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Cover art for podcast episode Marketing's Role in Driving Meaningful Change

Marketing’s Role in Driving Meaningful Change

Welcome to the Health Marketing Collective, where strong leadership meets marketing excellence.

On today’s episode, Brian Jones is joining us to talk about purpose-driven marketing, the importance of marketing for company growth, and marketing’s role in driving meaningful change.

As the Chief Growth Officer for Avesis, a dental and vision supplemental benefits health plan, Brian leads initiatives that help Avesis stand out, aligning marketing strategies with the company’s mission to enhance healthcare access and outcomes for Medicaid and Medicare populations. His innovative approach and focus on removing hurdles that block access to health care have marked him as a leading voice in purpose-driven healthcare marketing.

We’re discussing one of these initiatives that targeted individuals with special healthcare needs to see how marketing campaigns can have positive impacts on the greater community. Brian shares the reasons his organization chose to prioritize social determinants of health rather than more traditional marketing efforts, and the effects he has seen on communities, including helping expecting moms give their babies a better start at a healthy life.

Thank you for being part of the Health Marketing Collective, where strong leadership meets marketing excellence. The future of healthcare depends on it.

Key Takeaways:

1. Purpose-Driven Marketing: Brian Jones highlights the importance of marketing geared toward social impact, particularly in health care. Emphasizing the role of purpose-driven campaigns in addressing social determinants of health, he underscores how such initiatives not only support business growth but also significantly enhance community well-being.

2. Strategic Integration & Alignment: The challenge of integrating varied elements within an organization is profound. Brian discusses the necessity of aligning marketing strategies with broader organizational goals to ensure coherence and efficiency. This strategic alignment is pivotal for effectively delivering on the company’s mission and market expectations.

3. Technological Innovations & Access to Care: Innovation is key in transcending traditional healthcare barriers. Brian elaborates on how Avesis leverages technology, such as the development of an app to improve dental care accessibility for individuals with developmental disabilities, highlighting how tech solutions can drastically improve care delivery and patient outcomes.

4. Leveraging Leadership for Social Good: Leadership isn’t just about steering company policies but also about advocating for societal benefits. Brian showcases how leadership commitment can drive significant improvements in healthcare, particularly through initiatives aimed at vulnerable populations, thereby illustrating the profound impact of thoughtful leadership on community health.

5. Measuring Success Beyond Business Metrics: With a keen focus on outcomes rather than output, Brian and Avesis prioritize evidence-based approaches and community feedback to refine their services. This outcomes-focused strategy ensures that their services genuinely address the needs of the communities they serve, underscoring the importance of impact over income in the healthcare industry.

About Brian Jones

Chief Growth Officer

Brian currently serves as the Chief Growth Officer for Avesis, a dental and vision supplemental benefits health plan. As the Chief Growth Officer, Brian is focuses on forging strategic alliances, spearheading market entry strategies, and optimizing business processes for scalability for our members, clients, groups, brokers, and providers across all products and markets. Brian also serves on the Board of Directors for Team Smile; a non-profit organization providing children in need with a life-changing dental experience through the power of sports.

Transcript

Sara Payne [00:00:12]:

Hello, everyone. And welcome to the Health Marketing Collective, where strong leadership meets marketing excellence. I'm your host, Sara Payne, a health marketing strategist at Inprela Communications, and I'm bringing you fascinating conversations with some of the industry's top marketing minds. Today's episode is all about purpose driven marketing and its important role in improving the future of health. We'll explore the critical issue of social determinants of health and how addressing these factors is not only an opportunity to lead with purpose, but to transform our brands into platforms for social change. We'll discuss the responsibility we all have as health marketing leaders to not only acknowledge the influence of social determinants of health on health outcomes, but to actively participate in initiatives that make a tangible difference in the lives of those we serve, one campaign at a time. Joining me in this important conversation, I'm thrilled to welcome Brian Jones. Brian serves as chief growth officer for Avesis, a dental and vision supplemental benefits health plan.

