arrow-right cart chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up close menu minus play plus search share user email pinterest facebook instagram snapchat tumblr twitter vimeo youtube subscribe dogecoin dwolla forbrugsforeningen litecoin amazon_payments american_express bitcoin cirrus discover fancy interac jcb master paypal stripe visa diners_club dankort maestro trash

Shopping Cart


The Recap | On the Battlbox Mission 100 | Hit Subscribe

The Recap | On the Battlbox Mission 100 | Hit Subscribe

by Kristen LaFrance

A month ago

In this Recap episode, we talk to John Roman from Battlbox to talk about a monumental moment in Battlbox history—paired with an attractive prize of $100,000.

Transcript from audio:


John Roman welcome to the podcast I
think this might be our third or fourth
interview now in our tenure of
fourth because the first one didn't
record like us look at us

she came back when I was I was sure
Buster that was quite a few years ago so
we made it all the way around now we're
here you were with churnbusher but was
it at a recharge event I think so I
think it was charge X yeah I do too yeah
yeah Santa Monica yeah and now I'm here
at recharge have fun yeah I love a full
circle full circle yeah well what I
remember from every conversation I've
ever had with you is Battle boxes
retention and battlbox's very unique
approach to retention for the listeners
what is battlbox what do you guys do
sure so we are an outdoor and adventure
company so outdoor Centric whether
that's hiking camping
hanging out surviving literally anything
if it has to do with the outdoors it's
us we also have a subscription box
element obviously that is the business
that's the big big part of the business
and what I've always loved is your
retention is often higher than Brands
who you would think have a more natural
path to retention a subscribe and save
auto-ship kind of product and your churn
is pretty darn low because you guys do
some really unique stuff to keep your
customers around can you give us the
high level how do you think about
loyalty and retention especially when
the base of the business started with
this curated experience of products that
at some point you have too many of them
it's sure that's our number one churn
reason right people ran out of room the
approach don't get me wrong we do all of
the traditional churn-in retention best
practices throughout the life cycle but
it really starts with just how we view
our customers and it's it's we view them
in the lens of they are our community
and we're engaging with them there's not
a day that goes by where I don't have
some sort of interaction in our members
only Facebook group like as as myself
responding and then interacting and you
don't you don't really get that it's
easier to achieve when you're super
small and it's just you and you're
trying to build this but you know we're
still you know relatively small in the
big grand scheme of things but we're big
enough where it's a little uncommon to
see the amount of Engagement we have we
have five or six battle box team members
that are always at all points in the
members only group in aging so taking
that approach and we take it through
that engagement and then we take it
through content which is a lot of fun
and really cool to do and we're
continuing to double down on doing cool
content it is always my number one
retention tactic to give to people is
I can tell you all these little tactics
and things you can do within the life
cycle and check your automations check
your emails all this stuff but it really
all boils down to the same piece of
advice which is actually know your
customers because you actually talk to
your customers and it is shocking to
find how many Brands never have direct
interactions with their customers unless
it's on customer support
which is just such a Miss across the
board and it gives you all these
opportunities to do really cool stuff
when you have
true engagement with your customers
which you guys obviously do
let's get into the content piece because
you said something that I know some
operators are probably listening and and
heard like content's so fun and they're
going content is not fun it's the bane
of my existence but you guys see content
as fun tell me about your approach to
content and just how you think about
that in tandem with customer engagement
sure so content is fun don't get me
wrong it is at times the bane of our
existence I mean you look at Tick Tock
in particular we created a tick tock
handle in the beginning of 2020 we made
zero posts zero interactions did nothing
with the account except set it up for
the first year and then in 2021 February
it became this hot button I was like we
are going to be successful on Tick Tock
and we're not gonna dance because that's
not our brand I think out of all of our
tick tocks there's one dance and I
convinced Curran to do it and he
literally did it and then put a message
up here in The Tick Tock thing my my
boss made me do this nice so it took us
a year a year of continued daily stuff

