EP
4

Why I Bought This: ButcherBox

This is the first episode in a new series for the DTC Voice of the Customer podcast, where I flip the script and interview the customers of top DTC brands to understand what's going on in their lives and why they bought the products we all know and love.

Today, I'm chatting with Ryann a busy mother of two from Florida about her experience with ButcherBox. There's no formal script, trick questions, or wrong answers. I just want to hear her story.

Meet The Guest

👤 Name: ButcherBox

💪 What They Do: ButcherBox delivers meat on subscription

🌐 ButcherBox on the web: TwitterWebsite

About The Show

Atomic Media is a Procket original series telling the stories of how content marketers are rethinking the ways they’re telling stories that mean something AND move the needle – without burning out.

Hosted by Stuart Balcombe, scripted and repurposed by the team at Procket.

 

A short summary of the most actionable takeaways and best advice of the episode.

  1. Let’s start at the beginning. Ryann’s first thought that made her open to the idea of a meat subscription was watching a Netflix documentary on what goes into the meat you buy. This could provide an interesting opportunity to get in front of potential buyers long before they search for how to actually buy better meat with educational content similar to Patagonia's Blue Heart documentary. Once people have had the first thought to seek better quality and healthier meats, ButcherBox compares favorably to the supermarket options for healthier food at an affordable  price.

  2. Compared to buying in bulk from the store, ButcherBox wins big on ease of portioning. Ryann went to through many frustrations before ButcherBox - she complained about the time and mess of preparing meat to be frozen. She even bought a cleaver!

    Imagine a campaign focused on ease of portioning for bulk buyers - "You aren't a part-time butcher. Why act like one? Cut out the bargain hunting & prepping. Zero in on the perfect cuts and go from delivered to frozen in minutes without the mess." 
  3. We spent a lot of time talking about the before and after experience of shopping for meat. Ryann was looking for better quality meat at a price that didn’t break her budget and she even did the math to prove ButcherBox was a great option. ButcherBox not only stands up favorably when compared against buying at the supermarket but also provides convenience particularly for those who like to buy in bulk to feed a family and are looking for ways to save time and reduce errands.

    Boxes don't eliminate grocery shopping, but they do streamline and minimize it. Providing a simple cost comparison calculator of butcher box vs the grocery store could help highlight this differentiation along with time related messaging like: Reduce shopping time by 2 hours a week; Less time to shop, more time to savor.
  4. The biggest gap that jumps out from this conversation is the opportunity ButcherBox is missing  to provide advice around recipe suggestions specific to the contents of each box. Ryann shared that for the most part good quality meat is perfect as-is. There isn’t any guesswork beyond simple seasoning. Whereas which sides to pair to make a full meal takes a whole lot of additional mental energy.

    By including a few simple tips for preparing the included meat and recipes to pair with it in the box, ButcherBox could help busy families elevate their meal times and empower them to put a fresh spin on run-of-the mill weeknight dishes without making any fundamental changes to the product itself.
  5. Finally let’s talk about the event of opening the box itself - If you’re stuck at home during Covid, especially with kids any opportunity to create a fun experience can be a welcome relief. Ryann talked about the excitement of the unboxing process and how it became a family event with the kids laying out all the different meats. She also really appreciated the free surprises that were often thrown in.

    The delivery of new boxes has become an event and usually means a special meal that night from the box. This could become a really interesting opportunity to capture user generated content and encourage families to share their meals from “ButcherBox night.” Especially during Covid this could be an interesting opportunity to make this delivery feel more like going to a restaurant than receiving a box of food.


Customer Inspired Copy

Ease of portioning

  • You aren't a part-time butcher. Why act like one? 
  • Cut out the bargain hunting. Zero in on the perfect cuts.
  • Go from delivered to frozen in minutes - without the mess.
  • Meat your perfect match. Customize your first box today. 

Quality of life

  • Affordable. Ethical. Delicious. You've never met meat like this.
  • Organic & affordable - delivered right to your door. 
  • Steakhouse dinner. Warehouse prices.
  • Less time to shop, more time to savor. Reduce shopping time by an average of two hours per week.
  • Order exactly what you want - the extras are on us. 

Family friendly solution

  • Feed two people, or twenty. We've got the protein covered.
  • Hungry family? Don't skimp on the good stuff.
  • Weeknight dinners don’t have to be chaos. Simplify family meals with ButcherBox.


New Opportunities

  • Include tip sheets: Provide a tip sheet in every box with meat preparation tips. These could be separated into “beginner” tips on one side and “pro” tips on the other. Tips such as: let your meat warm to room temperature; let your meat rest after cooking; identify which meats can remain pink in the middle; how to cook meat if you don’t have an outdoor grill (oven or stove). This could also be implemented as a more sturdy keepsake brochure piece that is only included in the user’s first box.

