The Virtual CMO Podcast

The Virtual CMO Podcast

Season 6, Episode 8

Hosted By: Eric Dickmann
With Guest: Colin Jeffries

Our Featured Guest

Colin Jeffries

Marketing & Communications Director -BrightVIew

Colin is an entrepreneur, podcast host, and Marketing & Communications Director at BrightView. 


He has over a decade of experience helping organizations reach the right audiences at the right time with messages that galvanize the best prospects to action. Jeffries’ background in digital marketing, content marketing, advertising, branding, strategy, and segmentation help him bring a holistic perspective to help organizations grow. Colin has honed his skills by serving in a wide array of industries, including SaaS, financial services, hospitality, home improvement, consulting, and life sciences. In addition to serving a broad range of healthcare practices and providers, Colin is a pioneer in direct-to-patient marketing for addiction recovery. He was one of Venue Magazine's 40 Under 40 and is a sought after speaker on the topic of behavioral health marketing.


Colin currently co-hosts The Rethink Marketing Podcast, leads marketing initiatives for BrightView (a comprehensive outpatient addiction treatment health system), and serves in advisory roles for several growing companies. 

What's Hot?

"A quick hitting, punchy conversation around all things marketing and sales."

Take 5 Rethink Marketing Podcast  is hosted by Colin Jeffries and Eric Reed.  In this podcast, Colin and Eric tackle topics about advertising, branding strategy, business growth, tactical execution, and more. 

They are joined by industry experts with insider, influencer, or celebrity status. This is where they take a step outside the echo chamber to RETHINK & REAPPLY everyday assumptions around marketing, sales, and business.


Rethink Marketing Podcast

Colin jeffries

If you have a showroom, if you have a lobby, if anything of that nature, you can sit across from people who are your customers, and talk to them about their media consumption habits, about how they know about your business, about why they are or are not leaving reviews for your business."

What We Discussed with Colin

On this episode, host Eric Dickmann interviews Colin Jeffries about building a marketing strategy to reach an unreachable audience. Here are some highlights of our conversation:

  • [00:02:24] The biggest challenges in the for-profit and non-profit sectors- Many people think that for-profit and non-profit organizations differ a lot from return on invested capital, return on ad spend, and things of that nature, but in reality, the difference between both is just the tax status. Though both sectors are trying to reach their target segment, the non-profit marketing teams are mainly focused on grants. Despite these slight differences, the important things about marketing, which are the fundamentals: having a clear message, having a clear audience, making sure that you're testing and you're optimizing your messaging, are all very similar across both for-profit and not-for-profit
  • [00:04:09] Busting the myth about the non-profit sector-  Some believe that the non-profit sector doesn't spend a lot on marketing and advertising. But in fact, they have to do a lot of marketing and apply extra effort to raise awareness, reach their target audience, pull in clients, and get that grant money. Colin also adds that the myth that non-profit organizations are not advanced or cutting edge is not true. They need to achieve positive results from their marketing activities too.
  • [00:05:15] How do you reach an unreachable audience?- There's a joke in marketing that everyone wants to reach a suburban housewife. According to Colin, in his experience at BrightView, it is hard to reach patients and help them with recovery since not many are active on social media or even have the means to get online. The majority of BrightView's patients are unemployed, housing insecure, or financially incapacitated, so it is a real struggle to find effective means to communicate with them and get them the help they need. Colin has done a lot of testing, trial and error, and research to collect data on what marketing strategies work best. It turned out that hosting surveys and getting real-time responses from the people in their target audience was the most effective way to approach this group. Jeffries further adds that the fascinating thing is when somebody struggles with addiction, they're so used to being written off and stigmatized that they often feel no one cares about their opinion. It was refreshing to have them open their eyes and say- It's so exciting that you value my opinion and you value my insight, I would love to provide that to you.
  • [00:11:08] Developing IRL- Colin shares that one of the best things about IRL or real-life relationships is that they don't spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in setting up an offsite focus groups. Building real-time relationships with your target audience is as simple as if you have a lobby, a waiting room, or a website, you can interact with real people and capture their feedback. Take note that IRL is not only meant for non-profit organizations;  it applies to all businesses.
  • [00:12:49] How BrightView developed their digital marketing strategy- Colin and his team started small. Being a proponent of testing and scaling, he invested in SEO, SEM, and Facebook ads. Later on, BrightView's digital marketing journey, Colin realized that YouTube content was consumed by folks in active addiction. Because of this discovery, they developed some spots and started running some highly targeted pre-roll ads on YouTube. It later turned out that direct mail was surprisingly effective in reaching out to their target clients. 
  • [00:16:10] Effectively creating content in your online channels- According to Colin, If you're not a content factory, you're missing the boat. Businesses need to put their foot on the gas and create relevant content that appeals to their web visitors and customers. Colin emphasizes the need for video content in 2021 since not having it is the equivalent of not having an SEO strategy. In terms of content, Colins seeks to create content targeted at people who suffer from various addictions and families or friends of former addicts or recovering patients. Your content should be all about filling the reader's need for information via the format they are most comfortable with and closing the gap of any possible miscommunication. 
  • [00:19:27] How important is a backlink strategy in terms of driving traffic back to your site?- Colin emphasizes that backlinking is as essential to a great content marketing strategy. About six months ago, he and his team started researching some ways to build backlinks and got a recommendation of essentially forming a scholarship. After setting it up and sharing it, the method was able to build BrightView a lot of.edu backlinks. This is a pretty common practice among folks who are trying to gather high-quality backlinks. Backlink connections can help serve the next generation of customers and at the same time, help the current patient population. Colin states that going beyond local citations to intentionally building backlinks is crucial for your success online.
  • [00:22:26] Collecting and managing reviews- Businesses need to understand that not all customers are comfortable and enthusiastic enough to leave thoughts about their experience. According to Colin, gathering genuine reviews is challenging in a sensitive space like mental health and substance abuse. It's not like having a shoe shop where somebody comes in, receives the polish service, and rates the shop five stars. At BrightView, they use a net promoter score system that asks for straightforward feedback from their clients. Colin also points out that it is imperative for businesses to respond to this feedback and deal with problems as soon as possible. 
  • [00:31:36] What is Collin looking forward to?- Colin is looking forward to many new projects in the future. He mentioned that the team has collaborated with a TikTok star who has extremely infectious videos to widen their reach in California. Influencer marketing has a bad reputation but used correctly with the right influencers, can have a significant impact on your marketing efforts.

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Eric Dickmann

About the author

Eric Dickmann is the Founder / CMO of The Five Echelon Group, host of the weekly podcast "The Virtual CMO" and YouTube series "Work-Life" and a fractional CMO for a variety of small and midsize companies. An executive leader with over 30 years of experience in marketing, product development, and digital transformation, he has worked with large, global companies and small startups to develop and execute marketing strategies to bring innovative products to the market.

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