S4 E13: Using word of mouth marketing to grow your brand with Greg Meade (Co-Founder of CROSSNET & Good Sport)


Today on Retention Chronicles we’re joined by Greg Meade, Co-Founder of CROSSNET and Good Sport. Greg and Mariah discuss

  • the founding story of CROSSNET and team learnings,
  • scaling a business in game development
  • the experience of going viral on social media,
  • using word of mouth marketing to grow,
  • being a thought leader in the ecommerce/DTC space,
  • the stages the CROSSNET team went through to develop and improve their products,
  • how he thinks about retention,
  • marketing a game with the right branding,
  • and finding the right balance of technology for your team.

To enter in our Tracking Page Design Contest, click here!

Or get your custom post-purchase experience mockup, click here!

Be sure to subscribe to our pod to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands.

Subscribe to Retention Chronicles on Apple Podcasts


This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.


game, love, cross, space, brand, retention, net, play, product, feel, question, tracking, upsells, friends, talking, backyard, founders, box, big, volleyball


Mariah Parsons, Greg Meade

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go malomo.com. Hey, everyone, if you've been listening to retention Chronicles lately, you'll have heard about our tracking page design contest. It's open to any Shopify or Shopify Plus brand or agency. There's 1200 in prizes up for grabs, and you'll get complimentary access to the Malomo platform for entering submissions are due by midnight, October 2 2023, which is tonight if you're listening to this episode on Monday. So if you're interested had to go malomo.com to design your very own tracking page in minutes. Yes, I said minutes. It'll only take a few to upload your custom branded imagery, and then two clicks to go live. But we also know that some of our listeners don't listen to these episodes on Monday. So if you're falling into that bucket, we still have a awesome offer for any Shopify or Shopify Plus brands. If you'd like to see an example of what your brand's custom order tracking page, transactional email and SMS would look like, our team will design a custom mock up for you for free. So you can head to go Malomo That's g o m a l o mo.com. Go malomo.com. Now let's roll on with the show. Hello, everyone, welcome back to retention Chronicles. Super excited for our guests here today. Greg, welcome. Thank you for making the time to be here. Super excited to dive into cross net and good sport, if you wouldn't mind. Could you give us an intro?

Greg Meade 02:31

Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Yeah. So I'm Greg, co founder of cross net and good sport now, both backyard innovative companies that are getting people outside and get out and go play. So we're trying to get people out in the world to get off their phones.

Mariah Parsons 02:45

I love it. I mean, we're both sitting on laptops right now. And I'd much rather be going and playing cross net or good sport. So don't tell my boss, although she would probably join me in it. Can you give us like, in case anyone's not familiar with cross net or good sport? Can you kind of break down both of those companies that you've now founded? Alongside kind of the founding team? Give us the give us a structure of both of those, please? Yeah, absolutely.

Greg Meade 03:09

So CrossFit is a four way volleyball game we started five years ago with my co founder, Mike and my brother, also other co founder, Chris. And we just made it one night in my mom's backyard and invited some friends over and it was a blast, we ended up knowing we had to, like pursue this because it was just so fun. We had people wanting to play it lining up with the beaches, when we had the prototypes, and eventually took it the market took about a year. And then the rest was history. COVID happened, it blew up even more faster than we ever anticipated. And then, five years later, we started another company called Good sport with YouTuber Danny Duncan, good friend of us now ours now. And we're just coming up with innovative games to get people outside. Trying to make every game we make a little more creative and spicy, and not the generic, you know, wooden paddles you see at the Walmarts of the world. So we're trying to spice it up, and then just put some spin on it.

Mariah Parsons 04:06

Love it. So I was telling you this before we hopped on the recording, but I played cross net this past weekend, for the first time knew about it beforehand. But when I was I actually told my friends, I was like, Oh my gosh, guys, I'm getting to talk to one of the co founders this week, which was just, you know, timing simulation. It's all real. But I was thinking about, like, if you're just playing in the backyard with your friend and your brother, what was like the dynamics of kind of getting it off the ground? Like Were you always that founding team? Were you all trying like all entrepreneurs at first? Or how was the? Yeah, How was the journey kind of getting there? Like going into business with your brother and your friend, right? Like figuring out all those dynamics. Usually when we have I've had a couple of sibling or a marital co founders who come on the podcast and it's always interesting to die. I've been to like how you kind of bridge the family but also the professional relationship?

