Who is Pixacore?

Our multi-industry experience solves for the omnichannel age

Pixacore is a digital-first agency that partners with a broad range of commercial, medical, MarTech, and corporate teams to deliver innovative thinking that is creative, strategically based, responsibly implemented, and results-oriented.

Leading with experience

We deliver impactful customer experiences (CX) at moments that matter.

Pixacore disrupts typical approaches to address the needs of HCPs and patients with diverse, insight-driven solutions. From the behavioral insights behind customer journeys to digital transformation, we put your customers’ experience at the center of every decision.

Note: MM+M uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting this content.

Larry I’ll give you a cue here. Mmm agency 100 Studio sessions pixel core. Okay, we’re rolling.

Hello, my name is Larry dobrow. I’m the Editor in Chief of mmm and I am ready for you to plug into this episode of the agency 100 Studio sessions a new podcast series, which gives members of the mmm agency 100 and opportunity to rip on what sets them apart.

Today we’re going to be talking with our friends at pixel core Rico ciprivaso. Who is the senior vice president digital strategy and Caroline Eastman the senior vice president and see ex strategy lead at the company.

Welcome, so glad to have you guys here today. Nice

to be here.

Thanks for having us

today. We are going to be talking about three digital prescriptions for better planning in 2023. And I think it’s a pretty fascinating topic especially since this is an area where so many other companies we’re seeing them struggle because of course quite good at it. But before we get going on to the main event, I’d like to ask the first question. It’s kind of the first question. I’ve asked in almost every interview for the last three years Rico Caroline, how are you how has pics of core? And you guys personally survived and dealt with everything that we’ve had to deal with over the last three years.


well question there, you know,


He’s thrown everyone for a loop. But fortunately in the strategy world, we don’t necessarily have to be face to face to do our work. So it’s actually worked to our advantage. We can lead our workshops digitally and we were able to kind of overcome most of the barriers. So with this few small tweaks, it was business as usual for the strategy work that we do at pick score.

What I can say on my part is it’s up to us being an organization to be as let’s just say

Both proactive and reactive at the same time. I think a lot of it has to do with the simple fact that yes, we can be anywhere.

At any time, but I think we still we still need to be accountable to one another and I I actually like that.

Simple fact that we can be accountable.

Do you both think that pics of course Legacy as a digital first firm help the agency, you know, a lot of other companies especially ones that were very used to, you know, congregating in a room and just hashing stuff out and that was the only way they knew how to work. I know those agencies tend to struggle a little bit in the early part of a covid. Yeah. I think we were

used to a lot of the digital tools and we had some in our Arsenal to immediately kind of jump in and try and we weren’t afraid to work with our clients to use like complex workshopping tools where they could vote and do things digitally as we’re running a work session. So what that helped us a lot. Yeah.

Yes. You can’t be in the room at the same time, but you can still be accountable to one another given communication channels.

Just because I’m in a different place. It doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t still answer your question.

Excellent point.

All right, let’s get right to the meat of our conversation. And this is a question for both of you. Why do you think that planning for Pharma needs that new RX? It’s a it’s a Hot Topic question. But yeah, I’m asking you nice and Broad stuff at start and we’ll start drilling down right?

I think with Pharma especially the planning process is really established. It’s it’s been merged into how they structure their corporation and it’s it’s hard to change and it certainly hasn’t changed to keep up with Digital Trends or new digital consumer perspectives, you know as both hcp and patients have changed over time. Everyone’s super digital these days and covid I think really showed this disparity. So we’re urging our clients to really think differently about how they how they plan and we’re about to go into planning season. So this is very relevant right now patience are so digitally influenced they use Netflix. They use Amazon. They use Starbucks. They’re used to getting what they want when they want it and it’s

Paper relevant to them if we don’t change the way we do planning which is often planning for a brand awareness message that the brand will push out you’re gonna start losing patients and you know https are consumers too a lot Rico touch that on that a little yeah

we go. Let’s hear from the consumer set when you say consumer. It’s really both the doctor in the patient.

It’s just their means of how the expectations of content delivery the expectations how they learn the expectations of what they would derive from any piece of content or information that’s available or it’s out there. They’re both human beings and again back to the planning process. The challenge there is to remind that internal group that there are outside Trends or outside elements for doctors doctors do not want to have the conversations. The practice team is a bigger part of the equation now more than ever. It’s the it’s the full Reliance on a full practice team to make that and just knowing all of that from the point of just not even just about knowing about all of the available drug.

But doing all of the things necessary after your prescription.

Is also required and again means of delivery means of of means of of content delivery means of say how to integrate how to make how do I make sure that the business actually makes sense? All those things concurrently are happening.

Need to be a constant part.

