N-of-8 Advisory Boards: a typical agenda







This kind of agenda allows you to explore many aspects of your brand assumptions in a structured, guided way.  For example, you’ll better understand why patients might prefer a new agent, why physicians might consider your new device more progressive medicine, or why laboratory directors might regard your new test as a simpler process of diagnosis.

When we facilitate an N-of-8 group, I have a separate team in the room whose jobs it is to listen and translate.  Not just transcribe or take the notes.  But to listen toward certain issues, topics, and subjects.  They would have their own listening guide derived from the meeting’s objectives, and organized for ease of reporting.  Here’s version of such a listening guide we created for a physician group treating a rare disease:


  • What protocols, procedures, or guidelines do advisory board members follow to diagnose or treat patients?
  • What rules or patterns of behavior do physicians follow?
  • Where is there a need for more clear-cut direction: diagnosis or treatment?
  • What processes might help physicians achieve these goals? Or help patients adhere to their treatment plan?


  • What tactics would help physicians enroll more patients in clinical trials?
  • What tools would help physicians manage their practices?
  • How to improve reimbursement for medication when it becomes available?
  • Encourage patients to adhere to their treatment plan?
  • What cost-saving or moneymaking ideas may help physicians, patients, or the company?


  • What are participants still unsure of?
  • What do participants wonder aloud about?
  • In what areas do participants need more proof? More information?
  • What areas may require future research? Or additional clinical trials?
  • Where do they think/feel there is a paucity of information?


  • What fears do physicians have for their patients?
  • How do physicians feel about treating the condition?
  • Are physicians detached and objective?
  • Engaged and concerned? Frustrated? Proud?
  • What do you hear about how their patients feel about having the condition?
  • Patients’ feelings about clinical trials? About future therapies?


  • What potential criticisms or concerns do you hear about the product?
  • What features, situations, or opinions place the company or brand at risk?
  • What do you hear that may place a competitor’s product at risk?
  • What are some ways to help avoid a patient emergency?


  • Who do advisory board members look to for advice?
  • Whose opinions do they respect?
  • What are the clues as to why one person’s ideas and opinions are respected compared with another’s?
  • Who else do they look to as experts? Professional associations? Other groups?



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