Repetition Is Essential for Effective Customer Advisory Boards

Repetition is key if you want to have the most effective customer advisory boards possible. The reason: repetition fosters the learning process in the brain. We all recall Pavlov’s experiments where dogs developed conditional responses to constant stimuli. To be able to unconsciously respond to something, one needs to rehearse it over and over again.

Since we live and breathe our own product day in and day out, we perceive that our customers are just as caught up in the specifics of our product. After all, they are thought leaders in a specific disease area. They present at conferences. They must know the data inside out! The fact is, they often do not. They have a million other things at any given moment vying for their attention. If you ask a key customer to quote some of the numbers from the Kaplan-Meier survival curve in your pivotal study, many of them might not be able to do it!


This takes me to the typical live consultancy meeting agenda. Many medical and marketing managers prefer sharing new studies and data with their advisors in person for the first time to be able to measure their initial response. The issue with this is that many people require “processing” time. Time to ruminate on the new information. To repeat the data in their mind. To review other sources and even discuss with their colleagues.

Repeating the same information in different forms and in different scenarios is an excellent way for people to remember the information. So instead of revealing a new product abstract or poster from the most recent conference and then asking for opinions only to receive a half baked “knee-jerk reaction”, take the opportunity to include this as a pre-work assignment that your advisors can review in their own time.

This can be facilitated if using an online platform where advisors can log in and participate asynchronously. While reviewing the new data and information, they can also review their colleague’s comments and decide if they have a varying opinion. The “stream of consciousness” when writing one’s thoughts down is also another way of repeating the same information but filtered through one’s own “neural networks” and personal knowledge and experiences. This only further cements the integration of these new data in someone’s brain circuitry.

So before making a decision to NOT share the same information in multiple touchpoints with your customer advisors or steering committee members, try considering repeating the data but packaged in slightly different ways each time. A great way to do this is to get your advisors to address the data from different angles, say through a variety of patient case samples, and by asking them different questions each time.

Repetition is not a bad thing. In fact, it is essential in the learning process. Once something becomes ingrained it becomes a “habit”. It also becomes part of the mental mileau that your customers will use to measure and analyze all future new data sets and information.

Do you have any examples of when data and information repetition benefited you or your product?