Greg Meade 05:05

Yeah, no, that's a good question. And a lot of people always like are like, Oh, you shouldn't go to business with your friends or family. I don't think I would change it. I think we have a great dynamic. What myself, I started out, like, I had another entrepreneur, DTC companies. I did social media stuff have had accounts that have millions of followers. So that's where I really started at. Mike was an engineer, graduated Northeastern, super smart guy. He graduated, he's like, I don't want to like go build robots, nine to five. All right, let's go. Let's make something. And then Chris, he's a killer salesman, he, he launched Uber Eats in like Rhode Island, Boston area. So he's been great at sales his whole life. So we just all of us combined. And we eventually just rolled this out. And we we pick the way, like, each day, we were just like, had a new task. We'd all work on it together, or we have her own assignments based on, you know, our departments that have shifted over the years. I started out doing the social media, then I am doing contracts and legal stuff. So it's a it's a it's a learning process. But we've had, we have a great team. And we continue to have that core team right now to this day.

Mariah Parsons 06:12

Okay, so you said you have that core team, obviously to this day, you've expanded your team a little bit, what is it? What's the number? It's around? It's like, relatively smaller, right?

Greg Meade 06:22

Yeah, so we actually expanded after we did really well, in the year three, we expanded to, like 25 employees. And then that was probably the biggest mistake in our business. And that really just like took the focus away from me, Chris and Mike as founders in the weeds to like this managerial role. And that's not like what we're best at, like me, my parents aren't the best managers. We can't, we're not like, we don't want to do that we want to work and work and work on our business and our baby. So we weren't able to do the ins and outs we were trying to manage. And it's a point task. And that's not how we got to where we were, and we kind of lost lost focus that so we turned it back. Unfortunately, we had to let some people go. But it's been the best thing for our business. And now we're back down to like seven, eight employees.

Mariah Parsons 07:13

Okay, I love that you talk about like, obviously, the lesson to be learned of expanding and then learning that the managerial tasks aren't what you all are best suited for. And I think that's something that I feel like a lot of times, obviously, everyone's striving for growth, right? Like, and usually what that corresponds to is growth in numbers, not necessarily growth and like learnings, right? So I always like to call that out. Because I know we have some founders who listen to the podcast or some people who want to be entrepreneurs. And I think it's very easy to follow maybe what you're you think you're supposed to follow in that playbook of like, you hire X amount employees, and then it grows and grows and grows. And then the leadership team is not in the weeds. As much as you know, the founding days. So once you kind of learned that lesson and you shrunk the team, is your day to day, kind of Now similar to what you were doing in the beginning, I know you said social media, and then you're now doing more legal things. But I'm like CEO, you have to wear a lot of hats. And I don't know, but I hear it from our CEO is that his day to day looks, looks very different, just depending on what he's doing. So would you say that's accurate of like, not kind of similar to the founding days,

Greg Meade 08:36

it's definitely shifted back to like our core roots of like, working together and just cranking out tasks together as a team, the three of us tasks have changed, obviously, from day one to day now, up to now, five years later. Definitely still involved in the marketing sales. But we all we all have our own tasks now that we kind of delegate and we've been shifting roles over the past few years, if if we lost an operations person, maybe Chris will bump up into the operations and help out. If we lost the social media person I'm going to bump up. So things like that is how we shift and we've done great.

Mariah Parsons 09:09

Awesome, love it. Now a couple more questions that I just had to ask. Because, like having someone in the game space, I feel like it's so so fun. One, do you feel like okay, so if you're going to a party with friends, family, whoever Are you all like bringing cross net? Like I just I have to know this.

Greg Meade 09:31

It's in the car. Okay. People want to play yeah, we I keep the games in my car. I hate always bringing them out. And it's like, I feel like I'm obligated to set it up. And like, times these people don't want to play that shit. So yeah, it happens. I'm always like trying to be active and do something. So when I'm at a party or going to the beach. I don't want to just sit there like that's not me. I'm playing something one of our games, a game playing sports, so it's always it's always ready to go. I can always throw that idea Oh,

Mariah Parsons 10:00

okay, okay. That's why I feel like you if you're of that person, like I always I feel like my friends and I have like either, like, I don't know, something that we're like planning to do like a game night, right? Like everyone has their dedicated games that they all own like it not all of us don't have the same games, right? It's like, okay, we know this person has this game, like, my friend show, we brought the cross net for this past weekend, right? So like, we all kind of have those responsibilities. So as curious of it.

Greg Meade 10:29

Truthfully, we don't even play cross that that much anymore.

Mariah Parsons 10:33

That's the real, that's the real question.

Greg Meade 10:35

We played it so much in the first three years, like we used to go to the beach every day for like two years straight and set this game up and play, like for hours just to get people in line. So we've definitely played our fair share of it. And we play once in a while each each year. But we've definitely shifted since we have new games out with good sport like smashing it is or there's a new game that I'm always stoked to play. Now, I want to play that every day. Now. I'm trying to get people to play and not bug them. So that's the next game.

Mariah Parsons 11:04

Yeah, I'm sure it's a it's a fun balance of trying to like, like slyly suggested it and be like, Hey, guys, play. But there's obviously like the benefit of getting people talking about something and getting like an experience. And if you're just lining up at the beach, right. Okay, and the last little fun question, and then we can dive into more the technical side of things. But who, when you were in those early days, like who was there kind of one person of the three of you or your team that was kind of the best across that? Or was it even day to day?

