Because I “like” Massage Magazine (I’ve been a subscriber since the late 80’s) I received a link in my Facebook newsfeed to an article about Massage Envy’s $10 million dollar advertising campaign. Seems most of the Facebook fans who commented were not fans of Massage Envy.  

I subscribe to the philosophy that when we bring our unique gifts to the table (or to our businesses) there’s no competition. There are plenty of unmassaged and under massaged potential clients out there. You’ve heard the phrase different strokes for different folks? Nowhere is that more true than with massage.

Don’t Envy My Experience

When Massage Envy opened in my town I wanted a firsthand experience. I won’t return to Massage Envy, but not because of an inferior massage. The massage was ok. But the business model is geared toward a high volume of clients. That means a 50-minute massage. That means my therapist couldn’t control the temperature of the room. That means minimal intake and exit interviews. That means a room without personality. That means I felt like more of a number than a person.

Not my taste. And I don’t think I’m alone. Some people prefer the budget experience. I too love to feel I’ve gotten a deal. But many clients (the ones I see included) want something more from their massage experience. They want to feel comfortable during the massage. They want to feel special. They want to develop an ongoing relationship with their therapist. They want specific, repeatable results.

And What is it That You Do Well?

But Massage Envy must be doing something right because an earlier article at says Envy experienced record growth in 2010. They serve a niche and they’ve communicated that niche well—affordable and convenient massage.

When I coach business owners I suggest figuring out their niche, their “special sauce,” and then doing the best job they can both with their craft and the practicalities of running their business. If you feel like you’re losing business to the franchises of the world, show both your potential clients and your clients where and how you offer value for them.

And if you know that running your own business isn’t your thing, then spend your energy finding an employer that matches your values and that needs your skills. I teach a business class at a massage school and find that for some of my students Envy is a good fit.

My Challenge to You

I do think a major ad campaign for massage carries the potential to help all MTs. My challenge to you is to think about how you can take advantage of Envy’s big spending. How can you be prepared to serve those new clients? How can you become the best at what you do? How can you let your ideal clients know about you? How can you serve your clients so they want to return and refer?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas here.