Episode #9

Jack Benzaquen from Duradry

Also available on:

In this episode of Beyond the Inbox, we dive into the world of antiperspirant solutions with Jack Benzaquen, the founder and CEO of Duradry. Jack shares his experience building a brand that appeals to a sensitive customer base and offers insights into how he's been able to leverage user-generated content and customer feedback to drive his brand's growth.

One of the main challenges Jack discusses in the episode is collecting customer feedback. He explains how Duradry combines customer service tickets, email campaigns, and more to arrive at the best path for executing on customer needs. Jack emphasizes the importance of chasing the truth and finding the balance between what customers say they want and what a brand thinks is the best way to serve them.

Authenticity is essential in building trust with potential customers, and Jack shares Duradry's approach to driving reviews and creating user-generated content. He explains how they incentivize customers to leave written and video testimonials and why authenticity is key.

The conversation then shifts to e-commerce strategies, and Jack shares his thoughts on optimizing site navigation. He talks about how he's working to streamline the customer journey through the Duradry site and how he's approaching email automation, including the welcome flow and new automation that offers one-off customers the opportunity to buy products at a discount every two months.

Tune in to this episode of Beyond the Inbox to learn from Jack's experience building a standout brand in the antiperspirant market and discover the marketing strategies he's using to drive growth and customer loyalty.

Show Notes

  • (01:13) Jack explains that he founded Duradry because he himself suffers from hyperhidrosis and was disappointed with the products on the market.
  • (02:56) Jack discusses the process of launching a product and emphasizes the importance of iteration and continuous improvement.
  • (04:34) Jack explains how Duradry collects customer feedback through a combination of customer service tickets, email campaigns, and focus groups.
  • (06:27) Jack discusses how to find the balance between what customers say they want and what a brand thinks is the best way to serve them.
  • (08:27) Jack explains how Duradry incentivizes customers to leave authentic reviews and user-generated content.
  • (09:55) Sam and Jack discuss skepticism as a major objection customers may have when considering purchasing a product and how to address it.
  • (13:18) Jack offers advice for smaller e-commerce brands on how to incentivize reviews and drive user-generated content.
  • (14:57) Jack discusses Duradry's use of Bounty to incentivize influencers to create videos about their products.
  • (19:35) Jack explains how Duradry is turning non-buyers into buyers and first-time buyers into repeat customers through email automation and segmentation.
  • (23:33) Sam and Jack discuss the importance of site navigation and how Duradry is working to improve it for their customers.
  • (26:46) Jack encourages listeners to visit the Duradry website at duradry.com.

Read the transcript:

Sam (00:07): Jack, welcome to Beyond the Inbox. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us.

Jack (00:13): Thank you for having me.

Sam (00:15): I want to start by asking you to tell us about Duradry and how you got started with the company.

Jack (00:24): Oh my God. Let me just summarize it as much as I can. I've been in CPG for 18 years. I started my career back in Venezuela. Although I am a systems engineer, I'm MBA in finance academically, I've been in CPG most of my life. Somehow I got into formulating products and finding product manufacturers versus distributing other people's brands and I have this condition on my underarms that's called hyperhidrosis, which makes you sweat too much. Basically I was and still am scratching my own itch.

Sam (01:13): Can you talk more on that and what led you to starting the company? Was there a particular tipping point that led you being that person that started that company? Because it's such a unique product and I want to dig into this in the interview. Why you? Why were you the guy to make this product?

Jack (01:32): I think that it makes it much easier when there is founder market fit, and that's why I mentioned that I do sweat too much on my underarms. Not a taboo anymore in this day and age, but I know that it's a debilitating thing for most people that sweat too much. I myself tested a bunch of products out there and nothing is as strong as they promise you. At the core, I'm just sick of products that overpromise and underdeliver across the board. Of course for me, the thing that makes the most sense is sweat protection because there's this founder market fit, but I think that if you look deep into the eye of the big CPG conglomerates, you're going to see or you're going to find that in every category they found the keywords to sell you on the products, but the effectiveness is not there necessarily; at least that's my experience.

Sam (02:56): Can you talk me through the process of launching this product? Were you getting feedback along the way from other people? Was it a long approach where you were doing a lot of iterating over time? Talk to me a little bit about that.

Jack (03:15): Yeah. I'm still iterating. Our products are not perfect, but definitely each of our products is better than its previous version. I keep a mundane Excel sheet, each product is a column and in the rows I'm writing down everything that I need to store for that product during the lifetime of the company. Suddenly I found a new ingredient that helps with or boosts the performance of the active ingredient for antiperspirants. That goes into the list for our stick. And then I find another thing for this other product, even packaging, even fragrances, sizes, everything, so I'm taking a longer approach than what I would wish and what people would want for themselves, but at the same time, I do think that's a right way if you want to build something amazing.