Sara Payne [00:01:17]:

Avesis is making some important moves to disrupt the supplemental benefits category to address a wider range of whole health needs. As just one example, Avesis is amplifying solutions to reduce the impacts of social determinants of health, and I'm excited to dive into that with you a bit more today, Brian. Welcome to the show.

Brian Jones [00:01:37]:

Great. Thanks for having me, Sara.

Sara Payne [00:01:38]:

Yeah. I really appreciate you being here. I wanna start off, Brian, by acknowledging that you don't have a classic marketing title. You are chief growth officer. So first, explain your role, in marketing for the organization, and perhaps tell us a bit about how you view the importance of marketing as it pertains to company growth?

Brian Jones [00:02:00]:

No, that's, that's a great question. And, and yes, very, very untraditional, especially in the health plan space. When I got offered the opportunity to come here as the chief growth officer, I had to really get my head wrapped around what is all encompassing within that. And that includes everything from direct sales, a and also marketing. And, you know, within that, it's really driving the message of, you know, what our differentiators are in the market, how we set ourselves up in frankly, a market that is typically been commoditized in many instances within the dental and vision space and how we need to really understand how we set ourselves apart in the services that we deliver, in the partnerships and collaborations we bring to the table, but also how we explain to people who we are, how we are, and, you know, what makes us different from everybody else. And that's probably been the biggest marketing challenge is saying in a crowded market, in one where, you know, you're typically seen as just pay claims and make sure you have a decent network. How are you finding ways to provide that additional value? Not only to health plan partners we work with, but states we work with directly as well, specifically in the, in the Medicaid and Medicare spaces.

Sara Payne [00:03:21]:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you're certainly space, space, certainly a challenge, which I think brings us to our conversation today, which is to explore the ways that Avesis is differentiating itself around having an impact on social determinants of health. So, it's really about today a conversation about marketing's role in in driving meaningful change. Can you start, Brian, by by giving a quick example of an initiative that Avesis has launched that specifically addresses 1 or more of the social determinants of health?

Brian Jones [00:04:03]:

Sure. No. Great question. So we've really leaned into in the last year, a heavy focus on specific populations that deal with various levels of the impacts of social determinants of health. And so the area that we've leaned into the most are patients with special healthcare needs, and predominantly members that have some kind of intellectual or developmental disability and their access to care, especially as it pertains to oral healthcare. In many cases, in a lot of the programs that we're working in, you know, we have, organizations that we work with that they're caregivers that take care of these individuals with the developmental disabilities or those that are living with them are trying to figure out how to better serve themselves and help themselves in their health journey overall. And so we've worked with one of our partners in Kentucky, one of our health plan partners, to develop a specific program, around serving members or patients with special healthcare needs, especially within the foster population. So you can see we're getting down to not just a general population need, but when we're focused on social determinants of health, we need to work our way down into the system and figure out where the real true core challenges and issues are.

Brian Jones [00:05:24]:

And so through that partnership, we identified that working with some group homes and others would be great a great way for us to start understanding their challenges and interventions that they need to put in place to get their members, better oral health care and just better dental needs overall. And, you know, in many cases, when you're working with patients with special healthcare needs, especially kids with autism per se, You you see them you see their parents or caregivers walking around with these massive notebooks of, you know, that help them get through their daily process. All of their doctors are there, all of their social maps and how they do things and how they get through their activities of daily living are all encompassed in there because in many cases you need that guide to get there. We wanted to make that process easier, more accessible, and frankly, less time consuming, not only for the caregivers, but the patients with the needs as well. And so we implemented an M mapping program. So it's a app that's downloaded onto a smart device. We specifically use iPads in the pilot that we're working on right now that, has all of these maps in it. And it helps them, you know, identify key things like a 2 minute brushing tutorial, which through our piloting has shown that that's the number one daily living map that they use.

