19. Landing a Branded TV Series w/ John Roman

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John Roman - CMO BattleBox

According to McKinsey, the subscription box market revenue was valued at $10 billion in 2019. John Roman, the CMO of BattlBox, has witnessed this jump from just $2.6 billion in 2016 as he closes in on his fifth year with the company. John shares with us the unique ways in which BattlBox builds their teams around a passion for the product, and what your content strategy looks like when your brand lands itself a television series on Netflix.

We also touch on:

  • How running an in-house team that functions like an agency works for them
  • Finding ways to build and foster an online community around your product
  • The sheer value of influencer marketing
  • Inviting customers who know your product front to back to join your team

Transcript of the Episode

[00:00:03] We had this form, very traditional Reddit style court, but it was BattlBox, and what we quickly did is we found, you know, five of the folks that were bringing the most value to and that we made them moderators of the forum. And in turn, they got a free box each month. And we had this one guy, Luke Bagley, and he was johnny on the spot interacting with customers, you know, just as any of us did. And at times he might have known it better. Now he leads a lead customer experience to the company. He’s joined us and he runs the entire customer service.

[00:00:37] You’re listening to the Marketing Behind the Curtain podcast where we pull back the curtain on the people, processes and technologies leading marketers are using to fuel growth within their organizations. Let’s get into the show.

[00:00:53] Welcome to Marketing Behind the Curtain, where we take a look at all the hard work that happens by marketers to put a shiny outward face on organizations of all types. I’m your host, Devin Kelley with Method Savvy, a consultancy that helps our business leaders find better ways to grow their business. Today, I’m excited to be joined by John Roman. And John is with BattlBox, really cool subscription service that has a lot of fun stuff to play with in his world. So on top of talking marketing, interested to just hear about kind of how the the the day goes over there, it sounds like a fun group. But, John, you introduce yourself real quick and maybe tell us a little bit about BattleBox.

[00:01:30] Sure. Glad to be here. Nice to meet you, Devin. John Roman. I serve as Chief Marketing Officer over at BattlBox and Carnivore Club and about eight other companies and brands in our umbrella. Been doing this for about five, five and a half years, I guess, wow time has flown since early, 2015, a little bit about BattlBox monthly subscription box that focuses on outdoor and survival gear. It was our first brand that we launched. So it’s our flagship. It’s also the largest. Carnivore Club is our second largest. That was through acquisition. So when we look at the portfolio, some of the brands had been created in-house.

[00:02:22] But we’ve actually, as of the last two years, really focused on acquisition for a multitude of reasons.

[00:02:29] Awesome. Awesome. And when you guys look at the business overall, all of the business, you guys operator on a subscription model, correct.

[00:02:39] Not not all. It’s definitely our sweet spot, so so everything, for the most part is obviously commerce.

[00:02:48] But the subscription element is definitely our sweet spot. And where we shine, there’s just some inherent benefits of subscriptions, mainly recurring revenue from a forecastable side of the house that makes scaling and the other variables. It’s a lot easier to know what LTV is. You can just run so much faster when you have forecastable revenue.

[00:03:20] Yeah, it’s very much like, yeah, it’s like software principles going into e-commerce there and super, super cool look at lifetime value and cost of customer acquisition, but be able to kind of project that a little bit further so that that makes sense. How do you guys just think of yourselves? Do you think of yourselves as that subscription business or do you think of yourselves more as like an e-commerce first organization?

[00:03:47] It’s a really good question, no one no one’s ever asked that before. I mean, I always positioned ourselves as a brand of a portfolio of e-commerce brands. I mean, I guess we are technically like subscription box experts with our current project. I was thinking about that as I was rolling through this question. Yeah. So the latest thing we’re doing, which is called Black Label, which is a turnkey subscription box, solutions for celebrities.

[00:04:20] So I guess we are the subscription box experts as I kind of sit back and think about it.

[00:04:27] Oh, that’s cool. And it’s a fun mix of we do a lot of work on the B2B side and a lot of work on the e-commerce side. It’s cool to see the LTV customer acquisition costs, they can kind of mesh with the e-commerce world. I think a lot of the principles are kind of the same and very much works in the subscription space now.

[00:04:49] It absolutely does.