Sam (04:25): How are you collecting this feedback? Are you reading say freestyle reviews of the product? Are you having customers emailing you? Is it a combination of both and more?

Jack (04:34): Combination of everything from customer reviews to customer service tickets, to sending email campaigns with service platform service like, "Hey, do you have this problem? How much do you suffer from it and have you tried this or that? What's the ideal form factor? Is it a lotion? Is it wipes?" And then slowly you arrive to the path that you're going to execute on. And I must say that for anybody listening and developing consumer products, the truth is not necessarily in what your customers are telling you directly. The truth is an evasive thing that you need to chase and it's in between what people are saying they want and what you as a brand think is the best way to serve them.

Sam (05:42): How do you go about finding that out? Those nuances that customers may be on?

Jack (05:47): There is no solution. There's no silver bullet and that's why you iterate because maybe they say, "Hey, I like this," and then you launch it and then, "Oh, but you know what?" That's why I take whatever customers say with a grain of salt. There's truth there and the more people that repeat the same thing, the more truth there is to it, but at the same time, it's like Steve Jobs, I think that he many times said that he's not assigning based on what people say they want, but based on what he thinks they need.

Sam (06:27): Yeah. It reminds me of the Henry Ford quote about, "If I asked people what they wanted, they would've said a faster horse." It is a difficult balance to strike between listening to what people want or what they think they want versus what is best for them.

Jack (06:46): But it's not necessarily mutually exclusive because if you tell me, "Hey Jack, I want to live in a place that has four bedrooms." I can build a house for you or I can build an apartment and both are very different, but both are solving for what you say you wanted. Maybe I add an extra room for the playroom because maybe you are newly-wed or maybe you're not thinking yet about kids, but I as a brand owner know that that's going to happen, so let me design that room right away and maybe based on the demographics that I'm taking care of and the city where they're going to live, maybe it's better to do apartments versus houses because of real estate, whatever. You see how it's a mix of both and it's not necessarily mutually exclusive. I'm taking into consideration what you asked for and then thinking a little bit further for you to try to serve you better.

Sam (07:54): It's a great analogy and it leads me to my next question. One of the first things I noticed when I went on Duradry site was the sheer amount of reviews you have and not only the amount of reviews, but video testimonials from people talking about how this product has helped them and them speaking very openly about this problem that they had. How are you driving so many reviews? And more to the point, how are you driving these types of video reviews where people are being so open and vulnerable?

Jack (08:27): Yeah, it's part of our email flow for onboarding a new customer. Quote, unquote onboarding, right? Like, "Hey, welcome. Here's how to use the products, blah, blah, blah," and then a few days, probably between two and three weeks, I asked them to leave us with a written testimonial. Two or three weeks is because they have had enough time to receive the product and try it and see for themselves how it's changing their lives. I time it very well there and I just offer them free product. It doesn't have to be hundreds of dollars. Literally it's just $30. I think that that's really important for brands like ours because the big issue or the issue that we're solving is something that people have been wanting to solve for a while, customers, and they have tested many products, nothing has worked for them, so they are loaded with skepticism and the best, let's say, ninja move against that skepticism is testimonials. They have to be authentic. Don't source them from Willow, don't source them from Fiverr, whatever. They have to be authentic because people can tell. Don't ask me how, but people can tell.

Sam (09:55): On the subject of skepticism, what are some objections that come to mind when customers are thinking about buying your products? Because there's often objections that on the outside you would never think of. I'm curious, is there anything surprising that has come up that you've had to address in your marketing to help sell more products?

Jack (10:19): Nothing out of the ordinary. I think most people have the usual objections and in our case it's mostly like, "Hey, I already tried 30 different brands. Nothing has worked. Why is yours going to work? Are you going to make me waste my money?" And then we attack it with both testimonials and 100 day guarantee. "Just buy it. You don't like it? Send it back. It's empty? We don't care. We're going to give you your money back." That risk reversal kind of thing definitely helps and it's a very loyalty product. Nowadays, you buy a T-shirt at any store, it's going to be, I don't know, 30, 40, 50, 60, right? It's still below 50. Risk is not a big component when making a purchase decision for consumers. Skepticism honestly, if I think about it, more than the money that they're going to spend because it's a very affordable product, is the disappointment that they want to save themselves from. Like, "Hey, I'm going to buy this thing again and it's going to work." That's what's loading that skepticism, disappointment.