Brian Jones [00:06:53]:

And so when we look at the initial intervention, you know, we're already helping with better better health care from that perspective. But when you broaden it to other social determinants of health, we've accomplished one there. We've given them better access to an affordable system decent from that perspective. But when you talk about then the other activities of daily living, the instrumental activities of daily living, so getting into their job and workforce We're dealing with, you know, working life conditions. We're working with food insecurity. We're working with unemployment and job insecurity in those levels. So one intervention that we came in to say, you know, how do we get these kids brushing their teeth better? How do we get these kids in to understanding what a good oral hygiene habit is? We've been able to naturally matriculate to other social determinants of health that they're actively working through, in their day to day basis.

Sara Payne [00:07:55]:

This is really interesting work, Brian. I think you bring up a few points that I think are important to touch on. You talked at the beginning about how, you know, you really have to work your way down into that community, into the system to really unpack where those challenges are. If you have any desire to be able to solve them and make an impact. The other interesting thing, that I see here is that this is not, I mean, sure there are strategies that you're deploying here that could be replicated into another market, another similar market, but this is a very specific population, right? The IDD population inside of foster care system, which is a which is amazing, but it just blows my mind. The amount of work and effort that your team is doing at the ground level to really, as you say, dig in and understand the challenge, right? This is not just processing claims. This is we're going to go in. We're going to remove hurdles in access to care, make that whole dental care visit a better, you know, easier experience so that they're able to do it on a regular basis because the data shows that oral health is very closely linked to whole health and health and the rest of your body.

Sara Payne [00:09:21]:

So just really fascinating Brian the the amount of time and effort that I imagine it takes you and and the organization to do this kind of work and you certainly don't you didn't have to prioritize social determinants of health. This was a decision, this was a strategic decision to prioritize social determinants of health. What drove that decision? Why is social determinants of health so important to a basis?

Brian Jones [00:09:45]:

Yeah, and I think I hit on it a little bit at the beginning of, we wanted to be more than just the claims management company that's out there. We did want to focus and redefine ourselves, whether that was strategically so we could differentiate ourselves and, you know, as the, as the growth officer here, increase our sales, other things like that, that's always a motivation. We're an organization, we're a company that is, you know, designed around, you know, being able to do that. However, we wanted to take a much more holistic approach to healthcare and say, how do we go beyond just being that dental company or that vision company and really incorporating in? And we sat down and really thought hard about, you know, where, where do we sit kind of on the continuum of healthcare and working with our partners, not only health plans, but states. But, you know, how do you really get to the crux of what the challenges are and what they're experiencing? States and health plans are getting a lot smarter when it comes to identifying partners that can help amplify their solutions. And that's really what we were trying to fit in here. You know, we want to we want to lift up the communities that we're serving from that perspective. Even the micro communities that we described a little bit earlier, serving the underserved is just the core of any business.

Brian Jones [00:11:04]:

Anybody that works within the Medicaid structure or others, that should just be such a core component of caring, in general. And that's, you know, whether you're talking about health equality, health equity, anything along that spectrum. But really what, what is a core is just our relentless pursuit of innovation. So how are we continuing to bring in new technologies, new processes and care for those that need to care that much better. And, you know, we made the decision early on that we were going to be that company. We wanted to really, really lean into that, and find the new and interesting ways and the emerging ways, that we can do that with a fail fast mentality. Let's get in there. Let's figure out what works and say, okay, that worked what's next or that didn't work.

Brian Jones [00:11:54]:

How could we make that that much better the next time we go out, and really take a piloting model, figure out how we replicate it and scale it from there. And then not try to solve every single problem with one solution. But building a solution, that no matter where we go, there's something that we have in our toolbox that says we can help solve a problem here and we can make it unique to that specific situation.

Sara Payne [00:12:23]:

That's amazing. Yeah. And, I mean, I think that's what's so hard about social determinants of health is you can't take a blanket approach. Right? You do have to really customize it to the need. So what I'm hearing from you is, you know, part of why this was a priority for Avesis is it did start at that mission and purpose level, right, of the organization saying, this is who we are, this is, you know, what we want to be and how we want to serve. But also your customers are asking for it.

Brian Jones [00:12:48]:

Mhmm.

