Ben talks about how Be Pure spawned out of his passion to help people, the danger of getting used to a lower level of vitality, how he helps people get on the right path to feeling better and how he’s educating the marketplace in line with his key discoveries.
Ben also shares what he’s learned about getting branding right, how seminars fit in, his move towards cloud delivered health advice, how auto-subscription has helped with demand forecasting and his drive to optimise the eCommerce channel.
PLUS Ben shares what happens when you get the right nutrients into someone who is deficient, the testing process that elite sports athletes such as the All Blacks, NZ Olympians and even successful CEO’s who may have compromised their health along the way.
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Ryan: This is the Ryan Marketing Show and you’re listening to episode 33 of 100. Today, I’m with Ben Warren from Be Pure in Havelock North, Hawke’s Bay, and Ben we’re going to be talking all about health today so we’ve probably come to the right place.
Ben: I hope so.
Ryan: This is an amazing clinic you’ve got here, is this part of the whole Be Pure foundation?
Ben: Is it, yeah, this is, I look at the clinic as our RnB section so this is really where the rubber hits the road and where we find and discover new and wonderful things and find new ways of helping people, so this is my playground. Welcome to my playground. This is literally where I come and play.
Ryan: So Be Pure is a holistic health and nutrition company, founded by yourself, to provide people with the tools, education, inspiration and support they need to find optimal health. Now in 2016, how much of our health is based on what we do, what we drink, what we eat, how we exercise, all the internal things that we can control versus the environment that we live in, that we’re forced to live in where ever we are in the world.
Ben: It’s a great question, and I think it’s, we are a product of our environments, as always we are a product of our environments so definitely our environment massively affects our health so if you’re in a toxic environment that’s going to affect your health, but then your body’s ability to deal with those external stressors is very much dependent on what you have going on inside. So you can up regulate the systems within your body to be able to deal with stress, to be able to deal with a toxin and so yeah, it’s a combination of both and so for us, we work at both levels, how do we get the environment right, how do you get people in a good environment, toxic free environment. And then how do we have their bodies metabolic pathways work as well as possible so they can detoxify these things because in the modern world, we live in a toxic world, we’re not living in the world like my grandparents, you know. They grew up in the war, in the UK but they’re eating pretty good food and there’s a pretty low level of toxins in the environment, and these days we don’t live in that world so we have to really work hard to have our metabolic processes work well.
Ryan: So the environment has changed, and it’s evolved and us have humans beings haven’t potentially caught up with those environmental changes.
Ben: That’s probably fair to say, yeah.
Ryan: When did you discover or decide that, these two paths were kind of moving away from
each other and there’s an opportunity to help people through health?
Ben: I guess I never really saw an opportunity until only a year or two ago, which sounds crazy because I’ve been doing this for 12, 13, 14 years and so, for me I just was like, this is incredible and I want to help people. So it really just spawned out of my own passion, it’s literally, I have a passion, I started learning some of this stuff myself, I was just like, this is incredible, and people need to know this, and yeah I wanted to help more people and so the business fell out of my passion to help more people and it’s really only in the last couple of years that we’ve suddenly started sitting back and going, wow, there is actually, not only an opportunity but a need. There’s a huge need for what we do in the modern world and so, hence there is an opportunity.
Ryan: So what are some of those things that you’ve discovered in terms of health, I know on your site you talk about adrenal and the well being there, and something around xenoestrogen? I don’t know if I’ve pronounced that correctly.
Ben: Yeah, xenoestrogens, there’s fake oestrogen yeah, oh my gosh, some of the things I’ve discovered. Wow, some of the key things. My gosh, there’s so many things, I’m going to start off essentially with nutrients first and foremost is because all of your metabolic pathways within your body are dependent on nutrition, on vitamins and minerals and if you haven’t got a vitamin or mineral that pathway can’t work. It’s literally that simple. For example, serotonin your feel good happy hormone, is zinc dependent. So if you haven’t got zinc, you can’t make serotonin. It’s that simple, and so, you’re going to be depressed. So, because you can’t make it, and so yeah for me, really learning and seeing why we’re so deficient, why the stores are so deficient and then testing thousands of people and seeing. Thousands of people have multiple deficiencies in these key nutrients, for me, it’s crazy. It really is, I still can’t believe it myself and I’ve seen it. I guess I have learnt that and I have seen that and just what happens when you get these nutrients in people’s bodies, their bodies respond really well.