[00:04:50] Well, talk to me a little bit about the people that make up the team here. And, you know, kind of like an agency. I guess you guys get to bounce around a little bit between different projects, but are probably having to dig deep in your area of expertise, but also be flexible and kind of bounce from one project or one brand to the next. So what is what does the team look like that runs this variety of brands?

[00:05:16] Sure. So it’s funny you say that because we actually function much like a traditional marketing agency or just agency in general, maybe a little bit broader, obviously, than the marketing. We function like an agency. We have subject matter experts and each category we think of beyond the marketing piece. So, you know, on the marketing side, obviously, you have your standard stuff like email and social calendars. But then we take a deeper with procurement and, you know, getting all the way down to our warehouse. So we own our own warehouse. We don’t need three people. So we have a rather large team in the operations department that’s simply getting everything in and out. Our team is a decent size for 40 team members at this point. There’s obviously a leadership core. So there are four of us in leadership and. It’s myself which typically would BattlBox, I’m focused on sales, marketing, customer experience, and technology, and it pretty much rings true across all brands. The title might be different in a different spot, kind of a managing partner, but I still do the same thing. I do the same thing across all brands. That’s really been our success. That we’re able to scale and go fast is because we have several talented people that are experts, but we all stay in our lane really, really well. And, you know, egos don’t ever get in the way. We all know what our core competencies are. Core competencies are. We stick to them. So other members of our team that that are paramount, the other three. So Daniel Dabbs, so he actually came up with the idea of BattlBox.

[00:07:21] So it was his baby, his creation. So he appears on our Netflix show. Southern Survival. He’s one of the four stars on that. Really, his focus is twofold. One is product procurement. So he’s working with our manufacturers, working with our vendors. And then the second element is for much of the reason that we have a Netflix show, he is very, very, very ingrained in our video content that we produce in-house. Then we have Patrick Kelly. Patrick is our CEO across all brands, and he owns our facility and everything under it. So getting the thousands of boxes out each day, managing all the teams, and there’s quite a few. Just everything, logistics, definitely probably the most stressful of the jobs and the last would be Richard Toms, the CFO across all brands, and he keeps us in check and tells us what we can do, something and what we can’t and ask the hard questions. And he tells us, no, sometimes. But it’s a really it’s a great four-way yin yang if you will. But of course, it’s not just us. There are so many other talented members of the team that we have from Walter, who leads our market marketing coordination to Curtis, who handles our alternative sales channels like Amazon and eBay. You know, so many who he has a customer experience to max his product head and head of Carnivore Club. It’s definitely a team effort and it’s not possible without the entire team.

[00:09:24] So talk to me a little bit about content, because I think one of the things that are really interesting about you guys and you mentioned the Netflix show that you guys have. And as you check out the sites that you guys have, it’s very much, you know, sometimes e-commerce can be a little rough around the edges. Right. Like you do some product photography, prop up a Shopify store, know there isn’t a lot of brands there. And I think you guys have some really compelling content. You’ve kind of taken into this idea of, like, you know, building out personalities around this. How do you think about the kind of back and forth between some of the people that you have are kind of the face of the brand versus the. Yeah, the, I guess, nuts and bolts e-commerce tactics. Sometimes it can be reduced down to email and SEO versus literally a Netflix show.

[00:10:12] Yeah, no, it’s a good question. So it’s funny, I could sit here Devin and tell you that, like in 2015 what we currently have with the plan. And that’s what we were doing. But there were a lot of learnings along the way. So I’m one of them. We started off it. It was yeah, we’re going to put cool stuff in the box and then buy a subscription box. But there wasn’t such a brand at the time. We were probably closer to your traditional e-commerce rough around the edges. Part of our initial strategy was when we were at launch time is we wanted to send dozens of boxes out to YouTubers, and influencers and really get the word out. So one of those that we didn’t find that signed up the first month, Asgeirsson, that just as a customer was this guy named Brandon Curran. And he was in our top tier, one hundred and fifty at the time, a month down to one sixty. And he would buy the box PayPal price and jump on YouTube and do this like Boxing Review. And we quickly like in those first few months, we had a post-purchase survey actually pre-purchase at the time of how did you find out about us? Very simple. Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. There was an “other” where you could write something in. And what we noticed was that first full year there were about 20% of the people like seeing each other and they were writing current, which was just this guy that was paying us full-price normal.