Sara Payne [00:12:48]:

Right? Those who serve the Medicaid population, this is incredibly important to them. And then further, you saw it as a differentiator, for the organization. And I think that's important, you know, that obviously seeing a business opportunity here is important. Right? I just wondered if you could just sort of comment a little bit on how you and the organization take a look at it from a business opportunity perspective, you know, to really make have it make sense to prioritize this.

Brian Jones [00:13:19]:

Sure. Yeah. And we're from that perspective, we're always focused on the outcome. So the the dollar impact comes in 3 or 3 or 4 stages down in our planning process. So, you know, I don't even start talking about the cost of a program, the cost to implement, the cost of all of the partnerships that would come involved until we understand what the true outcome is we're looking on this program. Because from there you can scale it no matter which way you want to go with our, you know, with our initial outcome, within our IDD and foster populations, we said 1 fraction or 1% better usage of a toothbrush is a good health outcome to start with, But what's next? It's getting them into the dentist. Well, how do we do that to, a component of the population that is, you know, highly sensitive to vibrations and the experience and the sensual aspect that is going to even a doctor's office or a dental office. So how do we develop a solution for that? And really breaking down, you know, we break down the population to the lowest possible kind of understanding of where the challenge is, but the solution has to come down to that level as well.

Brian Jones [00:14:32]:

And so we kind of scale up the outcomes and we say, what can we do from the beginning? What else can we add on? And as we kind of continue to develop those, that's when we start saying, who are the partners that we need to bring in for this? We, we do take an evidence based approach. We want to use technologies that are proven, but we also want to test the waters on new things as well. Things that are just emerging into markets. And so, you know, that is why we do take that piloting approach because it is more cost effective for us as an organization and allows us to scale it to the point where we can serve actually more of the population doing those targeted areas versus trying to peanut butter spread something over an entire population that's gonna have such a minimal impact. You know, we know, you know, a small percentage of the population makes up 2 thirds of the Medicaid spend across the country. And so little fractions and little changes within that population, which needs the care, which is the ones that are lacking the care the most will have the biggest cost savings impact or cost avoidance impact when it comes to the long term healthcare. We're not just focused on the short term interventions. We're focused on 10 years from now and 20 years from now, You know, and making sure that we're breaking and stopping the disease early, in many cases or stopping poverty early in many cases and saying, how do we set them up for a better life overall instead of just the encounter that we're dealing with, you know, on a day to day basis?

Sara Payne [00:16:06]:

Yeah. I mean, it's, it's quite remarkable work, really, when you think about that impact, that broad impact that, that you're making there, for these individuals, but also, you know, in terms of cost savings as well, as you talked about. How are you measuring the success of your efforts? Obviously, in some cases, this takes time to see that impact, but how do you think of it at the high level?

Brian Jones [00:16:27]:

Sure. I mean, at the high level, we look at business metrics. First, we look at the cost of a claim. Over a period of time, do the cost of claims go down in these populations? Are we understanding where the interventions fit within the whole cycle of the care that we're trying to provide. So, you know, if you go to the dentist every 6 months, do you have less fillings in 6 months? Do you have less fillings in 12 months? And that's just one example. Less, you know, more focus on preventive services versus restorative services in the grand scheme of things. That's one way we measure it. That's just an outcomes based focus on simple claims.

Brian Jones [00:17:08]:

But we also need to look at the, the better, how their lives are getting better through this process as well. Are they able to live healthier lives? Are they ready to start lives out that much better? You know, another example is a maternal health program that we're working with with another health plan partner, in Georgia where we're looking to, you know, not only help from a nutritional and an overall health basis, with expecting moms that are, that then qualify for Medicaid, because they are an expecting mom, but how are we setting out the kid that's being born in that out for a better future? So, you know, we're getting, we're getting ready to come up on our first set of major health outcomes on that program. And, you know, we're looking at it as, you know, an ounce heavier in birth weight. One less day in the hospital or NICU, one less hour in the hospital or NICU, you know, with these kids that typically have lower birth outcomes than, you know, than the general population. So how are we setting them up to start their lives better, with the anticipation that we're going to break the cycle of poverty, break the cycle of understanding where these folks can go, because they're starting their life up that much better. And that includes educating the moms better on the food they're putting in their body from the very beginning, of their pregnancy through that. But also setting themselves up with the tools to set themselves, to allow them to get their babies healthier, from the very, very beginning. And then how does that impact their eye health and their oral health and all of that moving forward?

