Joshua Scott – Your Story Is Worth It

The dental industry, like many others, has undergone a significant transformation, with patient experience and emotional connection playing a crucial role in building a thriving practice. This is where a new breed of marketing agencies is emerging, specializing in a powerful tool: the dental practice’s unique story.

At the forefront of this storytelling movement is Studio EightyEight, led by CEO Joshua Scott. This dental marketing agency prioritizes crafting personalized narratives that resonate with patients, ensuring dentists not only understand their marketing strategies but also feel confident about their investment.

Under his leadership, the agency has helped countless dental practices achieve remarkable growth by fostering deeper patient connections through the power of storytelling. We, at EliteX, are honored to introduce Joshua Scott as one of the 20 Elite CEOs in 2024. Let’s delve into the story behind Scott’s success with Studio EightyEight.

Studio EightyEight: Dentistry Deserves a Better Story

Studio EightyEight isn’t an average dental marketing agency. They believe dentistry deserves more than generic advertising and stock photos. Their mission is to capture the heart of your practice through powerful storytelling.

By understanding your unique vision and values, they craft personalized narratives that resonate with patients on an emotional level. This approach goes beyond traditional marketing, fostering genuine connections and building trust.

The company prioritizes transparency and empowers dentists throughout the marketing process. Their team of architects and creatives doesn’t just create marketing materials; they build lasting partnerships. From website design and video production to content creation and strategic planning, Studio EightyEight equips dental practices with the tools they need to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

An Unexpected Path to Passion

Joshua Scott’s 22-year career in dentistry wasn’t a predetermined course. A chance encounter, starting as an office manager at a practice management firm through a family friend, sparked a deeper interest. As he climbed the ladder, becoming the firm’s CE Director and finally Marketing Director, his passion for marketing within the dental industry solidified.

This passion translated into action. Scott’s boss recognized his talent and gave him opportunities to present marketing strategies at conferences. He then took it a step further, personally consulting with struggling dental practices. By crafting customized plans – “Here’s what I would do” – Scott directly helped practices improve their marketing efforts.

Scott says, “The clients loved it.  They would say, “Great!  Who can execute this plan?”  At the time, I would refer them to all the agencies, but I quickly realized there were two major problems in the dental marketing space.”

Scott observed two major issues plaguing dental marketing. Firstly, the creative execution was often lackluster. Stock photos, templated websites, and keyword-stuffed content failed to resonate with patients. These generic approaches simply didn’t connect. Secondly, customer service was equally concerning. Dentists faced long wait times for website changes, often receiving revisions that fell short of expectations. This resulted in a frustrating experience for dental practices.

The Key to Elite Leadership

Elite CEOs, according to Scott, share a crucial trait: visionary leadership. They possess the ability to anticipate future trends and navigate their teams toward that vision. “It’s like seeing the future,” Scott explains.

He himself experiences moments of exceptional clarity, where he envisions the future of Studio EightyEight for the next year, three years, and even five years. “It’s not an exact science,” he admits, “but I can get a clear picture of what’s to come. This foresight significantly impacts my decision-making process. I’m not just reacting to the present; I’m making choices that propel us towards that envisioned future.”

Scott acknowledges that visionary leadership might sound abstract, but he firmly believes it’s a skill that can be honed. A core element of this skill is strategic forecasting. This extends beyond just predicting sales and revenue.

It’s about anticipating future needs, such as staffing requirements, resource allocation, and maintaining momentum. By mastering these forecasting techniques, Scott can make strategic decisions that position Studio EightyEight for continued success in the ever-evolving dental marketing landscape.

Pioneering Dental Marketing Education

“I knew that the dental marketing space needed education.”

Traditional approaches to dental marketing often felt shrouded in secrecy, with agencies offering vague promises that left dentists feeling powerless. Scott recognized a critical need for education. He saw a different path – one built on transparency and empowerment.

In 2014, he launched Studio EightyEight. A key component was “The 8E8 Show,” the first video podcast dedicated to dental marketing. This innovative approach allowed Scott and his team to achieve two goals simultaneously.

First, it educated dentists on effective marketing strategies, breaking down the magic box mentality. Second, it served as a showcase for Studio EightyEight’s own expertise in areas like branding, video production, and creative storytelling.