Sam (11:48): For anyone that's listening to this that has very tight margins and maybe can't offer free products in exchange for reviews or anything of the equivalent, what are some of the things that the smaller e-commerce brands can do to incentivize driving more reviews?

Jack (12:06): It just depends so much on the type of product. If they're consumables and you can give away a little bit of product, it's not a bad idea at all because your cogs are going to be maximum a third of the value for the consumer, so it is win-win. At the same time, that consumer loves your products, so you're giving them more of what they love. Other things, just thinking out loud, offer them store credit. If you're selling something expensive, then instead of saying, "Hey, I'm going to give you a free set of pants that cost $1,500, maybe I'll give you a free knife, or I'm going to give you $100 off for any purchase above this much." All sorts of tricks. Even if you say, "I'm going to give you a $50 Amazon gift card," people are going to love that. That's as good as cash.

Sam (13:18): I think there's so much to be said as well about people wanting or people are more willing, in my opinion, to leave reviews when they feel so indebted to the products and the brands because if this product is helping them overcome such an embarrassing problem, they, I assume are way more likely to leave a review than say a general cosmetic products that they bought on a whim.

Jack (13:46): On the flip side, as you said it's embarrassing, so people don't want to show their faces on Instagram, "Hey, I'm using this product because I sweat too much." So it's more nuanced, but there's always a solution. You need to ask for reviews from your customers. When I say reviews, I'm not referring to only text-based reviews, but video reviews slash testimonials is such an easy thing; low hanging fruit. You're paying for UGC right from influencers or creators. Isn't it cheaper to create UGC from your customers? Isn't it more authentic? Isn't it more easier for other potential customers to feel identified with those other customers of yours? So you know, you got to think about those things.

Sam (14:41): I'm glad you bring up user generated content because I love how you're using bounty to incentivize influencers to create videos about the product and I wanted to ask you, can you tell me how that's working for you right now?

Jack (14:57): Yeah, we launched not so long ago and the product is fantastic and it's evolving super, super fast. The most interesting thing that I see there is that the app is helping you recruit people, right? It's like a funnel, but the main component of that funnel is your own customers.

(15:23): A, people that visit the site, even if they haven't purchased from you, they see the widgets so at least they're qualified in some way because they landed in the site and then when people actually purchase, you send them onboarding, something like an email flow, asking them to join and to get a bounty. They get a minimum amount of money for whatever they post, regardless of performance and then the rest is performance based, which between you and I, is definitely something that I think is going to happen sooner than later, performance based influencers, because I think on the brand side, we're already sick of spending thousands of dollars per influencer that has a few tens of thousands of followers, but then when it comes to performance, it's not performing. Not even impressions. I think that that bounty is onto something. Let's see how it evolves, but I think there's something really interesting there.

Sam (16:43): I have a few questions around email and I want to take a step back and talk about what happens the first time you land on the website. You see a welcome popup and it is unlike what a lot of e-commerce brands are doing, which is offering the discount right away. But what I really like about what you are doing is you're inviting the user to self segment based on where on their body excess sweating is affecting them the most. I have so many questions around this, but I want to ask you, what is the reason you're doing this? I assume it's to segment in your email so you can sell more products. Am I on the right track?

Jack (17:22): Yes, definitely. You are on the right track and that was the initial idea, to collect that data right away. Then we said, "Hey, you know what? Maybe this little survey..." Because if you go to the site, it's just like a multiple selection thing. You have maybe five or six options. We felt that it was adding friction versus just asking for the email address, so we removed it and then the conversion rate on that popup went down.

Sam (17:57): Fascinating.

Jack (17:57): We put it back again and it went up again. Interestingly, people feel that when you're asking for some information that's related to the reason they're at your site, probably helps with the conversion rate just because they feel that you're interested in them, right? Let's say that you're selling... I don't know. Tell me something that you're selling.

Sam (18:25): Hoodies.

Jack (18:28): Hoodies? Okay, you're selling hoodies. If you ask me my favorite type of hoodie, do you want it, I don't know, with a thick thing or whatever it is, let's get into the details, but whatever it is, that's related to what they're looking for and asking about them, probably will resonate with them and it will help you.

Sam (19:01): I couldn't agree more and I definitely feel like when I'm going through someone's funnel and they are progressively profiling me and learning more about me, it's welcomed because I want this brand to sell me products that are a good fit for me. We talked a little bit earlier on about you have this welcome flow and that's pretty standard in e-commerce, and you mentioned one of the automations that you're using. Are there any other interesting automations that you're using to turn non-buyers into buyers or first time buyers into repeat customers?

