Airfoil: Agency Business Report 2009

The 2008 practice area restructure was part of an effort to align resources to meet the needs of clients in growth industries.

Outlook
The 2008 practice area restructure was part of an effort to align resources to meet the needs of clients in growth industries.

"With the restructure, [we hope] to live up to the value proposition of Airfoil's understanding of key vertical industries, knowing that a reason to select... and stay with a PR firm is that agency's deep understanding of the uniqueness of the client's particular industry," says Lisa Vallee-Smith, CEO at Airfoil.

She sees healthcare as a key market opportunity in 2009, adding that Airfoil will do more in public affairs. It also plans to build on its PR competency to offer clients a more marcomms-focused approach.

Staff
Headcount dropped by seven over 2007, with a 27% staff turnover rate. Sue Barnes was hired as GM of the California office; Leah Haran was promoted to VP of consumer tech; and Sharon Neumann was promoted to VP of finance and administration. Eric Kushner, SVP, and Laura Kelleher, VP of operations, both departed.

Practice areas
Airfoil moved from three practice areas in 2007 (b-to-b, b-to-c, and auto), to five in 2008: consumer tech, enterprise tech, green/industrial tech, healthcare tech, and Microsoft tech. The green and enterprise practices grew the most; Microsoft grew the least, but remains a key area.

Accounts
Key account wins included Imara and Mobitv. Account losses include TerraPass, Starbucks, and Clarizen. Of accounts, 95% are on a retainer, a slight drop from 2007.

Financial performance
2008 revenue was $7,534,354, up 4% over 2007 with a 7% profit margin. Airfoil did not achieve its goal of a 13% increase in revenue for 2008, but 16% of growth was organic, 84% due to new business.

Key facts
Principals: Lisa Vallee-Smith, CEO (pictured); Janet Tyler, president

Ownership: Independent

Offices: Two, Southfield, MI and Mountain View, CA

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