Sara Payne [00:18:50]:

Yeah, no, that's amazing. And what I'm hearing is this is a powerful statement that, you know, breaking the cycle of poverty is sometimes measured in minutes and ounces because it really does come down to that in some cases, where we're talking about birth outcomes, Fascinating stuff. So I wanna I wanna shift a little bit and talk about the marketing component of this. What challenges do you face, Brian, in aligning your marketing strategies with these social issues?

Brian Jones [00:19:23]:

Mhmm. Yeah. To to me, it it comes down to it. It really comes down to who's a thesis, you know, who are you? What do you stand for? I mean, we don't get the, you know, the press coverage and things like that for for big initiatives, you know, that other health plans would get or other other bigger names in the space would get. And so, you know, that presents a marketing challenge of how do we develop organic content that's consumable, that works across multiple channels. Cause you know, in this organization, our marketing team is small. Luckily we have great partners, like you and the Imprella team that help us push things out and and get organized and understand where we're gonna have the biggest bang for our buck in those areas. But a lot of it is how are we, you know, looking at the internal associate experience as well is how are we motivating? Because I see marketing from 2 perspectives.

Brian Jones [00:20:18]:

I'm marketing internally, but I'm also marketing externally. So how am I motivating my teams internally to take that next step to put in 1% more effort because they believe and they see a lot of the things that we're doing. And, you know, just hearing about some of our pilot programs elicits so many questions and activities, and then that makes them think a little bit broader of, you know, my client mentioned that on one of our last calls, maybe I should reach out and see, you know, how do we you know, get more integrated involved in those areas. But I think from an overall perspective, it comes down to, we have to be persistent. We have to be consistent. And I've, you know, I wanna get away from a marketing plan that is, you know, celebrating, you know, a one time event, versus something that has continual outcomes and a continual focus. And that, you know, that includes the broader definition of marketing from my perspective is how are you ingraining that into your outreach to members, your outreach to providers, your outreach to your community stakeholders and taking it from, you know, traditional, here's your postcard, I hope you have a better outcome, versus how are we integrating ourselves into the community, getting away from that transactional and really turning it into a meaningful experience. So really everything that we do out in the community, everything that we do, every customer meeting that we have to me is marketing from that perspective in the broadest sense.

Brian Jones [00:21:46]:

And how are we celebrating our wins, but also recognizing where our challenges are from that perspective as well. And being open and honest about those.

Sara Payne [00:21:56]:

Yeah. Couple of things really stood out, for me there, Brian. 1st, to not overlook the importance of internal marketing, because word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful. And oftentimes, word-of-mouth comes through your own internal champions and advocates who are out there in the marketplace, who also could be active in posting and sharing these stories on social media, etcetera. So I love that point, but then maybe the bigger, more important point is around this persistence and consistency, which I believe really kind of what we're getting at here is this purpose driven marketing approach. It's not event based announcement based, look how great we are. It is, this is our mission and our purpose of this as an organization. This is what we've set out to do, and we're going to day in and day out beat the drum and tell amazing, powerful stories that thread that together.

Brian Jones [00:22:51]:

Yes.

Sara Payne [00:22:51]:

You know, knit that together from, you know, January of 2024 to July of 2026. Mhmm. Right? That that you are showing up consistently in in the marketplace and demonstrating initiative after initiative. Kentucky, Georgia, Georgia, Georgia, and really powerful. No, it's, it's, it's something that, really powerful.

Brian Jones [00:23:15]:

No. It's it's it's something that when I came on board was was lacking from, you know, again, who are we? What do we stand for? How are we telling our story? How are we telling our associates stories? You know, we have a lot of great people that are doing a lot of great things. They're, they're our unsung heroes. And so what are we doing to, to amplify their voices and say, you know, we do this and we're here because we care about something kind of much broader than our day to day job. And, you know, we really live our mission and that's why we came here and that's why we stay here. You know, the average associate here at Avisas has been here for over 10 years. And so they came for a reason. They've stayed for a reason.

