Shortly before leaving for my wonderful vacation, I headed to San Jose to attend the CAB Exchange. You may recall that I wrote about the CAB (Customer Advisory Board) Exchange event put on by fellow Dallas resident, Bill Lee.
The event was a lot of fun and very interesting to me as a community guy. I ran into several people I know who asked “Why are you here? I didn’t expect you to be at this event.” I thought this was an intriguing question, but before I mention why let’s define “Customer Advisory Boards”. One article defines them this way:
A CAB is a business-level focus group – a sounding board for your CEO and executive team to test ideas and preview business plans with leaders from your most strategic customers. This representative group of customers (ideally 8 – 12) meets two to three times during the year to offer advice on your products and company direction. These facilitated meetings are a great way to validate that your company vision and product direction is in sync with your customers’ technology and business plans.
So basically, they are small groups meant to share ideas, feedback, and requests between company and customer. Sound familiar? Even though I tend to deal more with groups made up of end consumers rather than executive customers, the principles are basically the same. The CAB “industry” can teach the rest of us quite a bit about how to put on great events, how to involve corporate colleagues, and how to motivate participation.
(More information on CABs here)
On top of all of that, can you guess the top question raised by speakers and audience members alike? “How do you keep CAB members connected between in-person meetings?”
There you go, that’s why I was there.
Bill’s next event, Customer Communities Exchange is in October. It should be equally engaging!