  • Side Recipes: Offer enhanced content dedicated to “sides” as this is where users still have to spend lots of mental energy. Maybe it’s as easy as taking side recipes that already appear on the website, and printing several to include in each box. Maybe it’s a weekly or monthly email that highlights your favorite seasonal side dishes. On the website, maybe it means breaking out the featured recipes by type of meat + sides for easier searching.

  • Diversified freebies: Keep interest going by partnering with other companies, such as a free or paid seasoning pairing, grill tools, etc. 
  • Cater to kids: Identify which users have children. Throw in small extras like an animal coloring book or toy to elevate the family unboxing experience.

Full Transcript

Stuart Balcombe: (00:00)
Take a moment to think about the last time you finished a busy day at work, and started thinking about what you could make for dinner. Maybe you have leftovers from the day before, maybe you're considering takeout, or maybe you already have ingredients in the fridge and you start thinking about what you can make yourself. But if you're anything like me, deciding what to eat for dinner always turns out to be more complicated and stressful than it feels like it should be. This is the first episode in a new series for the DTC Voice of the Customer Podcast, where I flip the script and interview customers of our favorite DTC brands to understand what's going on in their lives and why they bought the products we all know and love.

Today I'm chatting with Ryann, a busy mother of two from Florida, about her experience with ButcherBox. There's no formal script, no trick questions or wrong answers, I just want to hear her story. Welcome to Why I Bought This. Hey, I'm Stuart Balcombe. And this is the DTC Voice of the Customer Podcast.

Ryann: (00:54)
So I was going through the subscription boxes. I think I had introduced myself into the Blue Apron, the recipe boxes, and all of that. So one of my friends suggested that to me, and then I was like, "Well, what about this one? And what about this one?" And then as we're going through that kind of rigmarole, researching through it, Facebook will pop up, an ad be like, "Well, how about this?"

Ryann: (01:27)
So that's how I came to ButcherBox. I was like, "Oh, all meat. All organic meat." I don't know the exact words, so I don't want to say it was organic. And I don't think I was under the impression. But it had to be better than the tubs of rolls they sell in Kroger or wherever you're at in the states. There's a grocery store in your town. So I was like, "It has to be better than that." And yeah, I liked the packaging and I was like, "Well, let's try it." I calculated the price for the box and then how many pounds they say you'll get. And I was like, "That's really not that much more than I pay. Why not try it?" And then they add in some pounds of bacon or some steak or... Why not?

Stuart Balcombe: (02:06)
Cool. So you mentioned so you tried other subscription or other sort of meal in a box type things before. Was there a point where you were not doing that or were you purchasing groceries and purchasing meat, I guess specifically before you started doing this?

Ryann: (02:18)
There was. I never actually tried a box before probably a year and a half, two years ago. And I started, I think word of mouth. My mother-in-law was like, "Yeah. It's just me and my husband here." It's just her and him, this box does meals for two and I've learned how to do a couple new things. And she showed me the recipe cards. And she's like, "There's all kinds. You just go out there." But she gave me, I think, a coupon code from hers or whatever. So that's how I kind of got introduced to the whole box thing. So now I've tried quite a few, even just the box of smoothies. So I like them.

Stuart Balcombe: (03:01)
Interesting. Do you still go grocery shopping? Or...

Ryann: (03:05)
Yeah. Even with, we're talking about ButcherBox or the boxes that give you everything you need for the meal, you still have to go grocery shopping.

Stuart Balcombe: (03:14)
It's not a direct replacement.

Ryann: (03:16)
Correct.

Stuart Balcombe: (03:17)
Got it. Do you have sort of individual things that you have stopped grocery shopping for? Or is it still just sort of shopping less because you now have this extra.

Ryann: (03:27)
Yeah. I will say, with a couple of ButcherBoxes within steady cadence, so I think I had a month apart or a month and a half apart. I actually had a nice stocking of meat, really. So I was only shopping for milk, bread, eggs, produce, or add ones that you needed to make the meal, whatever you were going to make out of that. So it does simplify your grocery shopping. So you're just basically supplementing the meals you're taking from the box. So it does help. Yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (04:01)
Gotcha. And I know we're kind of jumping around a bit here. So you found out about ButcherBox so through work, they have this free sort of box offer, I guess, where you had to enter a code. And you mentioned that previously you were getting meat at a Kroger or a grocery store. Were you specifically looking for specific types of meat? Were you buying in bulk? What was the sort of how you buy meat before?

