Episodes > Season 2 Episode 12

KatKin Episode thumbnail

How KatKin focuses on retention for long term success

Tom Shacham, Lead Engineer @ KatKin

What's in this episode?

On this episode we are talking with Tom Shacham, Lead Engineer of KatKin, a personalized vet-formulated cat meals company. We dive into the journey of founders going door-to-door selling their cat food in London to a thriving DTC business with a loyal fan base.

We also chat about how KatKin uses educational content to engage with their customers, the effectiveness of using a simple onboarding quiz and their focus on retention as a foundation to ensure long term success.

Connect with Tom on LinkedIn. Check out KatKin.

Episode transcript

Chase Alderton: Welcome to Hit Subscribe, a podcast by Recharge designed to educate, inspire, and connect the subscription commerce space. On this episode, we're talking with Tom Shacham, lead engineer of KatKin, a personalized, vet-formulated cat food company. We dive into the journey of founders going door to door, selling their cat food in London to a thriving DTC business with a loyal fan base.

Chase Alderton: We also chat about how KatKin uses educational content to engage with their customers, the effectiveness of using a simple onboarding quiz, and they're focused on retention as a foundation to ensure long-term success. So, let's get started. Tom, thank you for joining us.

Tom Shacham: Thanks, Chase.

Chase Alderton: Give me a little bit of info on yourself and also about KatKin as a brand.

Tom Shacham: I'm Tom. I'm a lead software engineer here at KatKin, and I joined about a year and a bit ago. It comes from a background of sort of back-end software engineering, but I've always been really interested in startups and I love kind of contributing to the product and the vision and all that kind of stuff that I know it's not for everyone. But yeah, so I joined in about a year and a bit ago, like I say. And kind of there were only about five of us back then when I joined, and now we're about 40 people.

Chase Alderton: It's a huge growth story. I love it. What is KatKin as a brand? I know it's very cat-focused.

Tom Shacham: Yeah. It's often people say Kit Kat by accident, but yeah. KatKin is kind of, I suppose, in a sentence, healthy food for cats. It's fresh food. It's frozen fresh, which is something we're trying to push as an idea, so fresh you'd have to freeze it. But it is essentially human food for cats, because cats... Generally cat food's not that healthy for cats, so we're trying to give cats their best nine lives.

Chase Alderton: This is a super interesting kind of product market fit story from my end, I think, because it's interesting that you're marketing as human food for cats, which seems to be kind of the trend. Everybody's moving towards this health trend and everyone's trying to obviously give their pets as healthy food as possible. But getting it from the freezer section at a grocery store seems a little difficult. It seems kind of like it's the wrong place that it should be housed, but I guess that's where it is. How did you guys figure out the product market fit that this is actually a product that's needed in the market?

Tom Shacham: Yeah. I think we're not actually allowed to say that it's human-quality food anymore, but...

Chase Alderton: That's fair.

Tom Shacham: It is made from kind of the by-products of food that humans would eat, so in that sense, it's sustainable because it's the things that would go to waste anyway. But it's also much higher quality than kind of what is traditionally thought of. I suppose the image that people have of kind of what meat goes into the sausage are awful or something worse than that. It is actually quite high quality, especially by cat standards. But to your point, how do we have a kind of frozen products and how do we find the need for that?

Tom Shacham: I think there is an ongoing, there's a kind of broad market change of premiumization inside of pet food, generally. Actually, the food that we feed our pets, it's the same kind of sort of food that was invented initially in the Victorian era, kind of 1850s. It's basically tinned meat and carbohydrates, filler stuff-

Chase Alderton: Interesting.

Tom Shacham: ... so your dog doesn't starve, basically. But it didn't change for probably a hundred years between 1850 and 1950.

Chase Alderton: Wow.

Tom Shacham: And since then and even then, I think, only just some supplements of vitamins and minerals. So like I say, the broader trend is around this kind of the cat is a part of the family. It's a loved animal that deserves to be treated like a child or a sibling. And so I think then, when our founders Brett and Nikki went out to kind of explore the uptake of this, of our products, whether it would be popular, that was their vision. And then they were knocking door to door for people to try this out in North London. It was really, really well-received for that for that reason.