Brian Jones [00:23:57]:

I feel one of my core objectives is to keep them here for their entire career, but that's giving them an organization that they feel that they can stand behind, and really grow with from that perspective.

Sara Payne [00:24:10]:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the transformation that the organization has gone through since you came on board. Because I think that's a really important point, you know, that the messaging around this work that you're doing with social determinants of health has to be authentic, right, in order for it to to work. Mhmm. And, you know, we started working together, you know, just about a a year ago, and, you know, you brought us in to help capture and sort of catalyze the thought leadership narrative around the purpose. And when we drafted it and looked at it, you said, yes, this is spot on. However, we as an organization are not ready yet.

Brian Jones [00:24:52]:

Correct.

Sara Payne [00:24:52]:

It's too aspirational for where we stand today, and I will say you have the courage to pump the brakes. Mhmm. Right? Despite the fact that the organization wanted to be out there, you know, more loudly, you know, talking about all these wonderful things that you're doing, there were some things that needed to be shorn up, right? Like, there were some things that needed to be done in order for that to truly be to truly be authentic and to then therefore have the true resonance, with the audience and to be seen as as believable. So, any any thoughts sort of looking back on that? I mean, I think I think you made the right call there, but I do think it takes a lot of courage as a leader to to do that, to pump the brakes, to tell the organization we've got some work to do.

Brian Jones [00:25:36]:

Yeah. And, you know, as a growth leader who, you know, my success is dependent on where we started and being bigger from where, from the outcome of where we're driven, we did have some challenges that we needed to overcome, you know, some operational challenges. We went through a technology transformation. Those are hard on every organization. But they're essential to getting us to where we need to be long term. You don't want to be going through one of your hardest times as an organization and getting your people aligned and your processes aligned and your technology up to date all while you're also trying to show all of these great things that you're doing. And so we were doing so many cool things and I'm like, zip my lips. You know, let's get to the point where, you know, where we have more of a holistic story to tell and we back it up as an organization.

Brian Jones [00:26:27]:

And we made those investments. We put in the time, we went through the challenges that are persistent on that, but that allowed me to tell a whole different story. As we were going through that and almost an emergence of a new kind of, we called it internally a VSIS 2.0, to say, you know, what's the next iteration, who we are as an organization and what we stand for. And that includes all of our back office and making sure that we're aligned with, you know, do our systems support the outcomes that we're trying to get, and do our processes to our people. And that was a 12 month exercise that we went through, that had many, many hurdles and, and we overcame them as an organization, I think are stronger and our message stands a lot stronger now that we've been through that and can really come out and catalyze around some of our core initiatives and and our focus areas.

Sara Payne [00:27:19]:

I agree. And I applaud you for doing that because I I will say I've seen other organizations choose a different pathway.

Brian Jones [00:27:24]:

Mhmm.

Sara Payne [00:27:25]:

Right? And, doesn't always work out so well when you don't have that true, you know, transparency in the offering. So one of the things I think that I think about is that, you know, when it comes down to defining a purpose of an organization, certainly that doesn't sit solely on the marketing department. Yeah. But I believe in many ways in today's purpose driven marketing era that it is on marketing to hold the organization accountable to not only defining it clearly and well, right, so that everyone can can be saying it consistently to your point in the marketplace and to make sure the organization is living up to that purpose authentically.

Brian Jones [00:28:02]:

Yes.

Sara Payne [00:28:03]:

And so I think of it as marketing sort of functions as the mirror, if you will, of how well the organization, is living up to its purpose. Any thoughts on that?