Greg Meade 11:36

Mike, Mike got better over the years, because he learned some trick shots, Chris has always been asked. He's the worst. I

Mariah Parsons 11:42

love it. Love it. Oh my god. Okay, um, so we can obviously keep I'm gonna, as they come, I'm gonna keep asking questions that plays on that relationship there. But because you started with social media and your focus in social media, I think that lends itself very well into how I would say, like, from a consumer or just someone in the space of you have like, as a brand, having thought leadership be at the front lines of cross net, like teaching other people in the Econ, econ space, kind of what you all are doing. So was that kind of part of the want that you all had in the early days of like, we want to be known for, like, telling about our journey? And being thought leaders, or was it just something that came naturally?

Greg Meade 12:34

Yeah, that came naturally. Actually. I've always I've been in this space for like, 10 years now. Always was quiet behind the scenes. I don't like posting I don't like tweeting. I don't like doing any of that. And then tick tock

Mariah Parsons 12:47

my thoughts. What about tick tock?

Greg Meade 12:49

I tried tick tock for a week. Oh, yeah. It's like really hard,

Mariah Parsons 12:52

right? way harder than people let on?

Greg Meade 12:55

Yeah. So after the first two years across, that we started trying to do like this founders thing. And it was like, That's not like, we realize, like, that's not for our brand. Like we don't, you don't need to get your founders, you know, perspective in every company. Especially if you need to start the brand from that angle. It's hard to just throw the founders and like, a 62 year old mom doesn't care about like, the three kids, right? Connecticut that started this, they just want a backer game for their kid. Some people do care. Some people love it. And but it's not for everyone. So we don't we don't focus on that, especially if that's not our skill set. We don't try to like force things. We did try to force things and it didn't work out. But as far as lesson to be learned, you know, yeah, as far as like being a thought leader in the actual space itself, for people to learn. Chris has done a great job of that over the past two years, three years. I'm always pushing him. I'm like, yo, tweet, post post posts, like he can do it. You do it? Yeah. So he's been our voice for the last two, three years. And it's been great. He's growing. And I'm kind of trying to mirror what he's doing as well. Just not as much.

Mariah Parsons 13:56

Yeah, I love it. Okay. That's cool. Yeah, I think it's also interesting that I mean, for someone who sits in a marketing chair like myself currently being like I, as a as my own person, social media, right, participate, but as a company, it's just a way different ballgame. Right? Like, just trying to think through social media and like the algorithm getting it right. And like being way more on top of it. It's just a whole different ballgame. So I think it's I think it's interesting that you with your background in social media, and more like Chris, you do that. You take on that, at least to a stronger degree than maybe you're taking on at the moment.

Greg Meade 14:41

Yeah. And that's why we have our new company with Danny Duncan, famous Youtuber, to help, you know, push his face in front of the crowd and get his captured audience and kind of be that founder for us. So we don't have to tell that story. And we already have that story from the beginning. So it's worked out great.

Mariah Parsons 14:58

Yeah. And you said real quick that Danny was a friend as well, obviously now, you have that professional relationship. But how did you all meet?

Greg Meade 15:06

Oh, we actually met from trying to pay him to do a cross net, love it. And he was charged trying to charge us a lot of money. We're like, no, no shot, like, we can't afford that. And then we just met one night and we're like, hey, let's just make games together. And yeah, we've been working together ever since. And we have a bunch of stuff in the pipeline. Were super stoked for.

Mariah Parsons 15:25

Okay, that's so fun. Love it. Um, okay, so now we can dive into perhaps more of the logistical questions. Can you tell us about the development of crossing itself? I know, you said you had it in your backyard. But I'm always curious to hear, especially in the game space where I feel like there's, you know, obviously, like games you make you make them up, right? Like you make up their own rules. There's not, at least from my perspective, not a ton of boundaries, in terms of like, the rules that you can make up as long as it makes sense, right. And like, obviously, it has to appeal to the audience. So can you tell us about like how you kind of developed cross net? And if you want to go into good sport as well, what you all are doing currently with that? That'd be great.

Greg Meade 16:07

Yeah, I think. So as far as development, like physically, we just we source it. overseas. We wish we could do it, the United States, but it costs way too much. Mike, he's an engineer. He started off crossing it just sample after sample after sample spending a lot of money because they're heavy duty changes every time that need to be made. Now we have a product developer full time, and works on all our products, working on games that are coming out next Christmas. So we have we have a pipeline of games every time we make a game though, and we're trying to implement the rules. Usually, it's me making the rules. So I'm always getting shit like Greg are always changing the rules with friends and stuff, but we have to change the rules like, especially in the beginning stages. Yeah. For the cross game, we kind of took the Foursquare concept rotating it. You have the king square and the so we call it 1234. Because universal. Not everyone knows what Foursquare is. And they don't call it by the king, queen and all that.

