ELITE Transformational Leader Robert Costa of Pfizer

Robert Costa

Director, Retail Strategy & Channel Management

Pfizer Inc.



The Surround Sound Marketer

Yes, Robert Costa has many great leadership qualities. He always takes a thoughtful and strategic approach to decision-making. He is data-driven and analytical—making sure to always pressure test for real insights before implementation. He is not afraid to try new things—not because they are “new and shiny,” but because they can be supported by actionable information. But what makes him a transformational leader? He successfully spearheaded a campaign never tried before at Pfizer.

While working on a smoking cessation medication, Robert successfully implemented a “surround sound” approach to marketing by using a multi-faceted communication platform in a retail pharmacy. The campaign placed information about the brand in five different store sections that were strategically selected, including cold/cough and oral care, which are sections that may be relevant for smokers; analgesics and vitamins for audience size; and OTC smoking cessation products. The goal: Encourage shoppers to quit smoking and to make them aware of a treatment option.

Robert also wasn’t one to rest on the success of the initial pilot. He took a close look at the data to truly understand the campaign’s potential impact and then acted quickly. Today, it can be easy to fall into “analysis paralysis” considering the data available to marketers. Decisions are constantly delayed and marketers convince themselves to go back to the tried and true methods instead of moving forward with something new. This didn’t happen in Robert’s case. He was able to quickly assess the results, choose a course of action, and ultimately expand the program.

“In addition to his business and leadership acumen, Robert is just a genuine good guy, highly respected by colleagues within Pfizer as well as by those of us in external-provider capacities,” says Michael Byrnes, VP of Sales and Business Development at Rx EDGE Pharmacy Networks. “He is a pleasure to work with and has managed to cultivate solid relationships with the people he works with, despite a very full plate of responsibilities.”


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