Ryann: (04:26)
I tried to buy in bulk just to cut down, so I can at least get a couple meals out of it. I don't like the little packaging of meat and just get that. I mean, I have two kids, so yeah, that's not helpful, I'd be running to the store all the time. So I try to buy semi bulk, but I was looking for a healthier burger. A healthier burger that was organic or close to it, not all the chemicals. So that's what I was looking for originally. And then I was like, "Well, what about steak?" And then nitrate-free bacon I could not find anywhere. Well, Whole Foods has it, but it's $8 for a half a pound of bacon. I was like, "I'm not buying that." So that's what I was like, "Ooh. ButcherBox." So that kind of filled that.

Ryann: (05:14)
So I was looking for a healthier meat selection without $8. That's a dollar an ounce, because it's only eight ounce package of bacon. It wasn't even the full package of bacon that you could get for being nitrate-free. So that kind of thing. I was looking for nitrate-free, not pink sludge hamburgers, something to that. Not necessarily fully organic, but something better than... yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (05:38)
Got it. Was there something that sort of put you on that sort of track to looking for those things? What was driving that?

Ryann: (05:44)
Yeah. Netflix documentary.

Stuart Balcombe: (05:46)
Interesting.

Ryann: (05:47)
I mean, obviously we all kind of know that farm animals are not the typical farmers. The USDA over here is not that strict, they have rules and standards, but there's all kinds of ways you can get around it. Definitely watch some Netflix documentaries where there's all kinds of stuff that goes into our meats. And so that was the fuel for it. I was like, "If I could just cut down on some of that, we'll see if it makes a difference. Let's see if it really does taste different." Yeah. I just wanted to try it before I went fully in, because that's a large... I don't see how people do that for everything.

Stuart Balcombe: (06:25)
Oh. And when you say fully, you mean going fully organic, fully sort of across the board. Okay.

Ryann: (06:29)
Yeah. Yeah. So I was trying to kind of get my feet wet. Yes.

Stuart Balcombe: (06:32)
Yes. And so you mentioned that already shopping at Kroger and you mentioned that Whole Foods you knew did have the things-

Ryann: (06:39)
Nitrate-free bacon and probably good hamburger.

Stuart Balcombe: (06:42)
But it just not at the price that you were willing to pay for that or looking to pay for those items.

Ryann: (06:47)
Right.

Stuart Balcombe: (06:47)
Got it. So had you heard of ButcherBox at all before you sort of found out about it through work?

Ryann: (06:52)
I did hear of ButcherBox, I think little ads and I think in my emails, I'll get... I call it spam. Maybe it's not considered spam, but yeah. I mean, I heard of it, but I never really went on and clicked and looked at the choices. So yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (07:10)
Okay. So this is pretty interesting. We just heard that Ryann knew about ButcherBox, but she hadn't really gone any further and explored what it was, what the options were and how to actually buy it, until she had this first thought at a struggling moment with the Netflix documentary about what was going into her food. This is really important to keep in mind as we dive deeper into this interview and find out the things that were really driving her first purchase.

Stuart Balcombe: (07:36)
Got it. So tell me a little bit about that sort of first time, first box that you got. Obviously, it was through work, so it maybe didn't sort of get there in the same way that you may have if you'd found yourself. So tell me a little bit about that sort of process of getting that first box.

Ryann: (07:49)
Just going on and seeing that before you enter your code, you do look at the offerings and you can mix and match and see. I was really surprised at the variety that they had. I was just thinking it was your pork shops, your steak, I just thought it was normal cuts, and I didn't think about bacon or if they had sausage, and I didn't think about a lot of that. I was like, "Oh."

Stuart Balcombe: (08:16)
Interesting. So how did that work? Or how does that work? I'm actually curious for me. So you pick out specific things that you want. Before we get to Ryann's answer. I just want to call out the way that I asked that question, notice how I played like I didn't know how this works. Teach me about this thing. What is the specific thing that you can tell me that you know about that could help me in my own life. It really helps to get people to open up and share the details and get into the weeds about the things that they're doing.

Ryann: (08:43)
Yeah. So there's pre done boxes that you can get three pounds of steak and two pounds of burger and chicken breast. They even have chicken breasts and two pounds of cut up steak for shish kebabs, or if you want to do a stew into that. And then they also have breakfast offerings, so sausage, bacon, they have smoked sausage also. But yeah. They do an assortment of that, the box, they'll do that. And then maybe you're real big into just lean meat, so they'll do five pounds of chicken breasts and something else that's lean and extra lean steak or something to that effect.

