You've previously heard me talk about the benefits of Customer Advisory Panels from the vantage point of the host company. Among the many benefits is that these panels often create advocates, the power of which is undeniable.
Springer, a publisher of Science, Medical and Technology (STM) content just released their quarterly eNewsletter to members of their Global Library Advisory Board (LAB) program. In it were not one, but two articles penned by members of their councils. Not only is this significant because of what they had to say, but these members are influential within their industry and respective geographic regions, and people naturally pay attention to what they have to say.
Rob Haran, Electronic Resources Manager at Shire in the UK and a veteran LAB member had this to say about the benefits of collaborating with Springer via the advisory council:
"This innovative interaction with a major supplier benefits Shire and the other customers in two principal ways: Firstly, we (the customers) have an early insight into future Springer developments which is essential if we are to develop our own information resources to to take advantage of these developments. Secondly, industry has a chance to communicate directly with the supplier experts and collectively influence Springer strategy."
Another LAB member, Houeida Kammourie-Charara from Lebanon noted the importance of having direct access to the leadership team at Springer.
"Springer spirit was a major factor in the sucess of the LAB. The presence of Presidents and VPs and their interaction with other colleagues is a model that, in my opinion, should be followed by other companies." She continued, "One of the LAB objectives was to improve the strategic partnership between Springer and their customers. I think Springer attained this objective in a bright way."
So if you have customers who will advocate on your behalf and who clearly recognize the value of engaging in high-level strategic discussions, why would any company make a conscious decision not to take the same course of action?