Ryan: So is it a matter of, cause’ you’re kind of different to the high street shop that would sell zinc over the counter for example, you take more of an analytical or audit the body first. What are you seeing in patients in general, what are we deficient in now?
Ben: We see selenium massively deficient, we see vitamin D massively deficient, we see zinc massively deficient, we see magnesium massively deficient, iodine is massively deficient. So these are commons things that we’ve tested All Blacks, we’ve tested olympians, we’ve tested some of the fittest people in the world. A lot of top CEOs as our clients because they get in their 50s and suddenly realise, you know incredibly successful in their lives, but they suddenly realise they need their health and they’ve often compromised their health by working 15 hours a day for weeks on end. We’ve yet to see anybody who’s not sufficient, who hasn’t got all the nutrients they need so I’ve never seen anybody who has all the nutrients they need when we’ve tested them so what does that look like, I’ve never seen somebody. So what we try and do is replenish them and see what happens if they’re an athlete, their performance, or if they’re a CEO, how do they feel? Can they tolerate stress better, do they have more energy to enjoy their life on the days that they do have off or are they just having to stay in bed because they’re tired?
Ryan: So does it really not matter if your feeling fine, and the brain’s firing well, or you’re an athlete and you’re lifting well or you’re running well, there still may be a problem because some of those metabolic pathways are blocked. You just don’t know that you’re not working.
Ben: Exactly, you just get used to whatever level you’re at, so what ever level you’re at, you get used to it and you think that is normal and you think everybody’s at that level, and so it’s not until you suddenly get a lift up or for a lot of people they have a medical emergency, which is a lift down, which makes them realise, oh I’ve got to do better. There’s just levels so it doesn’t make any difference to me whether we are working with someone with a chronic health issue or an olympic athlete, we’re looking at how we make their bodies work better and how we have them be healthier. Then they get that new level and they go, you know what, I’ve feeling the best I’ve felt in ten years. It’s good, or they go, I had a personal best.
Ryan: So I guess that’s quite a challenging message in a way to get to the market place because it’s not like a gym, it’s not workout harder, it’s not like doctor saying, just take a break. You’re really treating deficiencies, in particular areas to tune the body as if it was a sports engine.
Ben: Absolutely, and so now it’s a very exciting time in genetics as well so yes genetics are the underlying foundation but then we know that the genetic expression which is epic-genetics. So we can start to see a lot of this stuff, so you can start to see where your risk factors are. So you can start to see are your risk factors around heart disease, or around cancer and then you can protect against those things.
Ryan: That’s got to be quite exciting for someone if they know they have, or if they’re predisposed to a family illness that they’ve kind of known has been part of their ancestry, if you can tell them specifically yes you have that gene or not, it’s got to be a relief.
Ben: I guess the people that come to us, it’s a relief cause’ we can then do something about it I suppose, we try and do something about it but for a lot of people they don’t want to know their, APOE 4 gene which is a gene snip that’s associated with Alzheimer’s, well a lot of people don’t want to know if they’re going to get Alzheimer’s but for me, I want to know if I’ve got that gene snip because we know how to – Dr. Breadmans and his protocol at the Buck Institute, Longevity Institute in California, they’re reversing Alzheimer’s. So we know how to do it and so, yeah I want to know that I’ve got it so that I can then reverse it. As early as possible as well.
Ryan: So that gives you some amazing content to put a marketing material out there that help people to understand that there is a positive side to, for example for Alzheimer’s and I’ve seen that you’ve got a lot of content marketings on various different items on your sight, how does that blogging fit into to that overall marketing mix?
Ben: I think it’s all part of trying to tell a story about what we do, because it’s very difficult for me to explain what we do unless I’m telling a story so it’s easy for me to sit here and tell you because I’m telling a story but it’s very difficult to then try and put that in a succinct sentence, well what do you do? I think through blogging and these sort of things you’re able to draw some of the picture and for us we’re very much around the information is educating the consumer and once they understand why then they’re more inclined to come and find out more.
Ryan: Great so do you find that particular articles actually start lead generations straight away or is it more just having those up there in the background for when people make searches?