Chase Alderton: They were literally, literally knocking door to door? Not a figure of speech?

Tom Shacham: Yeah. I mean, perhaps said that it was the hardest thing he's ever had to do. So 12 hours a day on their feet, trying to get it through as many houses as he can.

Chase Alderton: Trying to sell frozen cat food, I guess that definitely seems like it'd be a difficult thing to do.

Tom Shacham: Yeah. Just energy-wise, if they had nothing else.

Chase Alderton: So then, how do you kind of convince people that there's a problem in the first place? Because I make a lot of what you said is there's a movement going toward this healthy pet food trend kind of thing. But at the same time, there's still a lot of people who are perfectly content just doing wet food, dry food, and just letting their cats kind of run through their nine lives, as you said.

Tom Shacham: Mm. Yeah, exactly. And I think a lot of people I speak to, I can almost immediately tell whether or not they have a cat, because most people would be immediately dismissive and they'll say, "Oh, no. I had a cat. They lived to be 16 and they were fine." So yeah, I think that the difficult thing there is differentiating between where your customers don't see there as an issue anyway. They think, "Oh, I'm buying cat food. My cat eats it," kind of end of story.

Tom Shacham: There must be some sorts of basic requirement, and there are basic requirements. A cat food legally has to have a certain percentage of meat content that has to be able to sustain life. You have to be able to live on it as a cat, but that's kind of where it ends. And I think that's where the education piece needs to come in. That is sort of the equivalent of living on ready meals your whole life. It's yeah, you're not going to die, but you're not going to be an athlete either. So do you want to be really healthy? Do you want to feel like you have energy all the time?

Tom Shacham: And I think what we've seen with our foods, the main things are the cat owners or cat parents will notice that their cats have much shinier coats, that their stools don't smell, they're much more energetic and happy, they kind of exhibit this kitten-like behavior again, they're playing with things, and I think that they're less prone to kind of going out hunting where they're trying to find the substitute food that they're not getting from their kind of tinned feed.

Tom Shacham: So I suppose that's the difficult thing, is we need to tell people that you might be happy with what you've got because you don't really necessarily see what's missing, but hey, there's this whole thing missing. You could have a that lives like this.

Chase Alderton: It's so funny. Just from a personal side, you talk about how this is going to keep you alive, but you're not necessarily going to be an athlete. I'm such a big person in the fitness world that you relate this to a human food. I'm like, "Yeah, you can eat frozen TV dinners your whole life, but it's not really going to sustain you long-term. It's not going to be healthy for you."

Chase Alderton: So that's kind of we're not talking that you need to be able to deadlift a thousand pounds, but at the same time, maybe there's a middle ground somewhere that you can kind of boost your cat's life. You can make sure that this is something that's going to be, long-term sustainable for them. And although the timeline of a cat being alive may still be 16 years, there's a lot of other benefits in there that you may be missing out on because of the food that you're feeding.

Chase Alderton: You said that's kind of where the content comes in. What type of content do you try to provide to potential buyers, to existing buyers? How do you kind of get that message through without forcing it and making it sound salesy?

Tom Shacham: Yeah, it's really difficult. It's a really good question. I think the two major things off the top of my head, and this isn't my sort of area of expertise, but I'm more on that in the technical detail, but our adverts very much focus on these benefits that they're going to bring to you and your cat. We try to have kind of a user-generated content that people submit of their cats kind of clawing at the food, desperate to kind of have our food, or being kind of playful and happy and content. I think those can help with prospective customers who may know nothing. I suppose, to a large extent, you need to appeal in that regards, to emotion. And so it does need to be less educational and more kind of, "Hey, your cat's going to love it."

Tom Shacham: But then we have this whole educational piece. We have a community, and the community is genuinely just people who are cat lovers and they really want the best for cats. And I think that is anyway the best way to approach it. You don't need to be calculated or anything. We have a vet on board who works full-time with us, and we do educational content every week. We do a kind of a livestream of, I don't know, 10 things you didn't know about the way your cat thinks, just things that vets might know.

Chase Alderton: Better quality of life questions and better ways to kind of to be more in touch with your cat.

