I is Why

In late July, my company brought together executives from a handful of our largest customers.  This was our first attempt at convening a Customer Advisory Council. We sat outside on a massive stone patio with many other long-haired, long-bearded men. Besides that, the event went well, and I’ll break down our process over the next few posts and what I learned.Council_of_Elrond_-_FOTR

This initial post covers WHY we decided this was worth investing time, money, and a shitton of effort.  The “why” is pretty dern simple: There are no facts inside the building, only assumptions.  Until you ask your customers what’s really going on, you are guessing.  Credit goes to author and entrepreneur Steve Blank for that quote.

Truth-be-told, there are a lot of data points to consider when building a company strategy, marketing plan, and product roadmap: product data, industry data and trends, customer input, end user input, revenue impact, and your best wild-ass guesses.  We had been lacking on detailed, in-depth customer input, so there you have it.  That was our WHY.

We finally arrived on three stated goals:

  1. Make our company more transparent
  2. Product feature prioritization
  3. Knowledge share to improve mobile strategy [sounds so important, doesn’t it?]

In the next post I’ll detail how we pulled all of the pieces together to make it happen. We’ll then jump in to such fun topics as the Time Timer and agile agendas. You will lose your freakin’ mind.



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