Rico you mentioned over the course of that answer that sometimes you had to you know, kind of you know slow things down and remind potential clients like all right, you know, this is what we have to keep in mind at all at all parts of the process. How are those reminders taken? Is it like? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Gosh, I forgot about it or is it you know someone about like well we have been doing this. Is there ever any defensiveness on the client side?

I don’t


Think the word defense defensiveness is appropriate. I think I want to give our clients as much do as possible.

Yes. Yes.

They have a full understanding of the business.

practice as they currently are

everybody thinks it okay new a new piece of technology would get implemented in it. Let’s say a very short amount of time.

And not like a hockey stick as to what we’ve seen with Jeff GPT and all those.

Things and we just need to kind of reinforce the possibility that number one.

Your targets are already doing whatever we’re recommending. So it’s not a

dramatic Behavior change first and foremost

nothing the CX process puts us in a position to remind them of that and then secondarily that it’s believe it or not a safe bet.

By doing so and again the CX process puts us in a situation where we remind our clients that it’s a safe bet.

Not a bit per se.

So that they defensive this gets removed and it’s still based primarily on why you need to be there when they need you.

All right, so that end, let’s get to our prescriptions.

What do you recommend as the first prescription to fix the planning process? I know that one of the things that you want to touch on a little bit was giving more weight to and including CX in the planning process. Which Rico you just touched on a little

yeah, I’m gonna jump in. I think that that is like key to updating the planning process and really getting at patients and delivering digitally to where they are now and delivering on those expectations those high expectations. They have of Pharma so moving to customer centricity understanding the journey that customer goes through understanding when and where your brand

Has to meet the customer what their needs are at the key moments, but you know, you still have to work and plan for some share of voice. It’s important. We we need that but you need to supplement your planning with other tactics that really get at the heart of the pain points the needs of your customers. If your brand can figure out what are the key moments in the customer Journey that you have to win at in order to achieve your business goals and you can plan around them. You’re gonna be in a better position today than just going through planning process that determines what kinds of brand awareness messaging is going in Market.

and really integrating CX in there is really about not just

talk about the brand but like the creating a presence of the brand. So how do you bring your brand to life when you’re when you’re dealing with your different customers whether it be patients or or hcps and I think Rico probably has a lot to say on the hcp


And again, it’s back to what I was talking about earlier about the safe bet when when Carolyn talks about the specific place to succeed.

That extra work that little bit of an extra work in focus and it’s not necessarily as dramatic as one would think.

But puts everybody in a situation and an appropriate position to think about.

Okay, I have I have my share of voice taken care of.

But I still need to make sure that I would still address whatever my

Needs are may that be is a physician or as a patient.

the time and the right time

Again, I’m I’m the data geek in the organization. So I end up a boring the living, you know, what’s out of people about

To fix up the criteria for data, but it’s the means to get to.

Why you need to do this in the first place? Because I need to deliver that presence of the brand the real essence of that brand at the right time.

And now when we put all those two things together.

Especially on hcp again when I talked about it in the context of the support for the practitioner support for the practice staff.

the more that the organization prepares for all of those eventualities

the better off they are two organizations have that forethought.

I think that they’re starting to some of our clients are starting to ask us and think about it and we’ll bring it to the table with them whether they’re able to integrate it into their brand planning process at this point in time. That’s where the rubber it’s the road. Yeah,


We often have to encourage them to do it, but they’re really are starting to think about it, which is a good sign it just they they need to catch up with the rest of the world at this point in time.

Right? Let’s talk about our second prescription doing a full competitive landscape and looking at the whole competitive ecosystem and all the Dynamics that come with it.

Yeah, I think it’s really important for our clients to really understand their competitors beyond what channel they’re in or how much money they’re spending in a channel.

It’s more important to understand. What are they doing in the channel? What content are they putting out there? What customer problems are they solving for with their different Channel activations? You know, how are they marketing to the patient or the HTTP? What is the strategy? Because if you could decode all of that you’re able to understand what is the true white space that you can play in and I’ll give you an example a lot of Brands play in the social Channel and if you just said check my competitors are all playing in the social channel. That doesn’t give you much intelligence you want it took it a step further. And you said okay. Well, you know two of my competitors are just doing paid social media advertising.

But nobody’s looking or working with influencers. Nobody has put their nurse their nurse practitioners online to answer questions. You open up the opportunities where your brand can win?

So it’s really important that you look at the holy ecosystem and you understand what what is going on

the content itself Caroline. Is it up to Snuff? What are some of the things that you see that are being done? Well in that regard and what are some of the things that are maybe a bit lacking?

I think I’m in general and I’m gonna pick on the social Channel again.

We always do right.