Ryann: (09:21)
So they can pre pick for you or you can do this al la carte thing or do a box and add on a few other items. If you're like, "Oh, I only want a few chicken breasts, but I want mostly on meat. All red meat." So it's not as prescriptive. The recipe subscription boxes, it's very close, it's very like, "This is all you can get. This is it. There's no option." But ButcherBox, for their products, they open all of that up. You can mix and match, you can do their box and something else. So yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (09:55)
Yeah. And tell me a little bit about that. So you mentioned that you tried a number of recipe boxes before ButcherBox. Tell me a little bit about how you sort of plan the things that you're going to make and sort of how all these different boxes fit into that plan. Here's a key thing to keep in mind as you're running customer interviews. Remember that the interview is about your customer and the context of how these products fit into their lives, rather than about your product itself. Ask for examples of things that go beyond just the scope of your product. How does your product help them do the things that they need to do anyway and help improve them?

Ryann: (10:32)
The recipe boxes, they always try to throw one veggie night in for your vegetarian. Well, I can go do that, get all my veggies at the store and be cheaper out. So I never choose a vegetarian box. I think you have to pick it a week ahead. You have to pick your meals, your box to be delivered a week ahead. So I just think, "We haven't had fish in a while. Let's do a salmon night." And then it's nice because they get to choose. I don't really know what sides to put with fish or just odd things. So it's nice to go on there and be like, "Oh, they suggest this." So I'll get the fish from them, and they also put these sides with it. So it cuts out the thinking. So stuff like that.

Ryann: (11:15)
You have regulars that you make at home, maybe your mom did. You have just normal go-to that every Thursday you have this or whatever. But it makes you venture outside of that without too much work on me to pick out the sides that actually go with this type of fish or whatnot. So that's how I try to do it. I'll be like, "Oh, we haven't had this in a while." It's kind of a special occasion thing if that's what you're kind of getting at. So yeah. I'll try to do that. And then I'll be like, "We do tacos, but we don't do Korean pork barbecue tacos. Let's try this." So it's kind of like an adventure. Kind of something different that we could still do at home.

Stuart Balcombe: (11:54)
This is a great nugget. That this is starting to feel kind of like an adventure, kind of like something different that we can still do at home. ButcherBox is starting to make Ryann feel like she can do things that she couldn't do before that previously she could only do at a restaurant. These kinds of superpowers or products giving your customers new abilities, it's something to really dial in on and pull out in your marketing.

Stuart Balcombe: (12:16)
Got it. And ButcherBox, you mentioned, is a little different in that it's not as prescriptive and you're also getting more of one thing rather than set meal. So how do those two things sort of play together? Do you use the ButcherBox meat in the existing meals or how does that work?

Ryann: (12:34)
Yes. So a lot of times the Recipe Boxes you'll find their serving size is not... Or maybe we're just big fat Americans and we want a bigger serving size, but literally the fish or chicken cutlets, that little. I'm like, seven year old can eat two of those. So a lot of times the ButcherBox is the supplement. Because they, being the recipe box, they give you sides and whatnot. So if it's not enough, you can kind of be like, "Yeah. Let's throw some more in here. I got more than enough meat from ButcherBox, let's go ahead and do that." Yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (13:08)
Do you only use ButcherBox to supplement or do you also do meals which are sort of entirely ButcherBox?

Ryann: (13:13)
ButcherBox is to me, it's a main thing. So a good steak, I like how they cut it. In the grocery store, and I know it's sad, but the steaks they cut are almost too big. So they're this, so you're trying to cut a steak in half and stuff, but ButcherBox packages it real nice, so that's my main for doing a steak night or grilling steaks. And I'll use the steaks from there and then just throw up some sides or the grill asparagus or something that I bought at the grocery stores.

Stuart Balcombe: (13:45)
Got it. So there's sort of two different ways you're using ButcherBox, both with your own sides and then also as sort of supplements to recipe box.

Ryann: (13:52)
Recipe boxes who don't give enough portions. Yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (13:56)
Yeah. I've had things like Blue Apron, can certainly agree with portion sizes, feel very, very small.

Ryann: (14:08)
Absolutely. Yeah. Okay. Just thought I was like, "We're not that fat. We're not fat, but maybe it is us."

Stuart Balcombe: (14:12)
Yeah. Cool. So this may be a personal question, but feel free to not add. So you mentioned you have two kids, one of who is seven and-

Ryann: (14:24)
12.

Stuart Balcombe: (14:24)
Seven and 12. Gotcha. And you mentioned that this getting the recipe boxes can be a bit of an adventure in terms of new things to try. How does having kids play and sort of cooking for kids play into the types of things you're making, like trying the new things?

Ryann: (14:40)
Well first, before we even get to the food part, they love opening a box. I don't know what it is with kids and packages. "Can we open it? Can we open it? It's cold." And just the curiosity of kids though, of course, yeah. I let them open it. And then my seven year old, he'll pick out each ingredient. So it's almost an event and a new eating experience. So yeah. It's an enjoyable event from getting the box and then they'll try the food. Sometimes they don't like it. As far as the recipe boxes go, sometimes they don't like it.