Mariah Parsons 17:04

Like, okay, we also have this debate with my friend group this weekend. Do you call it the toilet or the ace? Yeah, I've never heard of toilet. Okay, there you go. So like growing up, I'm from New Jersey. Originally, it was like king queen jack toilet.

Greg Meade 17:17

Yeah, yeah. See, I don't know what toilet is. But like, if you go to like England, they call it like box ball and stuff and have different terminologies. So we just did 1234 in that four squares, that King square. So we made it number space. And we just did. We played 211 one by two, because that's how we always play pick up basketball. So that's how we came up with that number. Gotcha. Okay, thrilly it and then a little rules like will pop up as you play. Yeah, I love it. You write them down? And then you go.

Mariah Parsons 17:47

Yeah, yeah, true. I feel like too. Yeah, it's just as long as you give. Would you agree with this, like, you give like baseline rules, right. And then obviously, people can make them up as they go, like my, my friend group, I feel like we take a game and then start putting on new rules. Like we we've been playing for probably like two hours at this point. Um, and so we were like making a new rules, like whoever was the king gets a set, set a new rule. So it was like, you can only play with your left hand, things like that. Just like make it harder, right? So as long as you like, you kind of want to leave that space open. So everyone can make their own or like, you know, create those inside jokes, create those inner rules, whatever.

Greg Meade 18:26

Yeah, kind of like a freestyle mode. Yeah, place in the volleyball community, which one thing that always has pissed me off. Since we started, they always do three hits, right. And that's not all. We do one hit. So whenever we used to see three, hey, we like Oh, can you just do one hit for the ad for the video. And the volleyball people were like, that's what we do bump set spike. And I'm like, one hit

Mariah Parsons 18:46

you like we gotta get like 15 Second reels and come on. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay, that's awesome. And then So was there any like, I imagine you said, like, Mike was testing what the actual product was like, and changing all those different things. And you were changing the rules. So with, with like do's and don'ts of product development space, especially with something that's bigger? How did you all kind of like navigate? What's worth it in terms of like, this switch needs to be made, like a nice to have versus a need to have? Did you have like any of those internal conversations?

Greg Meade 19:25

Yeah, at first. So a lot of learning lessons with this too. At first, we're like, oh, let's make it as cheap as possible, as good as possible on that cheap side. So we cheaped out and we've had so many problems over the years, we continue to have problems with like karabiners like little clip clips, the balls peeling if we switch a factory the poles getting rusty sometimes when they're not supposed to. in factories, just like saying it's fine and then not having proper testing. So there's a lot that goes into like the backyard toy game space that people have no idea and it's so much more challenging than like Making a card game or food or anything like that, that's just like constantly in an easy repeat cycle. Constantly getting defects due to weight. You get containers in from the port and a whole pallets crushed. Because it's oh my gosh, really? We've had terrible, terrible incidents. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 20:22

I'm sure that's super fun to have to deal with or open up and you're like, Oh, my God.

Greg Meade 20:26

Yeah. But I mean, going back to your question that like we've now we've always want to make the product as high quality as possible, still affordable and have the best margins possible. But if it's like, hey, we'll pay well, we'll spend extra 50 cents on a on a kit to make it way more high quality so we're not getting customer service problems and bad feedback. And we want the person has our game now to really enjoy it. And vouch for it and tell their friends and play with their friends.

Mariah Parsons 20:56

Okay, yeah, so that makes that makes a lot of sense in terms of I feel like a lot of people would probably try and probably fit that same path where it's like, let's see what we can make for like the trade off of obviously wanting to keep it affordable but also such a good a good product that someone would vouch for it. Were there any other lessons in terms of like product development like trying I don't know like marketing and like branding for like the case like the case in the box that it comes in? Like any any elements of the product design that are kind of more marketing focus?

Greg Meade 21:31

Yeah, the box so we got into shields are those our first retailer, it's a big store on the west and Utah on those dates. We got in store, we were so excited. We took a video rolled up.

Mariah Parsons 21:42

Oh, I'm sir. Oh my gosh, that's it. Oh, pumped,

Greg Meade 21:44

we were so excited. But after we're excited for like, 30 seconds, I'm like, Guys, this is asked this box sucks. And we are not gonna be able to sell through this store. Unless we change those boxes. It was like the box was so bad. I don't even know how we signed off on that. But then we then we changed it to a black box. And we're like, okay, it's better. But like, we have a black box. Like, that's not possible that we have to inverse this. So we made a nice yellow, vibrant box. So when you walk into Dick's Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shop, you name it, the yellow box will be there, you'll know what that is for that branding. So hopefully, that yellow box stands out to people nowadays.