I think that Pharma hasn’t gotten there yet with really understanding the social Channel and how to advertise in it. And yes, we are regulated. And yes, there are certain things that we need to do, but just the formats of the ads and how we’re trying to talk to people in the social Channel. There’s a long way to go there to be really super relevant and to work really really well,

right and

if I may just interject quickly just I again I’m not you’re not social as well. But given that the use of social is primarily because oh, yeah, I can find the doctor. Yeah, they’re people too. They’re on social we can find them there too.

But again, it all goes back to the simple fact that uses putting a message right in front of them without full consideration of what you need to tell them at that time again back to the point of share of voice. That’s perfectly fine. But again,

To with Caroline was talking about in the context of the competitive the competitive landscape.

If every single one of your let’s just say competitors.

Are there and you’re talking about the same exact thing? You don’t point out your differentiation.

Then why are you there?

Does anybody ever push back against that in the sense of all right, you know, we don’t want to give too much away. We want to you know, keep something a little bit of a secret or is that you know largely, you know largely a theoretical concern.

For the ATP side. It’s a it’s I don’t know if it’s a secret per


because again you it’s Facebook. You can see your competitors ads. It’s it’s plain. It’s right there. Yeah.

And it’s not like it’s hidden. But again, everybody just thinks of it as oh it’s there. Okay, I checked off the box. So what Caroline talked about earlier, but instead of reviewing the check off the Box you now have to take a look at all the real reasons why you’re on social is it because a you can actually Target the physician

And you could actually identify the pattern of said physician and you can now identify your strength through weakness against that exact physician. So then you could go create relevant messages reset physician and still be relevant in the context of your

brand, yeah, I’m gonna I’m gonna attack on to what Rico’s just saying about targeting and I’ll stop picking on the social channel for

a moment media a new a new villain a new villain

when you go

The the way that media plans are constructed obviously a lot of them have to go after reach. However, there should be some money set aside to really go after and using more data Centric formats like retargeting that we have today. And if you can do that, you might be able to outmaneuver your competitors. If you if you know what they’re doing retargeting using data based on content consumption of somewhere else in the Digital Universe and then being able to retarget we’ll get you more return than you’re gonna get on Just just using share of voice. So combining the two is like a Holy Grail but a lot of people don’t think about it. So understanding the competitive landscape and that white Space is really really important

and just a quick add-on to what Carolyn was talking about. I think what I love these days in terms of what I’m seeing on patient targeting I was really twofold is one that the ability of the media landscape to find those patients have been better and better.

Better year after year Larry. We were fortunate to see you at the transform conference and that Jennifer conference talked about that.

And Trends are moving to that and I think again it’s back to the competitive landscape. I feel like I’m saying the thing a million times, but it’s back to just getting a full competitive understanding of that Universe puts us into position to be smarter about patient identification.

And the second part is the accountability of those partners because partners are saying okay you we can now help you in identifying which portion of those

Obviously within HIPAA compliance are actually truly the intended people that you’re going after.

So to Carolyn’s Point you’re reach elements are stronger and now and and any of the sovs are still stronger and then the ability to just do that little extra.

To make that happen to get them to think about more consideration elements.

are stronger

All right. Let’s go to our third prescription Caroline. Why don’t you lead us into this one?

Sure, I think our third prescription is really about removing the sideload work between patient and hcp in the brand planning process often times in brand planning. There’s business goals and objectives for hcps, there’s business and goals and objectives for patients. Then the teams go off and they plan tactics for each but they never consider the intersections between the two and as we know like the doctor and the patient have to work together in order to write get a script written in order for the farmer brand to win. We really recommend taking the planning process beyond that site a little approach and really considering the intersection points. We work with our clients a lot to Overlay the two Journeys with each other to understand where the patients and the doctors are meeting with each other and to understand the opportunities to drive a better dialogue at that moment to satisfy needs on both sides and also to drive brand consideration.

Being able to bring that into your planning process would be Stellar because we all know that the planning process dictates what the budget is from here. So it’ll be hard to do that after the fact so bringing it in up front and not planning in a silo could really really help.

I’d love it when Carolyn talks about that intersection because the Crux of a lot of smart work coming from coming from her team and coming from kind of the work that we do with her team primarily is is the full understanding that that intersection is not necessarily a quote patient tactic nor an hcp tactic.

It’s again.

Frankly levels up to the relevant business tactic of early early patient identification early are appropriate RX or longer duration, etc, etc. And those intersection points if understood promptly and properly

Is terrific Foundation?

For for information delivery because it is done at the most important part of whatever Journeys that they’re all facing. It’s the simple fact that okay. I have to make a decision or already made this decision and I have to communicate it to the patient.

I need information so that I can provide the patient with all of the the important elements. She would need to move forward.

