Value is in the Eye of the Beholder

May 27, 2020

sThere’s an old saying that goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and I believe that is true. What I judge to be beautiful may not seem as beautiful to you.  

Recently, my husband hung his kayak from the ceiling in our garage. “Isn’t it beautiful?” he proclaimed, as he texted a photograph of his masterpiece.

My response must have fallen flatter than he expected as he then tried to convince me of how wonderful it was, pointing out the type of rope that he used and the double pulleys and how level the kayak was as it dangled in mid-air.

While I was happy that he was happy, I simply didn’t share his perception of value.

You see, I wasn’t the one who had spent weeks researching to find just the right kayak to buy. I didn’t drive 6 hours round-trip to purchase it. I hadn’t spent 3 days trying to figure out the perfect way to hang it. I’m not the one who dreams of spending hours of solitude out in a lake somewhere with only my fishing pole to keep me company.

The whole experience simply didn’t have the same value to me.

Just as my husband tried to persuade me to see the value from his perspective, membership leaders may unwittingly try to do this with members.  

The unvarnished truth is this: If members aren’t joining, engaging or renewing like you think they should, you HAVE a value problem.

When I work with organizations around their value proposition, we look closely at three specific things, from the member’s perspective:

  1. What the outcomes are that the member wants
  2. Whether the organization is currently delivering on that outcome
  3. How important that outcome is to the member, in comparison to competing priorities 

Ideally, you want to match what you’re delivering with those three things. That’s when a member experience feels “magical”, as if you read the member’s mind and delivered exactly the right support at exactly the right time.

If you aren’t matched up, you’re going to feel like my husband, trying to explain the value of the suspended kayak.

Now, if you’re reading this and thinking, “But, Joy, we really love suspending kayaks for our members (or whatever you do) and that is what our strategic mission is all about!”, then you need to make sure that the audience that you’re focusing on has the questions, emotions, and goals that align with that.

If my husband had shared his suspended contraption with a fellow kayaker who had been struggling to find a similar solution, the reaction and perception of value would have been very different.

Whether you are suspending kayaks, running a community garden, advocating for industry change, or providing educational programming, the principles of value perception are always the same.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What do YOU do to ensure that your organization is delivering programs and benefits that have high perceived value.

Shoot back a reply and let me know. I personally read every response.

The Member Experience Design Program Is Back!  

If you’d like to dive deep into your organization’s own member experience, I’ve brought back my signature Member Experience Design Program in a brand-new Self-Paced Format.

That means, you can move through the content at your own pace – there’s no waiting on dripped lessons or for a group to convene. You’ll also have unique 1-on-1 access to me at designated checkpoints throughout the program, so there’s no chance of you feeling alone, confused, or off-track.

If you’d like to learn more about the program, you’ll find all the details here:

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:

I look forward to connecting with you there.