Mariah Parsons 22:20

Yeah, captures the attention. I feel like more than probably probably a blackbox would. Okay, cool. I think that's always so interesting. Just especially me not being in the anything to do with product development. It's, it's fascinating to hear how people arrive at different decisions. Um, so the next question I have for you, in terms of product development is we were just talking about like, obviously, you want someone to have someone to feel like they could vouch for your product because of the quality of it. So when you are thinking through designing a game, are you thinking about customer retention in terms of like, all the How can you maximize someone coming back or someone or even like customer loyalty, like providing, you know, their their own stamp of approval on a product? Was that part of the conversation? Or is that kind of something that now, maybe you all are thinking through?

Greg Meade 23:11

Yeah, it's always been tough, like retention for our company is just, it's not there, right? Like you, you have a cross that volleyball and then hopefully, you can sell them across soccer, if their kid plays soccer and loves soccer, most likely not, hopefully, sell them a cross net h2o, if they have a pool version, if they have a pool in play for that. And they have to fall in love with the original version enough to buy a pool version. So they're really there. So our angle is definitely like, hey, let's have this customer sell for us. So we use, you know, like, like social snowball we were talking about, but before this, things like that, just to help our customers, you know, turn into to sellers for us. That's, that's our biggest thing. As far as like retention, it's, it's tough. I mean, the best we could do is just make new games make new products. So we came up with a new company. We've had ideas in the back of my head for a year, there's a list of hundreds of hundreds of games that I want to make. And that's gonna all fall into good sport. So eventually, we can get all the customers just keep buying our games, and we'll become one of the biggest backyard Toys and Games maker in the world.

Mariah Parsons 24:14

Love it. Do you have a tangent? Do you have like a Notes app that you like? Keep up like running game ideas?

Greg Meade 24:20

Oh, yeah. Yep. Got notes. I got notion boards. Yeah, we have a long, long list. And it's been fun trying to pick out what comes next. Especially when we all have different ideas of what we want to do. Like Danny is different than Chris and I'm different than Mike. So it's, we have to find like neutral ground of what what's popular and what we think is gonna come out next.

Mariah Parsons 24:42

Okay, okay, cool. Just had to ask that real quick. But let's let's continue along the train of retention versus, like referral based strategy. Can you explain to people I mean, I know we were also talking about social snowball. Shout out Noah Tucker. He's great. But can you explain kind of what that relationship looks like in case someone isn't familiar with social snowball and explain how you all use it.

Greg Meade 25:07

Yeah, for like affiliate stuff, it's like a, you buy the CrossFit, you set it up, you love it right, you can go scan that QR code on the net on the box, and then you can refer your friend and get money back, get cash back rewards for that, or gift cards we do as well, for the customers if they want to purchase another game, another set.

Mariah Parsons 25:26

Awesome. Thank you for that help. Helpful, I'm sure to have context. So with that, because that was one of my questions for you is like, if you there's obviously a hope that the product lasts so long that they don't someone wouldn't have to buy another one, right? Like, unless it's like you said, a different version of the product or a different product entirely. So one of my questions was like, how do you think about retention when you're looking at something that has a large if not, maybe indefinite timeline, or repeat purchase rate, right? Like, there's a lot of time between someone with by the original cross net set, and then maybe I saw like, also, you guys have limited editions, or like the water version, or, like the doubles net? Right, like, there's different add ons that are from or inspired by the original. Um, so I think it makes a lot of sense that you all maybe know that retention might not be the play that you all should be focusing on, but rather, focusing on referrals, or that word of mouth marketing, or, you know, kind of like, the aspect of virality of someone just seeing something and then you know, it getting bigger and bigger, just because of the organic motion behind there.

Greg Meade 26:46

Yeah, I mean, so I already touched on it with with having new products, right, make new products, new products, new products, but for cross that there's only so many real product skews we can make. We're staying in the Foursquare lane, we're not going to bounce out of that and just start making random frisbee games, right? Has to be in that Foursquare square element. And we are running out of products for that, right. Like, that's just the truth. I can come up with a few tonight, but they might not be as successful. So the next thing would do is like upsells, what can we do to upsell the cross and volleyball that everyone loves? That's making a doubles net to make it to one, two and two and two. So you can have a partner? I'm not sure if you played at the lake house last weekend?

Mariah Parsons 27:26

Um, it wasn't the doubles. One. We were just rotating in. Yeah, a group of us. Yep,

Greg Meade 27:30

you would probably have more fun playing the doubles, like so I'm sure. Way more chaos do. Yeah. And you have to bump set spike three hits. So that's what we try to do is get the upsells the the innovation on top of the skews currently, we want to come up with lights make it glow in the dark. That's an excellent pipeline. Yeah. For the pool version, we're coming out with a newer pool version two, that's more like, I can't tell actually, I can't speak on it yet. But it's just easier to come back later, we'll

Mariah Parsons 27:56

have you on again. And then we'll talk about that. So just adding

Greg Meade 27:59

adding upsells for each item is the goal. And then obviously new products with the new company, and then as many products as we can under the Crosstown umbrella as well. And then the referral game is like we really just want you know, you'd go set it up at the beach with your friends and you get people taking photos videos asking what it is. Ask them to play. That's how we started across that. That's how it blew up. It's literally like a real snowball in your life. And it just keeps rolling as long as people are selling it for us and playing and having good time.

