Airfoil: Agency Business Report 2010

Tyler says Q1 this year is much improved over 2009, noting that revenue was still declining month over month last March.

Principals: Lisa Vallee-Smith, CEO and Janet Tyler, president
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Southfield, MI; Mountain View, CA

Staff
Headcount dropped by six to 47 last year. It's currently at 51. Staff turnover was 27% (down from 2008). Three positions (junior- and mid-level) were eliminated after business from major accounts, including Microsoft, slowed heading into 2009.

Practice areas
Practice areas include enterprise tech (53%), consumer tech (22%), clean tech and industrial (13%), and healthcare and professional services (12%). Clean tech is new. Enterprise and consumer tech grew most. Healthcare and industrial accounts slowed. 

Accounts
By July, Microsoft awarded new national work. President Janet Tyler says a focus on adding value to existing business boosted the client retention rate to 83%. Geeknet, Metafile, and MarketTools joined the agency's roster. Tyler reports "very few losses - nothing significant." 

Financial performance
Revenue was down 16% to $6,338,629 with a 3% profit margin. Growing tech business drove Silicon Valley office revenue from $1 million to $1.3 million. The overall fee goal was readjusted around this time last year, and the agency met it.

Analysis
Tyler says Q1 this year is much improved over 2009, noting that revenue was still declining month over month last March. Things started to rebound in Q4, and she's projecting growth this year.

"We hope to get back to what we billed in 2008, maybe beyond," she says. Though the pipeline is filling and clean tech leads are increasing, Tyler says clients still feel trepidation. "They're investing in things they can measure, like digital," she says. "They're looking for results and sure bets."

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