And I as a doctor need that and it need to have that delivered. That’s a terrific opportunity for an intersection point and and a lot of the work that we’re trying to convince. Our clients to think about is that it’s never just a patient or a an hcp tactic.

It is a very business driven tactic.

to make that happen and

We’re getting some decent Headway in kind of our post planning Communications or post planning conversations. But to what Carolyn was talking about the earlier the week I talk about it and the planning process.

The better off the implementation becomes because the the accountability is really the both sides of the equation.

And the more it could be discussed in planning the better off. We are in the context of definitions of success Etc.

All right, here’s a question. It’s kind of the it’s kind of the crystal ball question. But what’s next when your pixel core has these conversations how will you know when clients kind of start a you know, I shouldn’t say clients because if they’re working with you they do get it but maybe perspective clients ones who are a little bit more. Wary. How will you know when they get it? How will you know that? Okay. This is something which is becoming

I mean, is it a philosophical mind shift that’s needed or is it a matter of just okay. This is what works and having a lot of use cases and being able to prove it.

Talking to clients from who work on the patient side. I think it’s a combination of both.

A lot of marketers that work on the patient side have worked out of Pharma or they’ve been watching the trends. So they know that there’s something there where they have to start shifting what they do. They have to become more digital and they have to Target better in order to reach people at a moment of need.

But it is a philosophical mind shift that they have to go through to get there when we talk to perspective clients sometimes in the middle of your talking you you kind of can read the room and see that they need education. So, you know, I’m more than happy to educate on kind of what what CX means what being customer-centric means how to like Target people a little bit better and why it matters to Target keep moments in the journey and I think that helps them get over the hump but we’re starting to see more traction there more and more and more and you know, like a lot of the conferences that you’ve been at and running are around the same topic. It’s we’re here. There’s a Tipping Point now and we have to move in that direction

and speak about it in the

They have both the field force and the commercial teams the commercial team side, and I think a lot of it is turning into the number one the nature of selling the nature of face-to-face selling has dramatically changed.

And so it’s not about the fact that they don’t get it. It’s what do I do next?

Is what I think are all of our clients are facing may that be existing clients or future clients to come?

And the what do I do next part is becoming again the way three one of the reasons why we introduce CX thinking introduce what Carolyn is is absolutely passionate about terrific is primarily because of the fact that okay, it’s it’s not about what’s next. It’s about what’s right.

And and what’s right for us regardless if there is an existing technology or a future technology.

Future Technologies to speak exactly what we’re talking about faster.

Right all the predictive means just make it faster for us to to move from one step to the next but still we still need to get an understanding of the journeys to get us there.

And and I think that alone could put make everyone comfortable in the simple fact that it’s not about. Oh, wow. I have to do these brand spanking new technology things to make it happen.

It’s about again taking a step back knowing why you’re doing this in the first place.

And getting a firm belief that number one I will get there.

But number two I will get there with the right tools.

All right.

All right, we’re gonna ask you guys one last question. And is Way Way Off Script but since this is the agency 100 studio session podcast, we got asked a little bit about music. What is the last song that both of you have listened to?

Go ahead Carolyn.

I don’t think this is his final question if we tell you about it beforehand, right? And I know

I went way way way back to my roots in the 90s and was listening to the Lemonheads.

All right, it’s a shame about Ray though. Great big. No. What do we what are we talking?

It’s a shame about Ray.

All right.

last night

that’s funny.

The terrific record really is.

How about you Rico?

So I am a huge fan of a band called Everything But the Girl.

They are a British Duo married couple been around forever since I think the early the mid eight early mid 80s.

I know what I love about them is they progress through through Trends and their Forward Thinking in terms of their scope with musicality. And right now they are doing let’s just say lack of a better term dance music and so they just put out a new album a few weeks ago called fuse. I was listening. I was listening to a song just on my way to this office today called Nothing Left to Lose and it’s it’s a it’s a it is not what the kids are listening to today.

But but it’s a but I don’t want to tell what I call it mature old people dance music right? So what I loved about it is again there a they’re abandoned as progressed through time and and I just love where they are today.

That’s where my my musical brain is, right?

Excellent choice is both of them. You know, we still haven’t gotten anybody that started bringing up like, you know, really really cheesy hair metal from the 1980s. So this is good. Don’t

get me started with that I can for you.

Okay, Rico, that’s our next podcast then okay there and like weighing in on like, you know, kicks and Winger.

Hey, hey don’t knock him. Don’t knock him Rico Caroline. You guys have been amazing.

Thank you so much for this. It was a heck of education, and then we got some good music talk at the end. So many thanks for your time.

Great great talking with you.

Thanks very much for having us

for the m Eminem Studio sessions podcast. I’m Larry dobrow many. Thanks for listening and be well.