Brian Jones [00:28:15]:

Yeah, that's kind of been another big challenge and kind of one of the main reasons, you know, for also pumping the brakes is we hadn't yet defined who we wanted to be at that point. And so we wanted to really come out and say, you know, cause when I started, we we felt like 2 different organizations. We had the core business and then we had a lot of other specialty things that we were testing out, trying to get into. And there was no bridge between the 2. And so, you know, we had one side of the organization focused on these high level transformational things that again, we weren't ready, quite ready for. But at the time we were as an organization, that's where, you know, that's where leadership was pushing it at the time. And when I took the role over and tried to start thinking, how do we blend these 2 together? Because innovation should support the core business and core business should be the grounding for the innovation is if we need to be capable to do it. And then we, you know, if we aren't, then we need to figure out the creative ways to be capable to do that.

Brian Jones [00:29:19]:

And so we really focused on kind of bridging that message and then saying, you know, our target audiences are similar. Our positioning statements from the perspective of how we're focused on our core business versus the other ancillary business lines that we could play in. And really took a comprehensive approach to saying, you know, we don't need 6 messaging pillars. We need 3 messaging pillars that can then be, you know, scaled up or scaled down based on on who we're talking with or what we're trying to get to. And that really helped us catalyze around really an outcomes based approach. I said, why aren't we focused on the outcomes? Why are we focused on, you know, press releases? We need to be focused on outcomes. And, you know, once we did that, we were set off on a completely different track that has led us to where we are today and really being able to blossom out of, you know, as, as this new kind of refined organization, that I think a lot of people are believing in.

Sara Payne [00:30:18]:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I want to just summarize some of my key takeaways from this conversation as we think about purpose driven marketing and having an impact on social determinants of health. It takes courage and hard work. It's certainly not for the faint of heart. It takes strong leadership alignment across the organization. Authenticity is key, being honest about where your efforts are truly lining up with the marketing narrative versus being aspirational. And then I think aspirational, and then I think transparency and being the ability to show the work, right? Bringing people along. Not every not every program and initiative will achieve the outcomes that you hoped it would, and you have to own that, and that's okay, and say here's what we learned, and here's how we're going to apply that moving forward.

Sara Payne [00:31:00]:

This is this is such an important topic Brian and I know I know we could go on about it all day. Before we go, I'd like to switch gears for for a special segment that we call the collective quick fire.

Brian Jones [00:31:12]:

Oh, nice.

Sara Payne [00:31:12]:

Five rapid 5 rapid fire questions to get some valuable nuggets of insight, from you before we end the episode. 1st question, what's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Brian Jones [00:31:23]:

Oh, boy. You know, I think it's staying humble, especially in the areas that we work in. I could puff up my chest, I could do all of that, and focus on the me aspect of the job. But, you know, when I got into this business, you know, I said, I'm going to focus on the people that we're serving, and the stakeholders that we work with. And my job is to amplify them, at the end of the day. So staying humble in my role and, you know, and making sure that I'm never the centerpiece for what's going on. It's, it's everything that we're doing and everything that goes into what we're doing.

Sara Payne [00:32:00]:

I love that. This one's going to be hard for a chief growth officer to answer. What's more important to you, Brian, short term results or long term investment in the brand?

Brian Jones [00:32:12]:

Long term investment in the brand. It's not even a hard question for me. I know if we're making the right investments, the short term growth and the short term impacts are gonna be there. You know, I work in 18 to 24 month sales cycles within our government business, and a much more transactional component in our commercial business. And I know as long as we stay committed to the long road, we're going to get the right outcomes, that we're looking at from a sales growth, whatever metric that I'm looking at perspective. So that's not even a hard question for me to answer. I know if we stay with you, I will hit every outcome that I need to along the way.

Sara Payne [00:32:51]:

How do you stay ahead of various market developments and trends?

Brian Jones [00:32:57]:

I do a lot of reading between the lines. I, you know, I travel extensively for my work and I travel for one meeting with the hopes that I can turn it into 4 or 5, and really understand what's going on. And I go beyond just meeting with my customers. I, you know, I talk to people on the streets that I run into. I understand kind of what's going on in those respective markets. Medicaid is different everywhere. Government programs are different everywhere. And so you can't just apply one solution everywhere.

