Massage Envy envy?
April 26th, 2007 • Posted by SpaBoom Staff • Permalink
I'm on the board of directors for the New Mexico Spa Association and at our past few conferences, Massage Envy has been mentioned or brought up. In every conversation there are basically two points of view about Massage Envy. The first relates to some level of anxiety and concern about their business model, and how that might erode already modest (if any) profits. The second relates to how Massage Envy isn't a threat, because they don't want customers who shop by price anyway, and prefer the customers who are paying for the experience.
After obtaining a massage from Massage Envy, I don't believe either position is quite right.
Let me explain.
As a vendor to spas and salons, I do my best to visit and pay for services from those spas and salons who are SpaBoom clients. I'm located in Albuquerque, and have visited quite a few of our clients located here (and there's still many more to visit). Every experience has been enjoyable, but different.
I visited Massage Envy last week, and have to say the experience was also enjoyable — who doesn't like to receive a massage — but different.
What this means is, Massage Envy has successfully created a niche for themselves, by offering low-cost, moderate-quality massage for the non-discriminating client. If a spa has a Massage Envy in its neck of the woods, and they don't have a strong, obvious differentiator, I do believe they will need to compete on price to remain competitive against Massage Envy.
You may disagree with me, but do yourself a favor: Go clandestine and pay the $39 introductory price for a massage at Massage Envy.
Then, go back to your spa. Really think about the type of clients you have, your differentiators, your quality of service, and the availability of potential clients in your region that your differentiators appeal to. Do you have a winning mix? If not, reformulate. Work harder at marketing. Provide incentives for client referrals.
Make it clear what your differentiators are. This is tough. Unlike the car business, your prospects cannot "kick the tires" of a massage. So, if your differentiator is experiential based, come up with methods that allow potential customers to experience your difference. Here's a suggestion: Have a "free massage" day, once a month or once a quarter. Or, make some PR for yourself, and invite the local police and fire departments to come in for a free massage.
Don't suffer "Massage Envy envy." Don't become anxious and give up. But… don't sit on your laurels and pretend that everything is the same, either.