Ben: It’s a combination of both I don’t think we’ve got the tracking where we can track lead generation directly form our blog article but yes certainly, a lot of people go to the blogs, they read it, helps brand awareness. I’m sure that somebody reads a blog and goes, oh I’ve got a concern around that or I want to know more about that well then obviously they’re going to come to us to find out more so, I’ve used blogs as a natural expression of sharing information and I think good business has fallen out the bottom because of that.
Ryan: Now you’ve got an online store alongside the blog, are people or do you recommend people got to Be Pure that the health side of it, to just purchase the products? Or do they really need to go through the clinic side of things and be audited first?
Ben: It depends on where they are with their journey, we know we can make some base assumptions around the health of New Zealanders, and people in the world in general, and that base assumption is that they’re going to be deficient in some key nutrients, they’re going to need more Omega-3 fatty acids. They’re going to benefit from tidying up their diet, eating clean, and so we do those things through an online platform so if people are just new to what we do and they want to start and see if they want to feel a little bit better then we can start them on some base things. Which are very cost effective and have them feel better, and then you know potentially a year or two later they’ll go, well that was great, I want to go to the next level, and then they will perhaps come in and we’ll do some testing and see if we can take them to the next level.
Ryan: Okay, so because you know that the general population is deficient in some key areas already, that enables you to set up these programs from a starter level.
Ben: Yeah, and systems and a lot of it’s around base new nutritional advice and these are base aspects of good quality nutrition around what foods to eat.
Ryan: Now before we started this interview you mentioned you do a lot of your consulting over Skype, which sounds like a fantastic way to do business, how has that enabled you to grow your business further than just outside of Hawke’s Bay?
Ben: Oh absolutely, it’s enabled us to grow dramatically because the service that we offer is not cheap because by nature a lot of the testings expensive, and so our market in Hawke’s Bay probably would be quite small, of people who A. have the money and B. have the health concern or the want. And so it enables us to reach our customers from a broader area so most of our customers are, 80 percent of our customers probably are remote and that’s within New Zealand but also Australia and world wide. So we wouldn’t be able to have those customers as customers if we didn’t have the technology to do that.
Ryan: I guess the challenge for that type of approach, also your opportunity, but the challenge is when someone doesn’t get to meet you, how do you establish trust through all of those things that they discover online, which leads us onto the question around branding. Talk us through your experience with that.
Ben: Branding yeah, it’s an interesting thing this, so I’m just a geek and I never really considered branding at all to be important and it wasn’t till a friend of mine, it was a couple years ago now. He was like, Ben your branding is terrible, nobody’s going to buy that in Auckland. So we went through this process of re-branding and then it really struck home to me when there’s a very influential person who owns a couple of magazines, and he owns one in LA and one in New Zealand. And he called us for a meeting and we went and met him in a very nice restaurant in Auckland, and he goes, guys I just wanted to meet you guys because I love your branding, what do you do? He didn’t even know what we did, he just loved our branding and this guys impossible to get a meeting with and we got a meeting with the main guy, just because of our branding. I’m sitting going, this is nuts, this guy only wants to meet us because he loves our branding. He has no idea. Since that time we’ve gone on and been able to help him with his health, he’s a huge advocate, he’s a client and we’ve had access throughout his whole network because of our branding. So for me that just drove home how important branding is.
Ryan: It certainly is, that first part, if you can peak someones curiosity around what you do or just stop them enough to take a second look, then that’s the first objective, that first tick box of branding is done.
Ben: Well I guess we’ve done okay on that front because yeah that was kind of a crazy experience.
Ryan: Now you’re not just a brand, you still go out and do events and seminars, around New Zealand, how important is that to the Be Pure business to actually go out and meet the general public?
Ben: I think it’s still very very important to the brand and to the business in general, it is very important because at the moment, we utilise technology a lot but it’s still not really digestible. Like you can’t get the same impact as being there in a live event, and so I think at some point we will definitely move away from that but at the moment it’s still an integral part of what we do.
Ryan: Have you played around with any of the new tools where you can live broadcast using Facebook live at the event and kind of do a cross over?
Ben: Yeah we have done, we’ve done some Facebook live feeds and we do a lot of video content anyway so it’s definitely coming and I certainly see within the next few years we’re going to be, we will be purely in the cloud. In regards to all the events, we will be on demand in the cloud.