[00:11:56] But he had this like internet influencer like he was trying to grow his channel at the time and the relationship just grew and it was, hey, all right, we’re going to get the box for free now to hey, we’re going to continue to give you the box for free. $500 dollars a month to do this, because we just saw this growth and he was the brand. Right. Like, even though we weren’t associated with him, he brought so much value. And it finally just got as we grew to a point where we said, hey, man, he’s in North Carolina. And we said, So do you want to move down to Georgia with your family and just join us full time and be the face of the brand? And he said, yeah, and is a very non-traditional thing. But that was a big, big, big piece. And that really kind of set us in motion of the superbrands with the having the personalities. You know, we can probably attribute the Netflix show to that move as well. It’s a really interesting piece. So we quickly change from just your traditional rough around the edges, e-commerce company to where we are now we’re definitely a brand. Like we have stuff. Yes. The subscription box is the business. Yes. That’s nine over 90 percent of the revenue associated with the business. But it’s we’re still not a subscription box. First, we’re a brand first. We just happen to offer a subscription box. That the business.

[00:13:38] That’s a really cool, like marketing story, because I think a lot of people talk about, like, the idea of putting their customers first or listening to them. And I mean, that is like you guys just putting a product forth and then saying people are doing really cool off of this and literally letting your customer be the face of the brand. And like, I feel like a lot of people kind of pay lip service to that. But it sounds like you guys really like know live that process. And like you said, maybe it wasn’t the plan that you had in place, but you didn’t just like double down on your abandoned car program for growth. You, like, listen to your customer. And like, what was cool about this? And it sounds like it’s led to more of a brand play than like an e-commerce one is as a growth opportunity.

[00:14:22] Yeah, no, it’s one hundred percent. And it’s that’s like the main story. But another one we had we had another customer had been a customer for a while. His name was Luke Bagley. And so we had we don’t have anymore. We, we got rid of it for some reasons prior to the Netflix show premiering because it was going to be problematic. And I think Netflix kind of told us, hey, can you get rid of this? But we had this for very traditional Reddit style. We had several thousand of our members there and several thousand that weren’t even customers. It just would go there because it kind of became a resource for our little niche. And what we quickly did is we found five of the folks that were bringing the most value to it, and we made them moderators of the forum and in turn they got a free box each month. And that program still exists.

[00:15:20] And we have several moderators to this day that we set a box to. We have a Facebook group now and we’re thinking about potentially adding another type of group.

[00:15:30] But we had this one guy with Bagley and he was Johnny on the spot interacting with customers as he was a customer. And he just was so, so, so in tune. At times it appeared that he knew the business and the ins and outs and the intricacies of the subscription and the rules. He just was any of us did. And at times he might have known it better. And like when it came to what was that product in last month’s box or three months ago, he went one hundred percent, no better than I did. So he came to the point is, we’re growing. We’re OK. He’s a full-time nurse, by the way, too. And he somehow started off part-time, just some extra money for him. And it’s progressed several times. And now he leads h customer experience for the company. He put away the nurse profession. He’s joined us and he runs the entire customer service team.

[00:16:33] So it’s just kind of weird how those things happen. But I think that kind of is another point. We’re very engaged.

[00:16:43] We’re very, very engaged with our customers. And when you’re that engaged, it’s funny how things like this kind of happen.

[00:16:51] Yeah, that’s such a good learning lesson.

[00:16:55] And, you know, one of the things we often do when people come in and they say they’re all going to build a. Content strategy, or they’re looking to improve customer retention or something like that, you go to that forum or you go to the customer service line and you say what’s the most absurd question that the customer service people are answering like that should be a blog post or whatever else. And you get the same idea of what you guys are talking about in that. Like there are people who are engaged in like and have already answered these questions. Let’s provide that content to the audience. And the story kind of tells itself at that point.

[00:17:29] Now, a hundred percent pretty fortunate because it’s tough to accomplish those things. Right. It’s not like there’s a playbook to how do you get your fans super-engaged? I mean, there’s a playbook, but it doesn’t have guaranteed success. Right. In fact, it probably doesn’t work out more times than it does work out.

[00:17:48] But when you do have that that that creation where you have them super engaged, it’s just such an opportunity to do everything you just said.

[00:17:59] Yeah, and I think that’s a good point.