Tom Shacham: Yeah, exactly. I mean, there's just so much that cat owners don't know. I didn't know anything about cats from my point. For example, that they're obligate carnivals, which means they have to eat meat. They've evolved to extract all of their nutrition from meat and protein, which you can imagine makes sort of sense if you live in a savanna and you're hunting gazelle. They can't not eat meat. For example, there's this kind of subculture around vegan cats and things which just doesn't make any scientific sense.

Tom Shacham: I think there's a lot out there. It's very hard to come by information. So I suppose that's another thing we do, is we have communities. We have a Facebook community, we have Instagram and all of those social channels, but we're trying to put out content that's genuinely unique and interesting and educational that doesn't have any kind of like, "Hey, you have to buy our food," but it's just, "Here's some things that are going to help you."

Chase Alderton: Totally. I'm picturing the internet of cats and them running through savannas trying to tackle gazelles and trying to get their meat for their... And it's an interesting picture in my head. I'm sure you have the world of marketing opportunities when you're talking through cats and internet advertising for sure.

Tom Shacham: Yeah, exactly. I mean, and then it's funny because you can look at it in two ways, I suppose. On the one hand, we have this huge opportunity of, I mean, everyone loves cats. The internet is made of cats. You can just put cats out there and surely everyone's going to watch our cat videos. But on the other hand, you're kind of competing with Joe Bloggs for space on the internet just trying to show a cat, because they're probably bored of cats by the time they come to your cat video.

Chase Alderton: Totally. It's an interesting balance. There's a ton of opportunity but it's also super saturated at the same time, so it's finding the balance in there. And especially if you're trying to drive value, the first thing people think of when you see a cat video is like, "This is just going to be funny. I'm just going to enjoy this." And if there's that kind of transition to education or content or even a product in there, there's definitely a balance in trying to figure out how your consumers will kind of take that in.

Chase Alderton: I want to get back to having a vet on staff. I think you brought that up really, really smoothly and then kind of transitioned right over that. That's the first time I've ever seen something like this hosted inside an actual companies. You have a vet on your actual team full-time. They do livestream to do tips and advice. They're putting up videos all the time. It's definitely a piece of content for sure, but do you feel like that piece has kind of taken you over the edge of like, "We're not just here to sell this thing. We're actually here to provide value and tell you why this is such an ingenious product."

Tom Shacham: Yeah, exactly. And also, it's to make sure that we are living those values that we're hoping that you build a product and you might have a certain idea that it's going to do this and it's going to solve that problem. But it's quite easy to compromise and think, "Oh well, this is life. This is close enough," or, "We don't have the money for this," and so on. So we definitely need people in the know on the team. And he is, Dr. Grant is one of them, and it makes sure that if we're going to do an upsell or an add-on or we're going to partner with this company or that company, that actually you're living those brand values. Because people like Grant actually know, is that the right thing to do? Is that the best thing for your cat? And that's what we're always trying. That's the lens through which we're trying to view everything we do.

Chase Alderton: And this is super unique. I think this is such an important point, so I'm kind of double tapping on this, sitting on this for a while. But this is kind of the point of the whole DTC movement, is that if you wanted to just go buy cat food, you could just buy it online somewhere or you could go to a grocery store and just buy whatever wet or dry food you want. But creating this community, for one, having someone like a vet on staff that can really double down on these actual core values of the company, is huge, being able to produce a product that someone will stand behind. These are all things that make up true DTC brands and true value brands, so it's really cool to see that.

Chase Alderton: I know a lot of brands around the world, they're doing this, but it's when you actually get to dig into details and figure out how you're kind of building a company and who's on staff, I think that makes a lot of sense. That's really cool.

Tom Shacham: Yeah. It's awesome.

Chase Alderton: Let's get back into your area of expertise. I want to hop into the website a little bit and talk through kind of how your website is your main acquisition channel. You do have an onboarding quiz on the site. I'm a huge onboarding quiz fan. Talk me through kind of the logic of setting it up, because I know it's longer than most usual quizzes would be. I'm curious kind of what data you have behind that and how you built that in the first place.