Ryan: Right so the branding part is going to become even more important then because it’s all virtual.
Ben: Yes, I would think so, we will still obviously have the clinics which is R & D (research and development) and we’ll have a clinic in Auckland by the end of the year and so we’ll still have a shop front and a perceived physical presence because we believe that just a virtual presence doesn’t have that degree of credibility so we will still have physical presence but as we are right now. I mean right now we are doing 80 percent of our business, 80 percent of our sales are from ecommerce and so we set to continue, if not, be 90 percent.
Ryan: Now I notice something on your ecommerce site which I think is great and not many business’ do this, is you offer auto shipping.
Ryan: Which is fantastic for subscriptions because it takes the pain away from the consumer of having to remember when to re-order. Hows that been going for you?
Ben: It’s been going fantastic, we actually did it because when we started manufacturing this very specialised multi-vitamin specific for New Zealanders it was being manufactured in America, we had to pay and give them the money, and then it was three months in production, four months in production sometimes and then a month on the sea and we’d get it five months later. And so we were having to order five months in advance so we needed to know how many bottles we needed in five months time in order to be able to not run out, and so logistically and obviously cash flow wise it’s a nightmare, but anyway. We said to our customers, listen we need to know how many of you are going to want this in five months time so we’ve got enough for you. So how about, we’ll do this auto ship thing where we will ship out to you, we’ll give you a discount so we know and then that way we’ve got an idea of how many we need and that will enable us to order ahead so we don’t run out. It was really a win win win situation and now looking at it, it’s incredible because obviously that’s our bread and butter, that’s our cashflow, we know pretty much how many bottles we are going to sell tomorrow, even though we haven’t sold any bottles yet tomorrow.
Ryan: That’s great, that forecasting gives you that confidence to keep ordering.
Ben: It really does that cash flow confidence is really huge, especially when you start making big decisions around the future and where your investment’s going to be.
Ryan: So if someones listening at the moment thinking, I’m not sure if my health is exactly where it needs to be, where do they start?
Ben: They’d start at bepure.co.nz, blatant plug. I would start there and then I’d also start with your GP, go to your GP and have a health check up, get your cholesterol levels checked and get all that jazz, get your blood sugar levels, HbA1c checked and get a full work up. And if anything comes back you might not necessarily want to take a medication and if you don’t want to take a medication then start looking at some diet and lifestyle factors to see if you can improve it that way.
Ryan: Is there any particular blog articles you’ve written recently or some of your team have written that would make a good starting point for getting educated?
Ben: I guess people’s point of access is different for anybody because often people will come in with their own health concern, and so actually this is one of the biggest problems we’ve had with marketing and BePure.
Ryan: Is where to start.
Ben: Is where to start because we’re not niche. We’re not niche and that’s one of the biggest problems is that we’re trying to be everything to everyone, and that’s very difficult to market and so that’s one of the biggest problems. So what we try and do these days is we’ve tried to break out what we do down into niches. Then talk directly to those niche concerns, so like womens health, and xenoestrogens, which are molecules that mimic oestrogen’s so we’ll write articles on that. So women who are searching for, how do I balance my hormones, will end up at that blog article, whereas men who maybe have high cholesterol and so they’ll end up on the high cholesterol blog article. So we try and actually break our market down into niches, and then market to the niches because otherwise we’ve really struggled long term trying to market being everything to everyone.
Ryan: Yeah and I guess you’ve done a very good job because you are using those channels and you’ve got some great content on Facebook, almost 36,000 fans there. Youtube I see your face talking and these little short irresistibly concise, two to three minute parts which are very easy to watch just on my phone, and you’ve got the events. What’s the next event you’ve got coming up?
Ben: Yeah, we’ve got events in Tauranga and then the South Island and also a one day seminar in Auckland so a bit of a mix up so, but I still get to spend probably 60 to 80 percent of my time in the clinic. Like I say, it’s my playground.
Ryan: And when you’re not working? What do you do to relax?
Ben: I surf and play, I’ve got a five and eight year old so I just like to play on the trampoline with them really.
Ryan: Excellent. Well it’s been fantastic meeting you today and to understand a little more about the back story for BePure, Ben.
Ben: Well thanks very much for having me. I appreciate it.
Ryan: Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you.