[00:18:01] Like the risk tolerance that’s there, too, because I think a lot of people, especially in marketing and in e-commerce overall, look at it as like a mathematical equation. And there’s definitely stuff like your ad dollars that you look at. And I want to make sure I’m getting the right are alive. But it sounds like you guys process-wise. And as a team, I’ve been willing to take some decent risks here to say, hey, this person knows more about this than anyone else. Maybe we hire somebody who is previously in the medical world that come from customer success because we think they’re going to be best at it or like our customer should be the face of the brand. Like, those aren’t like decisions to make. And I’m interested in just like how you guys as a team thought about, you know, like it’s almost the antithesis of a lot of like, you know, blog posts that are out there about how you grow the business. Like you’re not looking to improve a split test by two percent here. This is a different calculation.

[00:18:55] Yeah, no, so so just you know, I told both of the little tidbit stories in a couple of minutes each. But the reality is it was a much longer thing. So so with Luke, you know, we quickly found out is the moderators, they knew just as much about the business and they were just as engaged as we were. But it was definitely baby steps. It started off, you know, as part we needed part-time. We didn’t need a full-time person. We asked the moderator, we said, OK, well, the moderators might be a good part-time solution. And because they know so much about the business anyway, and he came in and was doing 10 hours a week, but he was just so good at it. And then it turned into, hey, what do we want to do, 15 hours? And, you know, but this was over probably over a year of. Of that before it became before we had the conversations, OK, I wouldn’t mind coming in full time and he came in full time, but at that time he was, he was the same as the other six members. And then as we grew, we just at that point was just like a normal employee, where when someone’s a rock star, you can identify that you want to fast track them as quickly as possible. But it was definitely a process.

[00:20:22] And it wasn’t, I think, from both outside and inside. Like I mean, he’s a nurse. Like, how do you make the transition? I’m going to lead customer experience for an ecommerce brand. That’s a big change. So I one hundred percent think it’s it was a lot of back and forth and a process on both sides.

[00:20:44] Yeah.

[00:20:44] How do you guys think of I guess how do you think about metrics for success and the process of just like evaluating the investments that you’re making and again, the work of a lot of e-commerce brands and a lot of times it gets boiled down to like, you know, we want three to one or rely on these campaigns. And you guys investing in things like content and customer success, really being a driver to lifetime value and things like that. What are the of the metrics that you guys look at from a marketing perspective that help you understand whether you’re kind of on the right track or not? Because even if these decisions are a little bit slower pace that over time you still got to kind of have your finger on the pulse of things.

[00:21:27] Yeah.

[00:21:28] So we actually the metrics we care about are the metrics you think we’re not reinventing the wheel. You know, we’re managing to when we’re talking solely subscriptions, we’re following that, that CAC that customer acquisition costs to at TI and we are conservative. We want to be, you know, worst-case scenario, worst case break, even after month one, there’s an occasional situation where we might say, OK, well, we won’t see profitability until month two when we’re acquiring a new subscriber depending on the time of the year, the seasonality of the business. And we’re talking traditional. One time we’re one hundred percent managing to a return on investment. And when we’re even doing content, we’re baking in those content costs holistically into knowing what our CAC is, what we’re what our ROAS is like that’s baked into the final number. So we’re not now the employee thing to look, that’s a risk, but that’s a different type of risk. And I don’t really even view that as anything in the marketing realm. Right. It was kind of because current does lead are video content is the face of the brand. We’re very conservative when it comes to marketing and ad spending and all those decisions.

[00:23:04] That’s it’s interesting to hear you say that, because I know that the fundamentals really are like the fundamentals, right? Like some of that stuff, you just, you know, there it is a math equation to some extent, but it sounds like you guys have taken a.

[00:23:21] A longer view than just like month one, when looking at investments like video content or higher-end photography or whatever that might be, you mentioned kind of making those investments in. What’s the outlook that you take? How far ahead are you looking on things like that to say, hey, if we invest in a TV show, we’re going to see this growth over the next year or two years? Like how do you get yourself out of the like, what’s next week going to be like? But taking a broader outlook here to think about how those investments impact longer-term growth.