Tom Shacham: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that's really interesting. For context, the history is when I joined, it already exists. We had something of a website built by a number of agencies and it was mostly not working, so actually the first thing I did when, I think the first month or two that I was here, I've closed out about a hundred different bugs.

Tom Shacham: The sign up flow, it was initially designed around, "Do you have one cat, two cat, three cat, four cat?" And if you said that you have two cats, you have to kind of fill in both of the information the whole way through as you go along. And each screen is quite long, and a whole number of things could go wrong on any single screen. And it's just the cognitive load. In general, you're trying to minimize what is required for a customer who has a limited amount of patience anyway.

Chase Alderton: Right.

Tom Shacham: I think we re-thought it. And actually one of the driving factors was that we knew that 30% of households who have cats have two cats or more. But in terms of actual customers we had, active customers, only 10% of them had two cats or more. So we knew that we were indexing into single cat households, and I think that's because it's a premium product as well. You can spend 50 pounds a month, but are you going to spend a hundred pounds a month? It's actually quite big difference, so-

Chase Alderton: It tends to stack pretty quickly.

Tom Shacham: Exactly. That actually drove us to think, "Well, it'd actually be really handy if you told us you had two cats, but you only have to check out for one of them." So then that drove us down, this initial kind of thinking of, "Well, why don't you just check out one at a time? And if at the very end, they're happy to add a second cart because that's such a pleasant experience, then they can add the second one. But let's not force people to spend twice as much money, because there's no way they're going to go back to the start and delete a cart. No one's got patience for that."

Chase Alderton: Right.

Tom Shacham: We kind of actually went down this route. We saw it performed a lot better, to show people one screen at a time, or just ask them one question at a time. One of the big challenges we've had is around tracking and making sure that we really trust our data and that the funnel, kind of visualization in the signup funnel, is accurate, and we can say, "Oh, people are dropping off at this point. This is where they're having difficulty." And once we had that, you could see that this kind of approach of what, asking one question at a time, just massively reduced drop-off. People are much happier to kind of just think about one thing at a time.

Tom Shacham: And also most of our users were mobile users, and you'd really don't want a busy screen. You don't want to have to scroll. Ideally, the call to action, kind of continue button, et cetera, is just sticky. But the buttons, you'd have to think, where is it? And so then they're only left in the little bit of the screen after reading. So in that regard, I think it was really, really good to ask one question at a time, just in sounds of real estate. And so yeah, it seems really long, but actually, if you kind of think about it in terms of cognitive load, it's much smaller or shorter.

Chase Alderton: So you're kind of taking the approach that once you start down this path and once you've hit continue once or twice, psychologically, the customer feels like they're already invested in this and they're either already getting the data that they want, so you might as well just kind of keep continuing, as opposed to one page that maybe has 10 questions on it, and you hit one to two to three and you go, "Oh my God, this thing's long, I'm out. I'm moving on"?

Tom Shacham: Mm-hmm (affirmative), exactly.

Chase Alderton: So it feels a little bit longer up front, but it's, in essence, kind of the same duration of time they're going to spend on it. And then the trade off is on your side. You can actually get the data and you can index it one by one by one, so people do start falling off at question four, per se. You can be able to go back to that and say, "Okay, maybe four is maybe not very relevant. Maybe that's too long of a quiz," and you can kind of tweak it from there.

Tom Shacham: Exactly. Yeah. That's such a good point because really, the challenge is endless. You can optimize it as much as you possibly want. And I think the next, for as long as this business exists, there will be a team of people thinking about squeezing another 0.1% out of different parts of the sign-up process. There's only going to be relevant.

Chase Alderton: A hundred percent.

Tom Shacham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: A hundred percent. There will always be people trying to get 0.1%, much less than 1%, of improvement. You're right.

Tom Shacham: Exactly. So by having each question that pure, it's much clearer to you. Okay, people have an issue at this point. Whereas if you had an inch, it's kind of when you're filling out the insurance form, you think, "Oh my God, look at all this stuff I have to do." It's kind of actually hard to know from a technical point of view, what is it that put them off? Was it seeing all of these things? Was it this part of the form that they didn't feel in? It's just a bit more, that's more of a technical challenge. It's just simpler all round.

