Have You Seen My Dog Dance? (and What That Tells You About Value)

Sep 9, 2020

Six years ago, right before my only daughter went off to college, we got a puppy.  

Buckingham, “Buck” for short, is an American Brittany. I’d heard people talk about how they’ve had a once-in-a-lifetime “heart” dog and I think Buck is mine. I’ve never had the kind of relationship with a dog that I have with Buck. Even my daughter jokingly claims that Buck replaced her.

In that big moment of life transition, that’s kind of what he did. He became a distraction and a comfort in a house that suddenly felt very empty.

Anyone who has ever spent time with Buck comments on his personality. I swear he’s part human.

One of the things that makes people bust out laughing when they see it is what we call “The Buckingham Dance.” It’s what he does whenever he wants something…I mean, really, really, really wants something.  

He stands up as tall as he can make himself in front of you, balances only on his back legs, while he circles his front legs in the air as fast as he can. He’ll do it for a long time and repeatedly in an effort to get you to give him what he wants. I have no idea why this is the communication method he has chosen, but it’s funny and people give him attention for it, so obviously, he’s going to keep it going.

The dance can happen anytime, anywhere, but only when you are doing something that he sees as extremely valuable:

  • I want your attention
  • I want what you’re holding in your hand
  • I want you to feed me
  • I want to go with you

I believe members also tell us what they find valuable through their behavior, but it may not be as obnoxiously obvious as my dog’s dance. 

Instead, you have to rely on the magic of metrics to tell you what members (and prospects) find valuable. In my Member Experience Scorecard, you’ll actually find 40 different areas where a simple number will tell you something about your members’ perception of value. So, if you haven’t downloaded the Scorecard yet, or if you haven’t looked at your organization’s scores in a while, I encourage you to take 10 minutes and do that.

My guest on the most recent podcast episode knows all about the power of metrics. JJ Reynolds from Mediauthentic started out working in the field of marketing as a videographer who would create marketing videos and other assets for his clients, but he quickly learned that organizations didn’t really know what to do with these things once they had them.

That led him to dig into measurement, which he says is really what’s necessary to answer the question, “Is this actually working?” When you know what is and isn’t working (WITH REAL NUMBERS in front of you), it’s easier to take action in the right direction.

You can catch my interview with JJ here!

I’d love to hear how YOU think members tell you what’s valuable.  

Hit reply and let me know.

How MY Team Has Been Helpful This Week:

In the spirit of focusing on helpfulness, I’ve started closing out these weekly emails with a snippet of insight into the kinds of things my team has been doing to be helpful to clients. This is by no means exhaustive, but just a quick peek into the many, many ways we help clients:

  • We identified potential sources of funding and strategic alliances for a start-up organization.
  • We're managing the registration process for a client's upcoming webinar series.
  • We've stepped into the role of point-of-contact for one association's vendor billing, freeing up an association's leader to get out of the daily management of those invoices and emails.
  • We helped a client streamline the promotional packet that they send to prospects so that it's more effective.
  • We're restructuring a client's website to be more responsive to three specific personas that they've identified among their members.
  • We're coordinating the speaker details for a client's upcoming conference.

Want to talk about how we could be helpful to you and your organization?

Let’s set up a time to talk:


Hey there.  I’m Joy Duling, Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.

Clients hire me to help them design and deliver exceptional member experiences. If you lead an association, trade group, or membership-based nonprofit, you can find FREE resources to help you run and grow your membership organization by visiting here: http://joyofmembership.com/help

I look forward to connecting with you there.