[00:23:56] Yeah, so, so funny. You say, what, next week or next month? I, I feel that we’re very short-sighted on the approach, but we’re always looking up at a year typically on average. And I feel that that’s very short-sighted because we’re prime example. You know, we’re talking about kind of we’ve always invested in the influencer ambassadors side of the business for at least the majority of the time we’ve been doing this. But we’re now talking about iPad causes. We’re talking about investing and in an actual platform for to manage and find more. And those platforms are expensive. You know, typically there are a couple of thousand a month. So it’s not an inexpensive choice. But we’re looking at it is you know, I was talking with Walter yesterday who is going to make the decision on this that you just got to ask yourself, you know, this is going to be the cost for the year. Like, do you see an easy path, a trackable path that’s realistic on how you’re going to be profitable like it is? It’s silly to say, but everything comes down to that for us. If the total cost is going to be twenty thousand dollars for the year, like, how are you going to have a positive return on ads? But and remember that the products we said I take the cost of goods sold out of that. So let’s come up with a variable and you’ve got to figure out that means this, which means is this going to generate this many customers?

[00:25:42] It’s kind of back to the fundamentals of a of a recurring revenue business, right? Cost the customer acquisition. There’s lifetime value for the cost of goods sold on eBay.

[00:25:51] And you’ve got your marketing. No. Right. Like, it’s so funny. You talk to different people about this. And even when you talk about, like marketing data, people are like, what? What do you look at? It’s important. Like that equation isn’t rocket science. How about you? I wasn’t an accountant guy like.

[00:26:09] Right. Me either. No, it’s those fundamental. It says it says few metrics and we manage the business to that.

[00:26:19] So even though we’re this brand, even though we have content, even though we have this show, the business is still managed pretty conservatively in all roads. All roads lead to this marketing metrics because those are the business.

[00:26:36] Those matter.

[00:26:38] Yeah, and I think that’s such a good reminder that even though there may be all this glitz on the front end and a TV show and all these cool personalities like it really all does come back to those fundamentals. But you mentioned technology a minute ago and kind of how you evaluated the different tools that you use.

[00:26:55] But how have you guys thought about investing in tech and obviously being an e-commerce brand and e-commerce tools? But what are the what are the pieces of technology that really allow you guys to get experience on your time and just operate at scale, not just across one brand, but several brands at this point?

[00:27:15] Sure. So. So, yes, some tech is very, very important because when you have so many brands, you know, if if.

[00:27:24] If Walter, I’ll give Walter, for an example, again, his marketing coordinator, one of his pillars of responsibility is our email marketing and our email schedule. And if we have five MailChimp accounts and five Clavio accounts and two Omni accounts, that doesn’t work. We have to have the same tech across the board. Prime example, one of our latest acquisitions is on was on strike for processing. And we slowly we used to actually be on strike for several years, but we moved everything to Braintree and talking to Luke, where he’s like this one Brandon Stripe, it’s just it’s when he has to go in there and review a dispute and it’s just it you can’t be efficient. You have to have the same tack, the same techs that across the board. So so we do because it’s of the utmost importance. So I think when it comes to the tech and what we’re doing with the data and what we’re offering, I would I would say that we’re bleeding edge. We’re pretty advanced.

[00:28:44] We have an amazing dev agency that we partner with that they function like they are part of our team. They’re in our Slack and they’re part of our culture. You know, we’re sending them the we’re sending them memes because they’re a part of the team. And they have really just leveraged APIs. We to even though we’re on traditional platforms or Shopify and Shopify Plus is always our go to among other pieces we charge for the subscription billing. But we built a lot of customization on everything. And I think that really helps us kind of excel. We break a lot of stuff because we’re trying to run faster. Like prime example. I think Claudio and recharge Quadrio released a couple quick actions, which is are which are a bunch of typically multi-step processes that would take a customer to do that can be done with a single link. And we saw that and we said, OK, well, we want to use this in other ways.

[00:30:07] Like let’s jump on a call with the product manager for this. Let’s jump on a call on the recharge side. Let’s get documentation. We want to build this and we want to build this our own way so we can integrate it in a ways that no one else’s. We can create a different campaign. We have a mobile app. We can send a mobile push notification for a campaign win back what we’re trying to get them to resubscribe. And we can embed that link, which is making an API call in the push notification so that it just makes it easy and they can resubscribe with one click access. So it’s like little things like that that we like to break stuff, unfortunately, which isn’t always good.