Chase Alderton: I just did a new insurance application, and it is a nightmare. I can vouch for that. There's just so much going on in one page. But yeah, you're right. If you leave, you look back then a company who says, "Okay, we know they left, but why?" And there could be any number of 15 reasons why.

Tom Shacham: Exactly.

Chase Alderton: Interesting. We've talked a little bit about DTC. I know that obviously you are a subscription DTC model. You talked a little bit in the past about how, if that is your model, you want to show really good retention. Seems like you have a pretty good understanding that the acquisition-retention balance in a subscription world, it's obviously more about retention. Talk a little bit more about that. We've looked through kind of your onboarding flow for acquisition. How does your retention strategy work?

Tom Shacham: Yeah. In terms of my history at KatKin, that's the first thing we liked to fix, was retention. Actually, acquisition was so good in the early days that we didn't worry about it at all, but the last few months we focused more on acquisition. But in terms of retention, I think the thing that joins the two is sort of LTV:CAC, so lifetime value of the customer versus the cost to acquire them. And I think that is something that we have also put in work, to be able to track and chart.

Tom Shacham: Because one thing that's really, really nice to do is say, "Okay, we're going to run this advertisement and you might look in isolation." Yeah, they did great. We acquired a bunch of customers. That's awesome. This ads really works. But actually, we've seen in the past that it might attract a certain kind of customer that doesn't have a good lifetime value. They might think, "Oh wow, this food, it tastes so good." And then they try it and they realize not all cats think it tastes so good. And so it maybe brought in loads of customers that just think it's going to taste really good.

Tom Shacham: So I think you have to kind of join the two ups, so they live together, and that's LTV:CAC. That's one thing we look at, and the good example of how we use that to reverse a decision recently was that we put out a really good offer in terms of price, and we acquired a whole load of kind of low quality, low intent customers. And we thought, "Oh, this is great because this ad's performing really well." But as soon as you look at month one, month two, they're kind of out the door again because they're not willing to pay the money, so-

Chase Alderton: You get the discount on the first order, but then that second and third come in and they think, "Oh, I bought this because it's cheaper, but now it's not cheaper," so then they're kind of leave.

Tom Shacham: Exactly. So really, what we were told when we started was in terms of building a DTC business, you really need to fix retention. You kind of... First, because as an investor, if you're going to put money into this kind of bucket, you don't want it to leak so much. You kind of want to know for every pound I put in, I get one pound 10 out or whatever it is, probably something more exciting than that.

Tom Shacham: So the first thing is to fix retention. That means for us, making sure the experience is good, it's making sure that it's flexible, easy to kind of manage your subscription and then, well, a whole bunch of things really. But I kind of deep dive into why customers are canceling, and I think that was really useful for us there was when people cancel their KatKin subscription, they can say, "For what reason?" And then we did a deep dive into, I think we probably spoke to a few hundred customers in the early days, and we deep dive into each one of these reasons and kind of basically came up with a bunch of strategies that would address from the biggest impact down to what we thought was the lowest impact in that order, and sort of solve these problems for the customer so that we could improve retention before moving our focus to acquisition.

Chase Alderton: But I think that seems like, I mean, every business has their own unique way of going about it. But especially for a subscription model, that seems like a very solid way to go, because you're really looking for quality customers. You're not looking for a quantity of customers, because if you can get 10 of them and if you can retain nine of them, that's almost more impressive than just acquiring let's say 20 or 30 customers, but losing them all on month one or two.

Tom Shacham: Yeah, exactly. It's a much more exciting offer to investors, to kind of... I think it's the classic piece of advice about startups, is that build a product everyone loves. Fix the product, make the product great, then worry about everything else.

Chase Alderton: Correct.

Tom Shacham: And I think that's really true for DTC and kind of subscription businesses. It's so true, because once that's fixed, it's just like, "Great, we just put money at the top of the funnel and it stays in the bottom."

Chase Alderton: Exactly. Yeah. There's any number of metaphors you could use. If you're going to build a bike, you have to make sure the bike works and the chains work and the tires are inflated and everything's working harmoniously. And then once you're confident in that, you just get on the bike and ride it. Then it's just a matter of pouring money into ads and diversifying in different ways and making sure that the right content gets in front of the right people. And that seems to be the easy part. But fixing the actual engine is what is the really important part, but it often gets overlooked because it's not the sexy, it's not the fun piece of it.