working on content short form video
content with very little success but we
knew that it was eventually going to
crack so we did it for a year expecting
different results every day and getting
the same results of nothingness but then
it eventually popped it's our largest
channel now wow yes there's a completely
different approach I know we're going to
talk about our tank event that we did
that's exactly what that was it was
content but it was geared I mean
ultimately it was to accomplish a bunch
of things but it was really it's also a
retention tool I think the first time we
talked about it you put it in such an
interesting way it's part content part
virality part experiential part
Community part Willy Wonka tell us about
a thing so that was that was the actual
ingredient list everything is outlined
it's so we call our monthly boxes
missions so the first box we sent out in
February 2015 was mission one March 15
was mission two so we just sent out our
100th Mission our 100th box you know a
little over eight years and
we've done this amazing job of building
this community which means we're getting
24 7 constantly and and we take a very
proactive approach with feedback and
we've we've built a bunch of tools where
feedback is welcomed and appreciated so
you know the double-edged sword but
we're getting feedback constantly in the
June box is Mission 100 and in January
we started getting some
wrestlings about what is going to be in
Mission 100 they're gonna do something
big and the next 30 days is
people making predictions on what the
box is going to include and 99 of those
predictions would have put us out of
business because ultimately we're
selling a box for 170 200 after taxes
and shipping like we can't spend 400 on
the box we have you know 40 families
that that count on Battle walks for for
their money we can't go out of business
you don't have an Institutional money
that doesn't care about profitability to
use so we we knew we'd want to do
something but we didn't know what it was
we want to do something special it is a
big deal the 100th box
so we're at Shot Show which is a
convention in Vegas in January
in our CFO comes back with a little
pamphlet and it's a place called Drive
tanks and it's this 22 000 acres in
Texas and they have tanks and all kinds
of crazy stuff and he sends it to me
he's like hey this is maybe a Content
idea and I was like yeah we could go
there and just shoot some tanks so that
would be great content absolutely great
coin sure sign me up yeah so somewhere
along that conversation and the
conversation what we can do about
Mission 100 we start talking through
Concepts and ideas and the snowball of
what we can do and we we finally came up
with it we're gonna have this event and
we we're gonna have sponsors for the
event but then we're gonna have
additional sponsors because we we came
up with these six sponsorships one main
sponsor of five sponsors and the first
six people we pitched all said yes he
had six more calls lined up because we
figured you know we thought we were
going to close 50 the six calls we have
were like well crap okay we're gonna ask
them for product so Mission 100 ships
out we selected randomly 500 boxes and
those 500 boxes all had combined total
about forty thousand dollars worth of
additional product in them that our
customers those six that I mentioned all
donated and we shot a lot of footage and
a lot of posts a lot of content about us
putting these extra gear in this so we
called out these amazing partners that
they gave us this product and those 500
boxes they all got extras
sneakiness behind that too because
you could almost right away go well what
about all the other customers who aren't
gonna get it won't they be upset but you
have such a good engagement and brand
reputation and relationship with your
customers that actually I'm gonna guess
what it did was it then puts in
everybody else's mind that sometimes
battlbox just randomly puts extra stuff
in your box so I'm gonna stay on because
that might happen to me one day right
and to be fair we do that in our members
only group every week at least once
normally twice we just have a random
giveaway where we're just giving
freebies to active subscribers so yeah
surprise and Delight I'll get to the
part about how it was announced in a
second the second piece is five boxes
had a golden ticket that they received a
golden ticket we flew them to San
Antonio we met them out there five
participants six seven battle box
members and Partners came both on the
product side and then prela sent two
people 45 people we all stayed at the
same Hotel got in on a Wednesday had a
reception where we all meet at 7am
there's a bus and all of us get in the
bus we drive about two two and a half
hours in a row Texas and the five golden
ticket participants one at a time shoot
a tank a World War II tank at a target
downrange a basketball that said
battlbox Mission 100 on it love it and
if they hit the basketball we were going
to give them a hundred thousand dollars
after that part was over we shot the
tank I think another 10 times loaded
everybody back on the bus had sandwiches
ready for everybody for the drive back
and Gatorades and Waters and then that
night we took them all to dinner hung
out with them had some more drinks and
colder today we then also gave him each
a swag bag about two thousand dollars
worth of more product donated from our
sponsors and if anybody doesn't hit the
Target and they don't win the hundred
thousand we'll give them a free year of
Battle box which is about 2 000-ish
dollars what was the experience like
doing such a deeply intimate experience
with these customers that you may have
never even met before or have really
only known virtually didn't know any of
them so only two of them were actually
in the members only group wow the other
three weren't because not everybody's in
that group only maybe half of our
customers so never had never met any of
them two from Tennessee one from Seattle
one from Texas actually but 10 hours
away and one from Idaho so it was so
cool it was also cool because yeah it
was intimate we got to noticeable we got
to hang out with them we hung out with
them for two days one was really cool is
they were the complete Spectrum of our
customers we had one in his 60s one in
his late 50s one in his late 30s one
late 30s or early 40s one early 30s and
then a 19 year old so it was the full it
was so cool like you had the full
demographic scope that's always been
something so interesting to me about
battlbox is your demographics are so
wide outdoor activities and enthusiasts
and people who are into it for different
reasons and yet you're still able to
talk to all of them so well it sounds
like it was just so cool to be there and
see it and really engage with it all it
is a a retention move what was the
strategy what was the thinking on how is
this going to drive retention so one the
way we announced it was interesting we
renew our customers the Uber majority of
them on the 15th of the month so the
morning of the 15th the recharge renewal
happened and at noon that day after the
renewal we dropped the video where we
let everyone know 500 boxes in the
upcoming coming shipment we're going to
have special products and five we're
gonna have golden tickets we explain