[00:30:48] But we’re trying we’re trying to always be ahead of the curve.

[00:30:53] Yeah, I mean, like the innovation there.

[00:30:56] But I think that the takeaway that you’ve got to have standardization, especially when you’re doing kind of growth by acquisition like you’ve talked about, like so often we see people kind of make an acquisition and not know what to do or six months later be running like the exact same parallel processes. And that’s that’s such a big takeaway is just knowing you got to consolidate this stuff and get everything into one place because I don’t know, like having two tools to do the same thing just logically doesn’t make a lot of sense. Never mind when you start looking at, like, the nuts and bolts of capabilities.

[00:31:30] Now, one hundred percent and we’ve had a really poor track record where it seems nothing we acquire, at least the majority have not been on Shopify and migrations are not fun. I think I’ve lost half the hair on my head just due purely get migrations. But yeah, it’s part of it. And when we’re when we’re negotiating and figuring out if if a deal can happen, we’re baking in to our forecast and our financial modelling, the fact that we’re going to have to migrate this and we’re going to we have to do it fast. Like Carnivore Club was on Magento and it was on an older version. It was on the previous Magento, which had which was, I think being sunset like it was just not a good situation.

[00:32:22] And we try to go ahead. So we be short about a month and a half on that. And it was just a nightmare for everybody. Shopify knows how that works. And you go over here and it’s completely different and it’s down worse or better, it’s just different. And, you know, you’re if you’re going to be an expert at something, you’re just you don’t handcuff your arm behind your back and shoot yourself in the foot. Yeah.

[00:32:48] Yeah. I think, like, people always ask, like, what’s the best platform out there? And it totally depends on your team. Right. And like what you have expertise in. And I like that like rip the Band-Aid off mentality of an acquisition and knowing you’re going to have to go through some tough stuff to get there.

[00:33:07] Yeah, but it’s so much better with so much better when you get to the other side. It’s just so much easier.

[00:33:16] Yeah, I think that’s an awesome takeaway and it applies to both B2B and businesses like the consistency and the ability to consolidate those tools to give yourself a just a clean space to work every day.

[00:33:28] Well, we’ve kind of worked our way through people process technology and super interesting to see how really the fundamentals of e-commerce work for you guys. But also, like, you get to do some really cool, fun brand stuff out there. We always close by talking a little bit about maybe a time where something snuck out from behind the curtain and write something maybe I published a little too soon or crashed the site doing something maybe that you maybe got a little overambitious on. If you guys had some experiences where everybody’s intentions were good, but you made a mistake along the way or you found out that maybe the process wasn’t quite as smooth as you liked, or maybe you’re finding your way around Magento as you’re a Shopify expert as you kind of grow.

[00:34:15] Yeah, we made so many mistakes to happen. So. So some.

[00:34:22] I have to, actually, because they’re completely different ones with the second one is a mistake pie in my face, egg on my face.

[00:34:32] But the first one was for like the first six, seven months of BattlBox. That was our first brain. That’s all we had for the first year. We were exclusively advertising on Facebook. Facebook was if you went to our Google analytics, Facebook was ninety nine percent of our traffic, one percent organic or ninety eight percent and one percent direct. But it was our sole source. We were one hundred percent dependent on that and but everything was going well back then. We were acquiring new subscription box clients for like four and five dollars when when there were we could have legitimately paid twenty, twenty X that is still profitable and everything was going great and we never thought. And it was just naivete and ignorance that maybe you shouldn’t have all your eggs in one basket and we were going into Labor Day weekend of that first year and amazing campaign like this was going to be the best we can we have ever had. And like Friday at five o’clock. Our ad account got not only like ads, disabled ad account canceled. We had never had a warning before.

[00:35:50] No idea what happened, and we went from just scale, scale, scale to literally nothing, no traffic, no sales, you know, an occasional sale coming in, someone that had come the day before and just converted on their own accord because we weren’t really targeting with that when we were doing anything.

[00:36:10] And it was kind of an aha moment where it was like, this is just not because I so many e-commerce brands do this.