Mariah Parsons 28:27

Yeah, I mean, like I like I told you, but I want to share with the listeners. We had at least three or four people who were walking by when we were playing it this past weekend. Just ask us like, Hey, what's that called? Her? Like, what's that? What's that game? And we just said it was like, oh, it's like Foursquare, but volleyball. And like some an older couple was like, oh my god, I remember like Foursquare, like you will know what it is. You're like, yeah, yeah, no. They're like, yeah, we used to play that on playground. I was like, yeah, it's, it's still it's still a fun game. Right? A little bit shocked that perhaps the younger generation would still know what it is. But to your point of the accessibility of an ease, hopefully of referrals. Being right there for someone if they if they want to know about it, and I know you mentioned the QR code on the box and on the game itself. Is that correct?

Greg Meade 29:13

Yeah, it should be on the net. So hopefully it's there. Okay, honestly, yeah.

Mariah Parsons 29:17

Now I'm gonna make my friend Joey bring it out and I'll go scan it. So in addition to kind of like the packaging, where are you advertising that referral program anywhere else along the customer journey? Or is it just kind of in the unboxing experience? Yeah,

Greg Meade 29:33

they'll get it in the emails on the on the flows. I don't know which where it's at in the flow is but it's there will be other flows. We'll send emails out sometimes we'll do some social media stuff. But we try to let the customer fall in love with the game first and then want to sell for us and be that be that consumer I've know I've been there for brands before. And a lot of brands do. Do it way better than we ever could. So we try to fall down that the alley.

Mariah Parsons 29:58

Yeah, so I mean all So I imagine then it's less of an uplift on your end as well. If someone obviously comes to you first with the intent of Hey, what is that for you all, it's easier than trying to go out and find people, and maybe convince them.

Greg Meade 30:11

Yeah, it's difficult, like, we just come to realization with like, what's, what's the truth behind like our company, our brand, like, we're not selling water bottles, right? Like, we're not big, like, we're not in that space. So it's, it's tough. And we have we know, or we know, like, where we can cap this. And we just got to keep penetrating the United States like, we're still we haven't scratched the surface yet. I don't think so. We're excited.

Mariah Parsons 30:35

Yeah, yeah, very exciting. Let's dive into that a little bit more about like, what the, like the truth behind the brand. Because one of the things obviously, I'd love to speak about is kind of like the marketing plays and the branding, like the messaging that you're trying to leave in the customer journey. Because all just fascinating. So if you had to say like, how would you articulate your How would you share the message that you all are hoping to leave consumers with when they're interacting with either of your brands?

Greg Meade 31:02

Yeah, I think it's just get out and play, like, get out. These phones that we on every day is just killer. Yeah. We're like the last generation of having knowing the world before these phones. So I think about that all the time. And it's like, our kids and kids, kids are going to be growing up with this technology. 24/7. And I hope we can leave an impression that last for hundreds of years that we have to still go out and play and be kids again, and stay active and sweat and work out. Whenever you're doing just get out and play.

Mariah Parsons 31:37

Yeah. Okay. It's funny, you bring that up. I was just listening to. It's not a ecommerce one. But it's my favorite podcast armchair expert. And they were talking about how our generation is nostalgic for the past. And like before we kind of had cell phones and because we're the last like you said, We're the last people that remember it. So it's just ironic that you said that because I was just listening to them talk about that. I think maybe on Sunday, but so I love that branding. I think like myself, personally, I'm like, I love being on my phone this whole weekend was off my phone. Like if I'm traveling, doing the same thing off my phone as much as I can. So with with the branding and the collab, or not even clap, but the inspiration to collab with Danny and tap into the influencer space. Do you feel like there's kind of potential for like us? reverting is more of a philosophical question. But like us reverting and like not depending on our cell phones, or is it just like full steam ahead? In your eyes? What do you think?

Greg Meade 32:43

No, I think we're doing Oh, absolutely. There's an I don't think people aren't like they're too into it. It's an addiction. And we're definitely doing but I hope we can play a part in it where, you know, at least a percentage, a small percentage is going playing one of our games, whether it's our game or not like getting outside. Like I say that all the time. It's like our competitors. Games are like, Yeah, we don't like them. Sure. But like, they help us we help them. If someone's playing that game, someone's gonna play our game. And vice versa. So yeah, we're definitely doomed.