what the golden tickets were going to do
at a high level and we said very
accurately and factually this is not a
sales tool if you're seeing this today
and you sign up for a battle box you do
not qualify that's just for our
customers our active customers the
customers who are new today it was not
an acquisition move it wasn't the
purpose of it at all right surprise and
delight and we've been very clear this
is the direction we're going this
morning I literally spent an hour in a
spreadsheet of us planning what the next
event is going to be it's not going to
be shooting tanks again it's got to be
something else it's got to be something
fresh still working through what that is
but with certainty it's going to be
bigger than five customers this time and
we might have a a part where we open it
up to just if you're a customer you can
maybe buy a ticket and it really is
about the experience and it was so cool
because you have us you have the battle
box vendors box knives and business
connect in clean freak and all these
awesome vendors that sell us product
that goes in the box but then you also
have the customers over here you have
the partners like parallel that came and
we're all together and it's this
multi-faceted multi-win community where
everyone is just getting along and
getting to know each other and it was
just the experience was probably the my
favorite part well what's so cool about
that is that the consumer is persuading
the brands nowadays versus the Brand's
persuading consumers the consumers
really have a lot of power and they're
becoming so involved in brands what's so
cool about that is you really had all
these different people in the battle box
Universe whether that is agency partner
to vendor to the actual customer it's
the epitome of that they're getting to
know basically the back end of battle
books not just the team at battlbox but
the team that supports the team at
battlbox which just has got to create
such a unique atmosphere for the
consumers and for you guys you're seeing
it you're getting to meet Patrick who
runs operations and shipping and has
never been in a battle Box video before
right you're getting to meet him and
you're seeing he's a real person and
he's answering questions and it's so
cool because the truth is coming out
there right you're truly seeing all
aspects of it it's so cool one of the
really cool things was we were
interviewing the five contestants and
hearing their battle box experience and
each was so different the 19 year old
was talking about how he goes through
the battle marks everyone with his
grandfather and oh that is so special it
looks so cool and then one of the other
gentlemen keeps some of this stuff but
he put stuff together and gives it to
homeless people it was just so cool
because what you were quickly realizing
is there's another layer of the
community there's this whole other
additional layer that our customers have
started they're gifting the products
they're doing it with family and loved
ones they're donating it to homeless
people like there's an effective layer
of this Camino onion if you will there
is an existing battle box universe and
then the customers are then creating a
secondary Universe Outreach for
battlebox that's so many story is such a
special way that the products are
connecting into their actual lives and
personas and how they show up in the
world is I mean just how much content
did you come out with do you already
recorded you're just you've got now what
a hundred more stories to tell yeah so
the water learnings from the way you
know in hindsight I wish it would have
done the interviews prior to the event
because the guy spoke about 100 we
should have brought we would have
brought his grandfather out there yeah
that means Grandpa yeah like how cool is
yeah so much fun and you talk about
being and feeling fulfilled afterwards
it is such a good feeling to see the
community in action in all the different
aspects of it to your point all
interacting and everybody just is
excited and getting along and it's I
don't know it's it was very energizing
this industry can be a little bit
isolating and it's a lot of it is online
and we're kind of just interacting
between these virtual fields and then
you're also just sitting in spreadsheets
and looking at the money and thinking
about supporting the families that work
for battlbox but then to have that this
is why we exist this is a purpose it
really grounds you back into that which
that is worth the experience so much for
brand operators and founders
but even more so the future of the
business it gives you kind of that like
re-energized I don't know it's how I
feel every time I see people like you in
real life e-commerce events are like
right this is about the people not just
selling on the internet but we got
super fortunate so I I don't know why I
didn't mention anything to talk about
all these parts so we also invited
several of our influencers as well and
it was so cool to see them interact with
everybody because they thought they were
right in the mix too and you have our
customers that have seen their videos or
their shorts and it was just such a cool
such a cool experience I want to do it
again immediately ugh I bet you said
you're already in the spreadsheets and
looking at
what the next thing is but to give the
longest answered on answer ever on the
retention piece it's exactly that right
so I've already sent a battle box into
the Union out to our customers letting
him know some of the cool things that
we're working on and one of which is
that there's going to be another event
there's also going to be an offering
called battle Vault where we're going to
have exclusive offerings for subscribers
Partnerships vendors additional deals
that we've negotiated and secured for
them and then a product catalog that
will have special pricing only available
to them so subscription box but also now
memberships it's exciting but in that
letting him know we're already working
on the next one and it's going to be
cool oh that's so awesome I am so glad
we were able to get on the mic and
actually talk about this because it is
one of the coolest Stories the most
unique approaches to retention while
also being literally in your numbers one
of the most effective approaches to
John the second interview we ever did I
still to this day reference something
that you told me in that interview
probably once a week and I feel like
this is going to be the same thing for
years to come yeah we were talking about
Gathering feedback and having systems
set up to actually gather feedback so it
was the survey that you guys send out
that then automatically triggers
depending on their answer what follow-up
they get and it is at least once a week
I am telling somebody
when I say talk to customers it's not
just a floaty squishy idea you actually
execute on it they're gonna tell you
everything you need to know yeah John
thank you so much this was so much fun I
have to ask one question what does it
feel like to shoot a tank I didn't shoot
a tank you didn't shoot a tank yeah did
you stand close to somebody shooting a
tank yeah I videoed Was it crazy
shooting a tank
yeah it's it shakes shakes you feel it
yeah it's definitely super super intense
that's awesome I love it