Jocoto has been racking up strong gains since making it through a challenging 2009 and 2010. With its roots solidly in the device and diagnostic space, the Oakland, CA, shop has seen material growth in the field of both genetic science and personalized medicine. The agency reports 25% growth in 2011 and it is expecting to have similar returns for this year.

Steve Coldiron, Jocoto’s principal, cites picking up work from Myriad Laboratories, located in Salt Lake City, and several other new business opportunities as the foundation of its recent success.  “Myriad did a nationwide search and we went through many rounds of cuts. That was, for us, the biggest win of last year. It’s a big company with a lot of potential to move forward.”

As the device and diagnostic sector broadens into genetic science, Jocoto finds itself well-positioned. Coldiron explains: “When you use to say diagnostic, it was blood-related products, for cholesterol or plaque. Now the breakthrough technology is in genetic. That’s a big change from five years ago. And with devices, everything used to be cardiovascular. Surgical devices, too, have really expanded into other forms of treatment.”


And as the content shifts in the device and diagnostic space, there are also shifts in the channels of engagement—namely digital, which comes with a set of challenges all its own. “For many of our clients, their interest in digital is spawned by the fact that they believe it’s inexpensive. They’re thinking about it the wrong way, and it is isn’t cheap if it’s done correctly,” Coldiron asserts. “For it to be effective, digital needs to be constantly evolving. It needs to be living and change all the time. New media channels are not effective if they just sit there.”

For Jocoto, some of the difficulty has been in making the decision as to whether or not it should integrate digital and social modes into campaigns for their clients, especially in the face of the current murky regulatory guidelines. Coldiron says, “Many of our clients are interested in leveraging digital when it’s advantageous to do so. But if you’re selling a surgical device, you’re probably targeting a very specific audience and digital and particularly social media becomes much less appropriate for your goals.”

In February of this year, Jocoto relocated to a new office in Oakland. The agency has been increasing headcount in the past year, but much of it consisted of replacing positions which the agency shedded during tough economic times. “The office move was designed with healthy, steady growth in mind,” he notes. “We’ve added a couple of people in the last couple of months, and we hope that will continue. We lost people some people during the economic downturn. It’s about getting back to where we were and growing again.”

With 2012 and the future in mind, Jocoto hopes to expand beyond its small biotech roots into more mid- and large-size companies with numerous product offerings.  “We’re hoping to broaden our portfolio,” Coldiron says about the effort to diversify his company. “Our real focus now is adding a broader base of clients. That’s how we see future growth for this company. The charge for this and next year is to add larger clients with a multi-product portfolio.”

The agency also looks to make a push into DTC, he asserts: “We’re hoping for more opportunity to do DTC work. We’re looking to branch out more for our own clients currently, as well as into more DTC-driven work.”