Mariah Parsons 33:13

Yeah. Okay, cool. Love that? Well, we can then they're not kidding. Um, okay. So for I love that you brought up like competitors, and we're not going to discuss them. But the notion of like, competitors, obviously making you better, or just like setting the space for creating new games. And one of the I mean, it's a different space, because not a backyard game. It's a card game, but like Cards Against Humanity, having it be like a household name, kind of like, I want to say first in the space, I don't know if that's actually true. But to me, kind of the first car game of that nature that I was introduced to and now it's they have like a whole slew of competitors and like, their own versions of different games, right. And obviously, it's similar to other one to like apples to apples, all that stuff, right. But how are you thinking about like, when you're going to market again, because in similar to crimes against humanity, I would say cross net probably falls in that same category, right, where it's like, that is the first brand that I saw that is doing what you all are doing. I don't know if that's correct. If you all were the first so you can feel free to correct me.

Greg Meade 34:15

We weren't we weren't. So we I don't think cross net would come into being an existence right now without canjam I don't know if you remember kanji.

Mariah Parsons 34:22

Yes, I do. Yeah, yeah, that's also a game I've played friends.

Greg Meade 34:27

There's canjam. There's Spikeball. And there's cross net. Like those are the three big big ones right now. Of the black and yellow vibe. And I think those are the core core games right? That started this trend and I think we've done a great job and across that's that one game that came out during like this COVID era. Yeah, people were stuck inside playing all these games. And we have seen a huge wave of different innovative games coming out now since since cross its existence, I believe. I'm not sure if I'm just seeing a more because I'm in the space and like get hit with the ads. But there are so many different backyard games that, you know, hopefully are going to last and some aren't going to last just because they're just not, you know, they just get nature of Yeah, live. Yep. But there's been a ton of innovation in the backyard space, which is cool to see. And they help me like I said, they all help each other. Whether it's a putting game for for golf or volume.

Mariah Parsons 35:24

Okay, yeah, I have seen I think also, I mean, as much as to try and be on tick tock and like producing content on there is is tough. Like I said earlier in the episode, it is the I feel like the stuff that I'm exposed to is, the breadth of it is way bigger because of that. And so I do see like some like putt putt mini golf, like at home, right, I forget the name of it. But those those games that it's bringing, you know, a game you love into your backyard. So I think that makes makes sense for me. In terms of backyard games, and Spike ball and Cam jam and cross net, I feel like it. I don't know if those came out similar timing, of course not like before, but I in my mind, they are all associated.

Greg Meade 36:14

They're actually pretty old. Like, like, like, last 15 years. Can gems like 20? Plus, that's so funny. That's crazy. Yeah, it's literally crazy how old we are.

Mariah Parsons 36:24

Yeah, that and like how unpredictable it is when like, people are going to interact, and then kind of see it as like, now I know, I could call up multiple friends who have all those games, right? And like, like I said, earlier in the episode, they're the ones that you're like, you're assigned during this game, you're bringing that game blah, blah, blah, right. Um, and then so last kind of marketing question that I wanted to ask you is, because obviously you have good sport with Danny, Mike and your brother. So what other like what I guess my question is what's like some fun marketing initiatives that stand out in your brain in terms of like, okay, love that this happened for your brands like love that we got to participate in this? You can kind of take this this question wherever you want. Like, if it's a fun story about, you know, kind of the virality, wherever. But it's a question I love to ask.

Greg Meade 37:14

Yeah, I think the Kalat like, besides like getting in wholesale and being in these big stores, that's awesome. The collabs we've been able to do over the last few years and what we have in the pipeline for good sport, especially with Danny's connections. Like we partner with like USA volleyball. We've done some that's like that's like for people that don't know, it's like the NBA of volleyball. So it's really cool. To be able to do that's awesome. Yeah, I might have volleyball fan at all. Like, I've never played volleyball growing up anything like that. So it was cool. It was cool to be able to get those relationships Canada volleyball. And then for good sport over here. We have a bunch of collabs and I can't name right now, but everyone will know they're coming. They're coming in. I'm excited. I'm stoked for those.

Mariah Parsons 37:56

Oh, that's so exciting. Yeah, okay, cool. So, last question that I want to ask you. It's more about the customer journey. Could you kind of like walk us through the ideal customer journey, like what kind of communications they're getting Malomo obviously, is in the post purchase space. So that's what we care about. But are that's what we prioritize first. But I always think it's so interesting when I'm talking to founders, like yourself to kind of paint the picture of like, the ideal scenario of the communications that someone is getting pre and post purchase.

