An Open Letter to Mindbody's Customers

Dear Mindbody Customer,

Many of you are understandably upset about Mindbody’s latest update to their connect app, where they’ve introduced a “Deals Engine”. 

Can you believe it? The CEO of mindbody is actively promoting a “Deals Engine” on twitter. A Deals Engine. For your studio. A Deals Engine. For the love of god a DEALS ENGINE! Seriously do we need another deals engine?

Okay so back to you being upset: You should be upset and this is actually the appropriate response. Mindbody’s strategy of Introducing your customers to your competition’s deals shows clearly what we predicted months ago: That they’re in a competition with ClassPass to become “the uber of fitness” and they do not care if your business is collateral damage in this battle.

I’m not writing to you on Christmas Eve about their app in particular though, or why it’s bad for your business. Instead, I want to write to you about how software is made, so that you can understand the kind of company you’re dealing with. 

The thing with software, is that like many other things, it takes time to build. It takes effort, and care and intention. You plan things three or six or twelve months out. You build features that are sometimes laying the foundation for other features that you know are coming, but that your customers don’t know anything about yet. 

I’m taking the time to point this out because while the connect app was only introduced a few days ago, mindbody as a company has been laying the foundation for this app for quite some time, and I want you to understand that they too are operating with intention. 

And by understanding the intention, you can understand them as a company.

It is not an accident that mindbody released this app a week before christmas. They know very well that the last thing you want to do over the holidays is switch business software. And they know that no matter how poorly they treat you, if they can get you to stay on their platform until January 1, it at least increases the likelihood that you won’t churn away. You can be guaranteed this came up in mindbody meeting rooms.

And so this is what I want you to think about.

Six months ago when mindbody started texting all your students, telling them to download the connect app every time they registered for a class, they were laying the foundation for this app. 

The reality is that the company you’ve chosen to run your business on, the company you trusted with your customer data, the company that tells you on their pricing page that you own your data…that company has been planning for almost the entire year to introduce deals to your students. 

Groupon style. 

Except unlike Groupon, who for all their faults and failures did in fact build their own consumer following, mindbody is exploiting your business and mining it for the consumer.  They’ll tell you that you can opt your business out of the deals, but what they don’t tell you is that this is irrelevant. Your students are still using the connect app and still seeing the deals from all around them. If you use mindbody, even if you don’t put your studio on the connect platform's "Deals Engine", you’re putting your students on the deals engine, and that’s what they care about most right now.

Let me explain what the connect app is for you: It’s a prettier Groupon with a slower poison intake.

After months of planning, after what you can be sure were thousands of hours designing, developing and testing this app,  after telling the story to their investors of how they were going to become the goto marketplace for everything health and wellness, they announced 9 days before christmas the fact that they had effectively put every single one of your students onto a Groupon like platform, putting you and all the studios around you into a cage-match, igniting a race to the bottom for those willing to take the bait.

Think about this as you spend time with your family this Christmas. Think about the meal your business helped you afford. Think about the gifts your children are opening. Think about how for you, your business is in fact your nourishment. Think about all the investments you made, both with time and money, to bring people into your doors.

And then think about the fact that this year, mindbody decided to use this holiday against you, for their own benefit. That’s the kind of company you’re dealing with.

For those of you for whom this is the last straw, switching away from mindbody to Tula Software is much simpler than you might think, and we're here to help you every step of the way.

You and your business both deserve something better, and you have my promise we'll always treat you right.