Stuart Balcombe: (15:12)
I've mentioned this before and I'm sure I'll mention it again. But the real power of customer interviews is being able to extract stories. Stories that you can use to make an emotional connection with your customers. Just look at the way the Ryann here is talking about the experience and the enjoyment that her kids get from opening this box. That's not something that you're likely to see on a product page or in marketing copy if you wrote that from inside of your own company. Your customer's words really do give you superpowers.

Ryann: (15:39)
I haven't heard any complaints from them on anything from ButcherBox because I mean, I think it's all pretty familiar stuff. We eat chicken breasts at the house, we eat steak even before ButcherBox. So it wouldn't be something they complain about anyway. So on the recipe boxes, some of those sides have some funky sauces and they don't like them and we'll say, "We're not getting that one again," or whatnot.

Stuart Balcombe: (16:03)
Right. That's interesting that they're really involved in opening the box and this event of how you described it. Are they also involved in cooking these?

Ryann: (16:10)
My oldest is. I'm not letting the seven year old cook it, but my oldest, she has. Yes.

Stuart Balcombe: (16:17)
Got it. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but assuming that's primarily with the recipe boxes that come with the recipe cards and everything in there.

Ryann: (16:25)
Yes.

Stuart Balcombe: (16:26)
In the box. So one thing that I sort of want to ask about, I guess, sort of overall, how grocery shopping fits into and sort of this whole idea of food delivery. How do all these things sort of fit into your broader life, I guess? Do you typically have a schedule around grocery shopping? Do you make a list when you go shopping?

Ryann: (16:48)
I think I know where you're going, but you can tell me if I'm not hitting the mark. If I know I'm going to have a busy week at work or upcoming, that's when I try to schedule the boxes and whatnot. Or if I know I'm going to need to take this, this and this out of the freezer from ButcherBox because we have to stay at home, obviously lately, the past few months. I plan to take that out of the freezer. So yeah. Obviously I'm not depending on the whole meal for that, or for the ButcherBox parts. So typically that's not as busy week at work where I would do a recipe box, where I know I have to do this, this and this at work. I don't want to think about dinner. I can't go to the grocery store. I don't want to take them to the grocery store. Let's have it delivered and we'll do it from there. So that kind of balance.

Stuart Balcombe: (17:43)
Yeah. So you mentioned that the last few months with everything going on with the pandemic and everything, has that changed how you've gone about shopping for groceries? Have you done more boxes? Have you done the same boxes?

Ryann: (17:54)
I've actually done more InstaCart. More of the grocery delivery type combined with ButcherBox, more than the recipe boxes, if that makes sense. Those InstaCart, they bring the produce, whatever I was going to spend 30 minutes or an hour getting, you have to go out and put on a mask and then forget the mask and then have the kids wear the mask and do that. I have been getting more of what I would do at the grocery shipped in, and then combine that with ButcherBox versus less on the recipe boxes. Because we've also slowed down at work recently, so now I'm not as dependent on the recipe boxes. I can just combine.

Stuart Balcombe: (18:41)
Interesting. So ButcherBox has sort of been a constant sort of through things, or similar things to what you would have already got at the grocery store you're now having delivered with InstaCart.

Ryann: (18:50)
Yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (18:52)
Got it. I'm curious about sort of recipes in general, and maybe this ties to sort of how you're planning around using less of the recipe boxes, more of InstaCart. For meals where you're using sort of ButcherBox meats as a primary element. How do you come to those recipes? You mentioned that sort of from your mother or that this was a recipe that you already had, or are you also going out and looking for like, "Let's try something new that is not a recipe box"?

Ryann: (19:18)
I do go out and look... Well, I Google. So yeah. I do go on Google. Mainly the sides. I don't really mess with meat. If it's good meat, I don't really mess with it a lot. Sometimes I'll look for a new seasoning or sauce to put on it, but other than that, I don't really do a lot if we're just talking about what's ButcherBox specifically. But yeah, the sides I will. I get sick of them, which is why I didn't want to get into the recipe boxes. Yeah. The sides I do Google quite often, different things to do with corn. There's corn casseroles, believe it or not. There's corn salads. I didn't know that before. So stuff like that and different types of mashed potatoes or different things to do with potatoes in general, besides boil or mash them. Yeah. So that is more often than not what I'm Googling recipes. Yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (20:13)
Got it. Do you have any sort of favorite places or specific sites that you look at when you're looking for those recipes?