Tom Shacham: Exactly. It's the hard yards.

Chase Alderton: I know that you talked about kind of serving your customers as they leave. I know you also do an NPS survey fairly frequently. I think you do every two weeks and then you do three, six, and nine months. Is that right?

Tom Shacham: Yeah, exactly.

Chase Alderton: And what are things you try to get from that? Just, do you look for feedback? Do you just look for positive reviews? What are some of the things you try to get out of that?

Tom Shacham: We track the kind of what it that customers are positive and negative about, and that's really useful because we're also constantly evolving our recipes. And so we have a nutritionist on board who is constantly trying to look at ways of making our recipes healthier. If we track NPS scores and specifically what customers are not happy about or are happy about, we can see, "Oh, we introduced this new recipe and suddenly positive sentiment about the quality of the food has gone up." Or one of the things we see is packaging, and that's a really hard thing for us to change. But it's kind of as soon as it's more easy for us to change, we're going to do it because we can see how many people care about it.

Tom Shacham: We're also interested in the score. We have a target of 70, which I think is really high. And I think it tracks around 60 or 60-ish, 60 to 70 for customers at 16 days. But then it goes up a lot to sort of 70, 80, 90 for the three months, six months, and nine month period. And I think that's such a great thing that customers see the value even more so as they continue with the product, because in the long-term, the cat's healthier and healthier. And there's benefits kind of washed through in a sense, and they can see that their cats are different.

Chase Alderton: And this goes back to your whole idea of LTV, cost of acquisition ratio, which is that if you can prove that there's always a handful of customers who will be satisfied or unsatisfied in those first two weeks, three weeks, maybe a month or two. But if you can prove to investors partially, but mostly to the company itself, you can prove that at three, six, nine months, these customers are still sticking around and you have that really strong community that you're building. It's a no-brainer. You target the right customers. You make sure you onboard them the right way. The education's there. You make sure you have your nutritionist and your vet on staff all the time, making sure that all of this is working smoothly. By the time they get to three months, they're locked, and they're a customer for life.

Tom Shacham: Yeah.

Chase Alderton: You're making this sound a lot easier than it actually is, I'm sure.

Tom Shacham: Yeah. I think that the hard thing is kind of when you're starting from an unknown place, you don't know what you don't know. It's kind of hard to move in a direction. I think is it's definitely, really good to start by speaking to customers and figuring out what it is that doesn't work for them.

Chase Alderton: Totally. And I think that's one of the cool things about what you and what KatKin is doing, is that everything's data-backed. You're tracking the data from your onboarding quiz. You're tracking the data from why people are canceling. You're tracking this NPS feedback on customer surveys. It's definitely the right way to go about it. It sounds like you guys are getting a lot of data. It sounds like it's moving in the right direction.

Tom Shacham: Yeah. I hope so.

Chase Alderton: A couple of closing questions for you about subscriptions in general. Seems like you guys have definitely grown to a point that's pretty impressive from a net zero. What advice would you give to a subscription brand who is just getting off the ground and trying to understand the subscription economy?

Tom Shacham: Yeah. It's a really good question. I guess it depends a lot on what the product is. And I think the things that we've talked about already written really do hold true. I don't just want to say them again, but try and figure out what it is about the product that's going to satisfy your customers. That's really hard if you don't have many customers. I suppose, get out there and try and get some to begin with. But once you have some, try and iterate and learn.

Tom Shacham: I think, in that regard, one thing that I was almost going to bring up about this exploring stage is that you've only got so many things you can do, I think, so prioritization is... It's actually something we really struggled with, and it almost became like a bad word because we wanted to say that everything's important, but you just have to. It's the really difficult conversation to have. People are going to not be able to do the things they wanted, but you have to prioritize things because you can only do so many things at once. And it's almost a bit like the kind of cognitive load theory behind the signup flow. There's only so many things you can fit in your head at one time, so anything that you can put down the list, that's great. That in fruit gives you more time to worry about those super important things.