[00:36:21] They’re relying on a single platform for their business. And that’s fine to a certain degree, to a certain size. But you’re not making a brand at that point. There is an incumbent. You’re never going to be a brand if you are dependent on a single single platform for advertising. And, you know, we got back on like after a week of us being super scared and what are we going to do? Like, we’d already generated we were already in the seven figures in that first year and we went from, you know, four or five million dollar runway for that first year, halfway through everything on track to just zero. And it’s my biggest take away I’ve had this whole time was that aha moment and all brand. Since we come up with a strategy when it comes to advertising and it’s as broad as possible. Now don’t get me wrong, Facebook is often Facebook and Google ads are typically always your two big guys right there. They’re your. You know, they’re the stars, typically, right, sometimes they’re not, but for the most part, they’re always in the all-star game. Right. But you’ve got to have other stuff.

[00:37:45] Yeah, that’s such a good learning and we see people do this, too, or like the entire business is dependent upon one channel, we shouldn’t be to be where people get into, like, lead aggregators. Right. Like to crowd or software advice or something like that.

[00:37:59] And like that’s driving 90 percent of the business.

[00:38:02] And like, you’re kind of just running someone else’s business at that point, like you’re not really in control of your own customer and a little bit with Amazon as well. So that’s an awesome, awesome takeaway. And I appreciate you just sharing that because I think a lot of people get excited because they find success. Right. So I got Facebook’s crushing it and our energy goes into that space instead of diversifying.

[00:38:27] And who knows if that wouldn’t have happened, we might have still probably not now five, six years down the line. But who knows how long would it continue? Just. Oh, Facebook’s great. We don’t need anything else. But, yeah, it was a great lesson to be taught. The second thing is, is a quick one. This is back twenty fifteen to back when I would get a Battleborn because notification on my phone, I look at it and I was boarding a plane to go to Boston for a wedding and right as we’re boarding and with my wife at the time, I get this weird notification and it’s, it looks like it’s in like Facebook business manager kind of like that PM D.M. of our Facebook page and like looks like a Facebook logo kind of, but it’s like you need to reauthorize. And it was somewhat phishing hack clearly like someone phishing, like trying to be Facebook and like it was them trying to get you to install an app you would authorize which would then quickly flip them as an app and everybody else out. And Facebook around that time didn’t do a great job stopping that kind of stuff, filtering it and letting it get through. And I clicked it and then like it looked funky. And I was like, that is do something bad, like, oh, well, airplane mode. And I landed in Boston and I had like voice mails and text messages from Patrick and Daniel. Richard wasn’t on board yet.

[00:40:00] And they were like, what has happened was like they literally just all out of everything. And it was just it was like we was helpless and probably for the next couple of years, it was like, you know, don’t don’t let John in our Facebook. Did he doesn’t the need to be in there!

[00:40:31] Now, I remember during that time with Facebook in particular, like that’s when a lot of weird stuff was happening on the advertising side and there’d be advertisers out there driving into like pages that turned into spambots.

[00:40:43] And, yeah, you know, the same thing happens with like WordPress sites and malware. And it’s such a good reminder to you are like, you know, we’re all working kind of all the time. You mentioned that you did not plan and you’re just trying to like, you know, get stuff done. And that’s the time where you should really, like, take an extra second and like dot the I’s and cross the T’s. And it’s great. We all have all this stuff in our pocket all the time.

[00:41:09] But like, yeah, sometimes like only second to focus on something isn’t the best, best solution.

[00:41:18] No, I’s were dotted and no T’s were crossed on that one.

[00:41:26] Well I appreciate you sharing and I appreciate you coming on.

[00:41:30] It’s been an awesome conversation as we wrap up here. If people want to keep in touch or check out you guys stores, where can they find you online or find the stores overall, maybe check out the Netflix show.

[00:41:45] Yeah, so Netflix’s show, it’s just open up your Netflix search for Southern survival, you can find us on BattlBox dot.

[00:41:55] That’s BattlBox.com. There is no E in there. If you add an E, you’re going to go to a Disney site. That’s another for another podcast episode. And then CarnivoreClub.co to get your monthly charcuterie.

[00:42:14] Awesome, but John, thanks for joining us, appreciate it and appreciate the insight. Looking forward to going and checking you out on kind of a dreary weekend here on Netflix.

[00:42:26] Sounds good. Well, Devin, I appreciate you having me. Thank you so much.

[00:42:32] You’ve been listening to Marketing Behind the Curtain to ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thanks so much for listening. Until next time.

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