Ryann: (20:19)
Yeah. Somehow I always end up on... And this is probably Google search partner whatever offer's sponsoring. I always ended up going Allrecipes or Yummly, one of the magazines cooking recipes section. So yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (20:41)
Interesting. Do you know does ButcherBox help with any of that sort of planning around size or anything like that?

Ryann: (20:48)
No, they don't. No, that is true. So yeah. So I guess we've been spoiled by the recipe boxes that are just prescriptive and to the T. And then I think maybe that's why I feel like ButcherBox is wide open because no, they don't. And yeah. I was thinking, "Do I have any fault? I don't want to be unfair." I don't have any follow up emails saying, "Hey, here's what you could do with this or that." So that would be nice. No. To answer your question. No.

Stuart Balcombe: (21:20)
Got it. Interesting. I know we're kind of hopping around all over the place here, but that's fine. Now that you've mentioned sort of the recipes, I guess, that you get with the recipe boxes, but not with ButcherBox. I want to go back to that sort of receiving the new box with ButcherBox. You mentioned that you've got two now, right? You've have one through, initially, work and then you also ordered another one. What's that unboxing or sort of receiving that box experience like? So you mentioned your kids love it, they go and open the box, want to see what's in the box. What's in the box? And sort of when does that typically arrive? And what is the process go from getting the box to sort of using the things that come in the box?

Ryann: (21:57)
Yeah. So when I get it, it's typically midday and I try to get it in as fast as possible just because it's meat and melting and I don't... Yeah. So I get it in and then once we open or pulling stuff out, we usually clear a place out on the table or counter. I think it's visual representation of all your goods, so put the bacon with the bacon I'll tell them. And I get an assorted box. So yeah. I get bacon and pork chops and steaks and burger is what I typically get. So yeah. We'll put it all together and match it all out. It's not checking to make sure it's all there, but it kind of is. It's almost is matching it up. I'm like, "Yeah." And then sometimes I'll be like, "I ordered that." And then I'll be like, "Oh no, this is the free thing."

So they'll include... I'm like, "I didn't order this, what am I missing?" So you just kind of, not a check. I've never had nothing not there, but just seeing what's there. And sometimes they do throw in a random free thing and you're like, "Oh, that's nice." And then I know the box is coming because they send the tracking and all of that. So I know I can count on at least one of the things that's in there for dinner and then I put the rest up in the deep freezer.

Stuart Balcombe: (23:13)
Got it. Okay. So you're pulling out one item sort of for that night. Is that a thing in your family that people or that your family knows like, "This is a ButcherBox night." Or do you tell other people that, "We're going to pick out this thing," or is that something you decide sort of at the time?

Ryann: (23:28)
I think it's more secondly. I tell them, but then I'm like, "I definitely know we're having some kind of meat. We're probably having a steak from ButcherBox tonight. I don't know what sides we're having, but I guess it's not an announcement or it's not like, "We're having steak or burger." I know the meat but I don't know the rest.

Stuart Balcombe: (23:49)
It's something from ButcherBox. Got it. And then you mentioned you put the rest in the freezer, and I guess you pull that out sort of as you need it. Do you typically find that the things that you put in the freezer lasts until your next ButcherBox? I think you mentioned monthly to six weeks or something like that. I don't know how often-

Ryann: (24:04)
Yeah. It does actually. Yeah. So it's almost like a good stock. If you get a couple boxes, it's really not more than you would pay for meat on sale at the grocery store. And I feel it's portioned better. If you buy in bulk, even if you hit a good sale at the grocery store, you still got to undo the packaging. And I buy all these freeze... You got to do freezer bags. And set out and buy huge pack of chicken breast for a good price, you still have to do work to get them out. Our family's not eating 10 chicken breasts in one sitting. That's not what we do. So I still have to portion them out [inaudible 00:24:40] what we need out for dinner. So it's portioned better, and then it gives you a good stock. You really don't want to go out to a grocery store. You can depend on that.

Stuart Balcombe: (24:49)
Got it. Yeah. That's interesting that it's already prepackaged and pre-portioned up for you. You mentioned earlier, just mentioned again about... So it's actually pretty comparable in price to buying meat at the grocery store. How did you come to that? Did you go back through receipts? Did you actually look at the amounts that you were spending? How did you figure that out?

Ryann: (25:09)
Oh yeah. Yeah. But I'm the one who does most of the grocery shopping. And a lot of the times you just kind of get to know the prices of, so if they have a pork sale, sometimes it's a $1.99 a pound. Sometimes if you buy really large portions, they can go as low as 99 cents a pound. But again, it's a huge portion that you have to come home. I actually bought a cleaver one time. I have a cleaver because I was portioning it all out, and it's not a short process. So yeah. You can get it at a good price, but it's still not organic or free range, and you still have to come home and prepare it and buy your own bags.