Tom Shacham: I think, this also gets harder to kind of change direction later on. The more kind of data and research you can do to sort of point in the right direction, it's going to pay off hugely, because you it's very hard to peep kind of a year into something you've already built.

Chase Alderton: Right.

Tom Shacham: So I think, yeah. Do some research and do really think about the product. And let's all listen to the classic things they've been saying, think about your product, your customer, what is it they don't like about it? And I think that the deep dive we did into cancellation reasons was hugely beneficial in that regard.

Chase Alderton: Interesting. Do you recommend going door to door and knocking on people's houses in person?

Tom Shacham: If you're up for it, I think you should do that, yeah. I mean, I didn't do it personally, but I suppose it gives you that opportunity, right, to sell something properly to someone.

Chase Alderton: Absolutely.

Tom Shacham: And we've actually often jokes when acquisition's been difficult, that we're just going to go to the park and set up a stool. And there is something there, right? Because you actually can do the sales pitch that I'm doing now. I can say there's this, that, and the other, and that you can't always get that across in an ad, and people take thinkers. It's far more genuine, so maybe, yeah. Try it.

Chase Alderton: It's not a bad idea. We'll have to circle back on this about a year later and figure out if you guys ever went to a park and see if you can do it in-person sales pitch.

Chase Alderton: Let's flip the script here then. What's a good piece of advice you'd give to a brand who's off the ground, they have their product, everything fits well, they're just trying to scale past this 10,000, maybe a hundred thousand subscriber mark.

Tom Shacham: Wow. I don't think, we haven't hit 10,000 yet. After giving the advice to myself... Well, what's worked actually well for us, I think, like you say, being data-driven is super important. We run a lot of A/B tests now, and you'll be constantly surprised by how things don't work out the way you thought they did. And I think that's also a really useful technique for just settling any internal debates you might have. I think every company I've been with, the struggle is always there's only a limited number of things you can do and tends to be the squeaky wheel who gets the oil.

Tom Shacham: And I think the A/B tests kind of conversation, just gives everyone a little bit more of an equal footing. You can say, "Well, okay, we'll try it, but we're going to test it. And if it doesn't work, we're going to roll it back," or, "We're going to have to rethink it." I think that can be quite helpful, although it is also a trap, so you have to make sure you're running them properly. You have to make sure you have enough traffic. Otherwise, you're just going to be running them for a long time. It's not a silver bullet. You kind of have to know a bit about what you're doing.

Chase Alderton: No, I like that. I think that makes a lot of sense. It's great advice that you obviously should be A/B testing and not just take your own internal biases, but at the same time, there are some tricks and there are some things that could kind of get you on some A/B tests. So no, that makes, that makes a lot of sense. I'm interested to hear, last question for you. What are some physical products that you've subscribed to?

Tom Shacham: I used to get Hugh a long time ago when I didn't think it was so popular. Do you know what Hugh was?

Chase Alderton: Oh yeah. Hugh has exploded. Hugh was all over the place.

Tom Shacham: Oh, really? Okay, yeah. I remember back then asking if I could be an ambassador for them and they just said no, so maybe they were already really [inaudible 00:35:35]. But I don't get that anymore. I think I've used Patch Plants occasionally. I'm not a subscriber, but I really like just having plants delivered to your door. It's just a really nice thing to come home to. But I don't have any kind of long-standing subscriptions [crosstalk 00:35:58].

Chase Alderton: If you're like me, you probably kill all the plants that you have, so you need the new ones to be delivered to your door frequently.

Tom Shacham: Yeah, exactly. Yes, because it was always a kind of a hope of how long is this one going to last?

Chase Alderton: Exactly. Well, Tom, thank you so much. I guess it was awesome to talk to you about KatKin and about all the data you guys have, a lot of the decisions you're making. So thank you for joining us. Really appreciate it.

Tom Shacham: Thanks for having me.

Chase Alderton: We'd like to thank Tom once again for joining us. If you're interested in KatKin, you can head over to katkin.club. If you're looking for more of our episodes, check us out at getrecharge.com/hit-subscribe, and to get the latest episodes, remember to hit subscribe on whatever platform you're listening from.

Expand to read