Sparkling Innovation: The Spotlight Initiative

Studio EightyEight understands the importance of staying ahead of the curve in the competitive marketing landscape. To achieve this, they’ve established a unique initiative called “Spotlight” projects. These projects are specifically chosen for their high creative potential, either due to the project’s inherent uniqueness or a client’s desire to push boundaries.

This approach serves a dual purpose. “Spotlight” projects serve as a creative playground for Studio EightyEight’s team, allowing them to experiment and showcase their full creative potential. However, the benefits extend beyond mere creative exploration. These innovative projects also have a ripple effect, elevating the overall quality and standard of work delivered across all Studio EightyEight’s endeavors.

Scott explains, “We’ll launch a “Spotlight” website one month and within the next couple of months, you’ll see other websites getting launched with pieces of that “Spotlight” project worked in.  It raises everyone’s creative game and allows us to keep setting the pace.”

Resilience in the Face of Challenges

COVID-19 presented the biggest challenge Scott had faced in his decade running Studio EightyEight. The unprecedented situation, with entire dental practices forced to shut down, created a wave of uncertainty.

Scott and his team made crucial decisions during this period. Firstly, they opted to forgo furloughs, recognizing that ongoing projects required continued work. Disbanding the team would have halted both projects and revenue. Scott placed a strategic bet – that practice owners, facing unexpected downtime, would actually prioritize marketing efforts. After all, for many, it was the first opportunity to focus on the business side of their practice.

The second key decision involved consistent content creation. While initial content offered generic support messages, Studio EightyEight quickly pivoted. They launched a daily Facebook Live podcast featuring interviews with industry thought leaders, influencers, educators, and consultants.

This platform allowed Scott to share insights, explore coping mechanisms for practices navigating the shutdown, and offer strategies for moving forward. In essence, Studio EightyEight became a guiding light during a period of immense uncertainty.

Building the Dream Team

Leadership has always been a natural fit for Scott. However, his journey has revealed a distinct preference – building and leading teams. He describes it as solving a puzzle – finding the right talent and fostering an environment where they can excel. His passion especially lies in empowering creative minds.

“I believe what sets us apart is our commitment to fostering a safe and nurturing environment for creatives,” Scott explains. “This allows them to push boundaries and produce their best work.”

This focus on fostering creativity within the dental marketing space stands out. Many agencies, Scott observes, often struggle to attract top creative talent due to misconceptions about the industry. “They come in for interviews asking, ‘So all you do is dental marketing?’”

He emphasizes that Studio EightyEight doesn’t lower creative standards; instead, they elevate the dental profession through powerful storytelling and innovative marketing strategies.

The ultimate reward for Scott is witnessing their creatives produce some of their best work within the company. It is a testament to the success of Scott’s team-building philosophy and focus on fostering a thriving creative space within the dental marketing industry.

Cultivating a Positive Force

At Studio EightyEight, positivity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a core value woven into the company culture. They understand the detrimental effects of negativity in the workplace. As Scott puts it, “We’ve all experienced organizations where negativity runs rampant. It quickly spreads throughout the whole team and everyone feels it.”

To combat this, Studio EightyEight fosters a culture of proactive positivity. It’s not about faking happiness, but rather a commitment to showing up for your colleagues as the best version of yourself each day.

This means prioritizing the needs of the team, clients, and the company as a whole, even when facing personal challenges. This focus on collective well-being creates a supportive and uplifting environment, fostering collaboration and innovation.

Fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DE&I) work environment is another core value for the company. This commitment starts at the top, with Scott leading by example. Team members see a clear message of support for DE&I initiatives from both Scott and the leadership team.

He says, “Diversity, equality, and inclusion are all huge values of ours.  From our recruiting and hiring processes to continuing education and promotion, we’ve tried to build an environment where there’s professional safety that allows team members to be heard.”

Leadership Through Uncertainty

Scott readily acknowledges the setbacks encountered, both personally and for the company. However, he emphasizes the critical role of his team, “I have a super-talented team around me. To be honest, that’s the majority of it. If I was alone, this would be infinitely harder. It’s reassuring to know I can lean on my team and everything doesn’t fall on my shoulders.”

He understands the inevitability of challenges, both past and present. “Not everything goes according to plan,” he admits. “We’ve faced obstacles before, and we’ve always found solutions. We’ll figure this one out too.” This statement encapsulates Scott’s leadership style – one built on strategic thinking, resilience, and an unwavering belief in the power of teamwork.