Jack (19:35): There's an automation that we just launched and I'm super excited about. Let me just taking one step back, tell you a little bit about what's going on here. We sell subscriptions and we have product subscriptions and we have subscribers and one-offs, people that just come by and then they can buy again, but that's the way they're buying. We know that subscribers have a higher LTV and that's why everyone sends email campaigns and sends reminders and offers and all those things and we try to convert those customers into subscribers. But what if we turn them into subscribers without being subscribers? And this is what it means. We know that our products are consumable and we know that it lasts between six weeks and two months.

(20:36): What we did is that every two months from the day that someone purchased first, we send them an email saying, "Hey, this is your dry day. You're going to have 48 hours to buy products at 20% off." Every two months as a customer, you're going to receive that email if you're a one-off customer, so that in that way we might convert you into a semi-subscriber without being a subscriber. You're still dying one off, you have 20% off just like subscribers, but I'm not forcing you to subscribe, I'm just giving you a 48-hour window to buy at a discount. If you lose it, you have to wait another two months. I'm really excited about this experiment. Let's see how it goes.

Sam (21:26): Are you telling them in the email that they will have to wait another two months to drive urgency?

Jack (21:33): Honestly, I would need to check. I would need to have the email in front of me to remember, but I do know that we make it very clear that it's 48 hours only and it's every two months. Again, I would have to check the email.

Sam (21:49): It sounds very exciting and I really appreciate the efforts you go to to run these different experiments. I read a Tweet that you wrote very recently. You wrote, "One big area of focus for CRO should be site navigation. We are all lacking there and it's such a high impact optimization." How is Duradry currently lacking when it comes to site navigation and how do you plan to improve on that?

Jack (22:17): That Tweet came because I'm working on a new theme that I'm going to launch on Monday and I was working on the navigation. Basically we're launching a bunch of new products and the question is, how do we figure out a way to get someone from the landing page where we send them to the solution they need in the most streamlined way? The most streamlined way is not only about reducing the amount of clicks of that journey, but also give them the tidbits of information that are necessary so when you land to the product that you're looking for, you also know the other products are not... That you don't need. In the end, when you arrive to what you need, you don't need to go back, you don't need to explore other things; that for sure improves the conversion rate. So making it easy for people to understand what they need and what they don't need and helping them get there as fast as possible.

Sam (23:33): When you are going through the email flow as a customer, let's assume that I got the 60-day email, are there any ways that you are introducing other products? Because you and I talked about this on a previous call. If you struggle with sweating profusely on one part of your body, maybe you are on another part of your body, but maybe it's less of a priority. I wanted to ask, how are you almost cross-selling your products once you are actually going through the flow?

Jack (24:05): Yeah. Thus far, we have had very few products in our catalog, so that hasn't been a big challenge. But now that we're launching a bunch of other products, that's where the fun is going to begin for us in that area. That's also where the segmentation comes into play. Basically, now the way that I'm thinking about it, at least for our brand that's the way it works, just like if you go to an apparel brand and you have pants and tees and shirts, that's the best way to navigate those sites. In our case, the best way to navigate them is based on the problem area, your underarms or hands; whatever. That's also going to inform which products I'm going to try to upsell you on after you buy whatever you buy, right? I know that if you buy a deodorant stick, I know that it's highly likely that your problem is around underarms, so let me just try to upsell you with other stuff about underarms and then maybe we go a step beyond and then start offering other accessories.

(25:28): That's also another thing that we're doing, is you have the main products that actually solve the biggest problems, and then you have ancillary products or accessories to help you boost AOV and to help people also feel more served because honestly, between you and I, once a consumer, including ourselves, open the wallet to spend money on something, you're also serving me if you're offering more stuff that I might be interested in. Let's say that I'm buying a car and maybe you're upselling me on the weather mat or the plastic mats that you can wash really easily. I already opened the wallet and you trying to sell me more stuff, it's not necessarily a bad thing. You're trying to serve me, so those accessories I think are also important to upsell, cross-sell, whatever you want to sell.

Sam (26:30): Well Jack, this has been a fascinating conversation and I really appreciate all the marketing that you're doing for Duradry. It really stands out when you go on the website and when you go through the funnel. Where can our listeners learn more about Duradry? Where should they best go?

Jack (26:46): Go to the website, duradry.com. Dura as in durable and dry as in not wet, .com.

Sam (26:54): Perfect. Well, thanks again for taking the time to join us today and all the best with Duradry.

Jack (27:00): Thank you so much. Was a pleasure.