Ryann: (25:50)
I had to buy my own freezer bags to be able to get it into a usable size for actual dinners. Because I'm not going to cook a 20 pound pork roast at one time. So I have to play the butcher, hence why I ordered a cleaver off Amazon. Which probably scared the mailman. Yeah. So that kind of thing. And then if it's organic or free range I know I'm going to pay more anyway, so I can never get that amount of pork or burger or whatever for 99 cents a pound at any rate. So if we can blow that price out of the water. Yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (26:31)
So tell me a little bit about the meal prepping and sort of buying larger quantities and having to portion it up before ButcherBox. What was that like?

Ryann: (26:39)
Hard. I've never used a cleaver. So just learning how to use that or trying to use it properly without cutting my hand off. That's hard. And then you get blood all over and then I had to buy a bigger butcher board. Yeah. A block. Block wooden. To lay this big mass... When I did catch the massive things and meat on sale, I had to cut the plastic off and do that and then use my hands to put it in a freezer bag. And then I get blood on that, then I have to wipe that off and make sure there's not blood on the plastic bag that I'm going to put them in the freezer so it doesn't leak on the other stuff.

Stuart Balcombe: (27:19)
Wow. That was pretty unexpected. We just heard in vivid detail, the lengths that Ryann went to before she used ButcherBox to portion her food. This is the real advantage of asking for real concrete stories. You'll get details like, "I went out and bought a cleaver. I had to buy a bigger butcher block." All these things that were previously painful and messy, are now made easy with ButcherBox. That's great copy that we can use directly in campaigns.

Ryann: (27:47)
If you did somehow by chance catch something on sale. Again, it wasn't natural or organic, so it was still full of chemicals, and then you still had to do extra work. So I mean, to pay a little bit more for that to already be portioned out for you and for it to be healthier, but not pay $8 a pound, is a good compromise.

Stuart Balcombe: (28:07)
Yeah. So the ButcherBox sort of really sits right in the middle for you from discounts and sort of what you may be able to get quality wise at the grocery store and Whole Foods sort of that extreme.

Ryann: (28:20)
Exactly. And then I don't have to spend an additional 30 minutes to an hour coming home after grocery shopping and portioning out before I could put it away because yeah, you have to do it right away, you're chancing pork getting sour or steak turning brown. Just natural.

Stuart Balcombe: (28:36)
Right. And now it's get the box, lay everything out, make sure you have everything, and see what you've got and see what they gave you, and go right into the freezer.

Ryann: (28:45)
Yes. Yeah. Like you said, it does really sit right in the middle on my time and money. Yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (28:51)
How would you describe... You mentioned sort of all these boxes initially sort of introduced to you by friends, by family, for somebody who maybe has never heard of ButcherBox or doesn't know what it is, how would you describe it to them? How would you tell them what it is?

Stuart Balcombe: (29:07)
This is one of my favorite questions to ask in a customer interview. As Jon McDonald from the Good would Say, "It's really hard to see the label from the inside of a jar." So asking your customers how they would describe your product to somebody who doesn't know about it, or who was maybe a similar position to them before they started using your product, it could be a really great way to get actionable copy you can implement in your campaigns right away.

Ryann: (29:31)
That's a hard one. That's probably the hardest question you've asked because I mean, I think ButcherBox is a really perfect description, but to break it down. Let me see. Meats all your needs. With meats in M-E-A-T-S versus M-E-E-T-S. That was horrible. Sorry. I'm sure you're going to get better description. Okay. So if a friend asks an assortment of meats that you typically pick out from your grocery stores meat section shipped directly to your door, it's the best. I have no kind of catchy phrase, but that's the best way I can explain it.

Stuart Balcombe: (30:11)
Yeah. No, that's great. You don't need any marketing speak or jargon. Yeah. How you would describe it to a friend is great. It seems like it's sort of really filled this gap for you. I'm curious, is there anything that you've ever found frustrating or you wish that they would change about, I guess, about ButcherBox sort of everything that goes into ButcherBox?

Ryann: (30:30)
I think what you said was really good because I'm thinking about it, I'm like I do kind of stick to the same way of doing meats. Especially when I just want to get dinner done and I'm not trying to do anything new or a new technique. Some techniques have used chicken breast or techniques of grilling or they want you to bake some... If there's something maybe, "Did you know you can bake steak," or something. I don't know if you can, but I think that's royal or something.

Stuart Balcombe: (31:02)
Yeah. You can reverse sear a steak.