Brian Jones [00:33:30]:

So it's figuring out what the problem is and it's, it's figuring out the problem by walking around. You know, when I travel, I walk around in the morning so I can see how a city wakes up. I can see where,

Sara Payne [00:33:40]:

you

Brian Jones [00:33:40]:

know, where the homeless populations are coming out of, where they gravitate to, what the struggles are with local transportation solutions, things like that, just to understand and talk coherently about what the real struggles are and challenges. And then I take all of my other stakeholder feedback and kind of figure out what the broader solution is. And then I don't dictate the solution. The local environment does. And, you know, and those are, you know, those are just elements that I have always done and, you know, just, you know, I can apply it anywhere.

Sara Payne [00:34:14]:

Love that. So great. Startup mentality or corporate strategy, what's more important for growth?

Brian Jones [00:34:22]:

I'm going to say both. I'm going to take the cop out on this one. So, I love the startup mentality that we have here. It's rapid. We're not afraid to make changes. We're not afraid to take risks. We're willing to do that. But when you're working with well established organizations, they need to see a strong corporate culture.

Brian Jones [00:34:44]:

They need to see strong elements of longevity and sustainability. And so, you know, when they're looking to sign long term contracts with us, they want to know we're going to be around for 3 to 5 years and not just the next, you know, the next organization coming around to solve this unique problem. And so to me, it's a combination of both. And I think it really resonates because we are able to be so agile. It allows us to think more creatively, while still having a really, really strong corporate background. I mean, Avisas has been around for over 40 years. And so we've been serving our communities for that long. But keeping in mind that we can rapidly turn and rapidly shift is also very empowering, because we don't always have to do the same thing the same way every time.

Sara Payne [00:35:33]:

Last question. What's the best podcast episode or book on either leadership or marketing that you've consumed recently? Do you have a favorite?

Brian Jones [00:35:41]:

So I incessantly read, everything that I can get my hands on. You know, I listen to a lot of podcasts. I'd say a lot of them have the same kind of message and tenets. So I'm looking for I'm looking for topics in those areas. So, you you know, when I'm sitting around the house at night, I'm on my phone reading the news and understanding what's going on. Again, trying to read between the lines. You know, I I'd be remiss if I didn't say I follow tenants of, of, of Simon Sinek, and, and, you know, and his processes of getting to the why I very much live my life that way. I live my corporate life that way.

Brian Jones [00:36:20]:

I do bring work home because work is part of who I am, and how I live that and how I do things. So, I'd say a lot of, a lot of Simon stuff is, I talk, I talk about Simon, like he's my best friend. But,

Sara Payne [00:36:33]:

I think we all feel that way about Simon, but

Brian Jones [00:36:36]:

But I take a lot of his learnings and try to figure out how to apply it. And then, Gary Vaynerchuk, you know, just from an entrepreneurship perspective and organic growth and thinking differently and outside the box. I consume a lot of his content as well. And I read articles, I read Harvard Business Reviews, I read scientific journals cause I want to understand the holistic components of the business and, and how, you know, certain changes will, will impact there.

Sara Payne [00:37:04]:

Great. Well, this has been really fun, Brian. Thanks for doing this with me today. How can listeners get in touch with you?

Brian Jones [00:37:09]:

You can email me brjones@avisis.com. You can find me on LinkedIn. There's probably a 1,000 Brian Jones, out there, but just search Brian Jones atavisus, and you can find me there. I also work with a couple other organizations out there. So you might see me representing a few organizations that I work with, like Team Smile, and a few others that are, are focused on holistic missions, related to to serving underserved population. So that's how you can find me.

Sara Payne [00:37:36]:

That's fantastic. Thank you so much.

Brian Jones [00:37:39]:

Thank you.

Sara Payne [00:37:39]:

Well, as we wrap up today's insightful episode, remember, the true power of marketing lies not just in the stories that we tell, but in the authentic actions we take and the real world changes that we inspire. Thank you for joining us. If you're feeling inspired, do us a favor and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for being part of the Health Marketing Collective, where strong leadership meets marketing excellence, because the future of health care depends on it. We'll see you next time.

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