Greg Meade 38:29

Yeah, so I guess pre purchase, they're getting hit with ads, right? Usually meta, then meta, yep. Checkout right. And then after that, they'll get a thank you email. Then they will get a your orders on the way and then they will start getting hit with the social snowballs in the world and that kind of stuff. And then some post purchase surveys of asking how you saw where you got it from? Did you buy it in store? Maybe? Or did you see it in store, which is important to us? We have so many different channels now. And then once they get it, we want them to fall in love with it. Go back to our website, refer friend buy another product? Yeah, that's really the journey. We just want them to fall in love with their games and so they know what they're talking about every time someone asks and they can give an honest good review.

Mariah Parsons 39:21

Yeah, yeah, I don't think it's I would hopefully say it's not like rocket science right like the the journey you kind of want it to fall along those lines. I think it's interesting like the wait to hear the way brands tweak it like with the with social snowball, and like the cross sales and upsells that you can include, obviously in the customer experience before someone even gets their product right. Like I don't I don't know if you all have like cross sells and upsells in Europe. Yeah, we do.

Greg Meade 39:50

Communication. Yeah, we have those two and then we have the SMS that goes out for what they're tracking and stuff. We've been using like shop app too, as well. A lot of people that and I So that's been giving us some errors. But if once it's once it's working, it's pretty nice. And do they get updates to their phones and smooth?

Mariah Parsons 40:07

Yeah. How are you? Because, like in my, in my brain, like connecting data between retail and EECOM is like a monster.

Greg Meade 40:19

It's not it's not fun. And that's not that has been our like our weakest point over the last few years. We're just not experts in that. And there's not too many people that are in this space. Because we have, we have Amazon to which is a whole different beast. So we have amazon.com different countries, wholesale in different countries. So it's, it's hard. We're not we're not tracking it as efficiently. We've done the North beams that triple oils. But it's it's very hard. It's you and I don't have we don't have an answer for you.

Mariah Parsons 40:50

Okay, yeah. No, I love it. I think that's like the most relatable part of this broadcast is when people like honestly, I don't know, we're still figuring it out. Right. Like, I think it gives a lot of hope to people who are like, also in that seat.

Greg Meade 41:03

Yeah, we've done billboards. We've gauged traffic and stuff. We know if we turn on my dad's that the in store sales are going to increase by 10%. Right. We do know those that data, but every time we spend the dollar on Facebook, it's going to DTC Amazon or, or retail. And that's very, very hard to track for sure.

Mariah Parsons 41:25

Yeah. Yeah. Also, just Yeah, ads. We just had a guest on he was talking about like, trying to scale ads, just scale meta ads, or, well, meta and Facebook ads and the game that that all is as well as not not a fun one to play just with AV testing and figuring out all that with the added element of where, like where the CTA is going and trying to track all that. But it's good that you at least know. Right? It's working like that's, that's the bare minimum, right? Yeah, the thing itself is hard to figure out.

Greg Meade 41:57

Yeah, backyard games took a dip last year, like year over year. And then now they're they're increasing, which is it's good to see. Doing retail, or retail performance is like 20%, better year over year, and our ad spends down like 75%. Oh, wow. Which is amazing. Yeah, we're just trying to get more fit. Yeah, we're just trying to get more efficient over here and be smart and what we spend before we're just trying to throw darts at the wall for a lot of things, but find what works, scale it and make it efficient.

Mariah Parsons 42:27

Yeah, I feel like that's kind of at the danger of saying that, like, sometimes that's what you have to do for marketing is just like throwing everything out there and see what works and tracking it. Because it can be a puzzle that you have to kind of unravel just by seeing whatever works, you take those pieces and make it better. I had another question. Shoot, it was about something about Amazon or something, but it's okay. If I remember it, I remember it. I always like to try and wrap up these episodes with a classic piece of advice for anyone who's listening. It can be about just life in general, or super specific down to a business. But is there anything we haven't gotten to discuss today that you'd like to impart on our listeners?

Greg Meade 43:17

Huh? Pay yourself when you can. Business don't try to like say, Oh, I'm going to save money for when I sell the books look better. Like an investor will know that. They have to pay someone to do the job. So definitely pay yourself and then once you get that money, be smart with it. I've done some stupid shit over the last few years. Investing in friends. Buying crypto. So fun things. Yeah, I think I was thinking of something yesterday in the Shower to Shower thoughts. I was like, damn, I shouldn't invest it in like three my friends. When they haven't. We haven't proved anything yet. So right. So that's some advice. Don't once once you get some money don't like, start giving it out to your friends. Yeah, don't get eager with it. Yes. Yeah. My side advice that's not to do with crossing or anything like

Mariah Parsons 44:10

that. Yeah. Should I send those friends directly? Just that little snippet?

Greg Meade 44:13

Your face? Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 44:16

I love it. Okay, well, we haven't heard that yet on the podcast. And I think that's great. But it's so thank you so much for your time, Greg. It's been absolutely amazing. I've had a blast getting to chat with you and excited to see all the future games that you all are going to roll out. I think it's gonna be a blast. So thank you again.

Greg Meade 44:31

Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.