Ryann: (31:04)
Yeah. Kind of quick facts. "Did you know." or kind of, "Here's our tip," or something like that. Obviously I don't want them to... They are their own kind of thing, so they stand out enough just shipping meets only. But they don't have to do, per se, recipe cards like the boxes, but just one little card of a sort, "ButcherBox tips for chicken breasts." Or ButcherBox tips for the best steak for summer." Or something to make it fun. Yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (31:37)
And you mentioned that you, I guess with the other recipe boxes, you get that as a recipe card in the box, right?

Ryann: (31:43)
Yeah. You don't expect a tip with that. Yeah.

Stuart Balcombe: (31:48)
Got it. And I think you mentioned, you also hadn't seen anything sort of in email from ButcherBox either about that sort of similar-

Ryann: (31:56)
What to pair with and stuff. Yeah. That would be nice. Again, not all the time, but I don't know if they have partnerships with other company or something like that of like, "Hey, this goes great with so-and-so." Even if it's something they can buy at their store maybe. Maybe they have a partnership with an organic brand that is in the frozen section. I don't know. Something to that effect.

Stuart Balcombe: (32:20)
Interesting. Very cool. Well, this has been awesome. We've been chatting for 45 minutes. But yeah. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Before I let you go, is there anything else that you want to sort of mention that I haven't asked about directly?

Ryann: (32:31)
No. Yeah. You brought up a really good point on that gap. Just quick tips and then email or even do that in email. Yeah. That's really the only suggestion I have. Pretty straightforward. You get the pounds that they say you're going to get and it's nice when they throw in the free things. Don't stop doing the free things.

Stuart Balcombe: (32:52)
All right. There you have it. A real interview with a ButcherBox customer. So what can we take away and start leveraging to grow the business? Here are five things that stood out to me from this interview. Let's start at the beginning. Ryann's first thought that made her open to the idea of a meat subscription was watching a Netflix documentary on what goes into the meat you buy. This could be an interesting opportunity to get in front of potential buyers long before they ever start searching for how to actually buy better meat with an educational content campaign similar to Patagonia's Blue Heart documentary. Once people have had the first thought to seek better quality and healthier meats, ButcherBox compares favorably to the supermarket options for healthier food at a decent price. Compared to buying in bulk from the store, ButcherBox wins big on ease of portioning. Look at the lengths Ryann went to before ButcherBox. She complained about the time and massive preparing meat to be frozen.

She even bought a cleaver. Imagine a campaign focused on ease of portioning for bulk buyers. Something like, "You want a part-time butcher, why act like one? Cut out the bargain hunting and prepping, zero in on the perfect cuts and go from delivered to frozen in minutes without the mess." We spent a lot of time talking about the before and after experience of shopping for meat. Ryann was looking for better quality meat at a price that didn't break her budget. And she even did the math to prove ButcherBox was a great option. ButcherBox not only stands up favorably when compared against buying at the supermarket, but also provides convenience, particularly for those who like to buy in bulk to feed a family and are looking for ways to save time and reduce errands. Boxes don't eliminate grocery shopping, but they do streamline and minimize it. Providing a simple cost comparison calculator of ButcherBox versus the grocery store could help highlight this differentiation along with time-related messaging, like reduce shopping time by two hours a week, less time to shop more time to save it.

The biggest gap that jumps out from this conversation is the opportunity ButcherBox is missing to provide advice around recipe suggestions. Ryann shared that for the most part, good quality meat is perfect as is. There isn't any guesswork beyond simple seasoning, whereas which sides to pair to make a full meal, take a whole lot of additional mental energy. By including a few simple tips for preparing the included meat, and recipes to pair with it in the box, ButcherBox could help busy families elevate their meal times and empower them to put a fresh spin on run of the mill weeknight dishes without making any fundamental changes to the product itself.

Finally, let's talk about the event of opening the box itself. If you're stuck at home during COVID, especially with kids, any opportunity to create a fun experience can be a welcome relief. Ryann talked about the excitement of the unboxing process and how it had become a family event with the kids laying out all the different meats. She also really appreciated the free surprises that were often thrown in. The delivery of new boxes has become an event and usually means a special meal that night from the box. This could become a really interesting opportunity to capture user generated content, and encourage families to share their meals from ButcherBox night. Especially during COVID, this could be an interesting opportunity to make this delivery feel more like going to a restaurant than receiving a box of food.

That's all for this episode, but if you enjoyed this format and want to hear more of these customer stories. I'd really appreciate if you'd head over to your podcast player and leave a five star review. They really do help other people discover the show. If you have any questions about this episode or doing interviews like this for your own brand, text me or leave a voicemail anytime (856) 372-0505 or send me an email, stuart@discoverysprints.com. See you next time.

About The Show

Atomic Media is an original series telling the stories of how content marketers are rethinking the ways they’re telling stories that mean something AND move the needle – without burning out.

Hosted by Stuart Balcombe, scripted and repurposed by the team at Procket.