Finding Balance in a Busy World

Despite his demanding schedule, Scott maintains a healthy work-life balance. Exercise plays a vital role in his routine. He’s a dedicated member of a CrossFit community, attending a class three to four times a week. This commitment serves a dual purpose. It provides a clear endpoint to his workday, allowing him to mentally shift gears before heading home.

Scott is also an avid reader, going through 30-40 books annually. His bookshelf boasts a constant “up next” pile, with a focus on business literature. He admits, “Honestly, the majority are business books.  I can’t help it.  I’m a student of the space. I love being a CEO, but I also love reading about other CEOs. Right now, my stack looks like it could be for a CEO curriculum track.”

Maintaining strong social connections is another key aspect of Scott’s work-life balance. He acknowledges a past tendency to neglect friendships due to the demands of his role. “One day you wake up and realize you haven’t seen your close friends all year,” he reflects. This realization prompted a proactive approach.

He now schedules quarterly reminders to connect with his closest companions, aiming for three to four visits per year. While life inevitably throws curveballs, this intentional scheduling ensures that cherished friendships remain nurtured.

At the end of the day, coming home to his best friend – his wife of 27 years and two teenage children is the why behind it all. “They are my reasons.”

A Lifelong Learner: Leading by Example

Scott identifies continuous learning as his top priority as a leader. He recognizes a recurring challenge for founders: reaching a point where their skillset limits the company’s growth. Determined to avoid this pitfall, Scott has a structured annual plan for personal and professional development.

“I’m a student, so I’m constantly consuming resources.  Whether it’s my stack of books at home, getting real-life experience as a fractional CMO, listening to the top podcasts in the profession, or networking with other influential leaders.  I’m immersed in the space!”

Despite having a dedicated financial team, Scott identified a knowledge gap in this area. He recognized how this limited his ability to have informed conversations and make strategic decisions. Hence, he recently enrolled in an accounting course. By proactively addressing this gap, Scott adds another valuable tool to his leadership belt.

Evolving Landscape of Dentistry

The dental industry is undergoing a significant shift, with a growing trend of consolidation into large group practices backed by private equity and other investments. Currently, group practices represent an estimated 20% of the market, and this number is steadily climbing. While the future pace of this consolidation remains uncertain, Scott identifies adapting to serve this evolving landscape as a key challenge.

His experience as a fractional CMO for some of these group practices provides invaluable first-hand insights. In this role, Scott collaborates with executive teams to design and implement growth strategies. He expresses his deep respect for these organizations and their contributions to the industry, viewing his involvement as an honor.

Looking towards the future, Scott radiates excitement about Studio EightyEight’s upcoming milestones. He acknowledges that these achievements surpass what he envisioned ten years ago. The company is poised to welcome exceptional new team members, embark on impactful projects representing their best work yet, and witness the growth of future leaders within the team.

He adds, “We’re also figuring out what our future headquarters will look like.  In some ways, that will signify a new chapter for the company. Above all that, just staying passionate about the people we serve.  Dentistry is a beautiful profession of humans serving humans.  We set out to tell that story and we’ll continue to bring that story to life.”

Enduring Success: A Long-Term Game

Scott emphasizes two key ingredients for success: continuous learning and a long-term mindset. His over 20 years in the dental industry have equipped him with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and valuable relationships – all crucial building blocks for his leadership.

Many entrepreneurs fall prey to short-termism, setting unrealistic goals within narrow timeframes. From the outset, Scott envisioned Studio EightyEight as a long-term commitment, not a quick-flip operation. His focus wasn’t on achieving rapid eight-figure growth followed by an exit strategy. Instead, he aimed to create a company where he could see himself building a lasting career.

The company’s recent growth has given comments like “You guys are everywhere!” While Scott appreciates these compliments, he also offers a humorous internal perspective: “It only took ten years to be everywhere!”

This lighthearted reflection underscores the importance of perseverance and long-term vision. Studio EightyEight’s current success is a testament to Scott’s dedication and commitment to the long game, echoing the adage “it takes ten years to become an overnight success.”

Scott’s Mantra

A mentor of mine once told me, “Trust yourself… because I do.”  When I realized the lens he saw me through and the confidence he had in me, I questioned why I didn’t have the same confidence in myself. 

We allow that voice of resistance to shape too much of what we think.  It plays a bigger role than we think. 

So now I tell my team the same thing, “Trust yourself… because I do.”

For more information about Studio EightyEight, visit