Airfoil Group launches digital arm

The sister shop, Airfoil Digital, is led by Jon Pielak.

Jon Pielak
Jon Pielak

ROYAL OAK, MI: Airfoil Group has launched a sister agency called Airfoil Digital.

Officially launching on Thursday and based in Royal Oak, Michigan, the shop is focused on customer experience, user experience, and demand generation platforms. Other specialties include content marketing, digital strategy, insights, and social.

Airfoil Digital is led by Jon Pielak, who serves as president. The firm also has two other full-time employees, incluidng Mike Feuti, insights director, and a head of demand generation. Part-time staffers from Airfoil Group have also been brought on to "stand up" Airfoil Digital.

Airfoil Digital will act as a standalone agency. However, it will share office space with Airfoil Group, which will help facilitate cross-selling and cross-servicing. Pielak added Airfoil Digital was ahead of schedule in terms of staffing and revenue.

"Existing clients were asking for deeper competencies across the board, for more integrated services," Pielak said.

Airfoil Group has been shifting its strategy from a focus on PR to marketing over the past few years. This latest push is part of a three-year plan Pielak created that positions Airfoil Digital "much deeper in the sales funnel," while the comms-focused Airfoil Group sits at the top.

"Airfoil Group can capture the entire sales funnel," Pielak said.

"We [in PR] tend to be writers," said Airfoil Group CEO and president Lisa Vallee-Smith. "[Pielak] and digital tend to be visual-oriented and UX-oriented. On comms, we tend to be retained, while digital is more project and campaign-driven."

Vallee-Smith added Airfoil Group has contracted Pielak in the past for various projects, including its three-year development plan, which the company plans to complete by 2020. When Pielak recommended Airfoil Group create a digital arm, Vallee-Smith thought he’d be the right candidate to lead the division. He was hired in March.

"Fundamentally, we’re looking to do some things structurally and organizationally to move from what has been an account-driven model to a services delivery model," Vallee-Smith said. "We’re in the early stages of working through that."

Now, Airfoil Digital is focused on reaching out to and expanding their services to clients, with whom they have a "successful relationship." Launch clients include two financial services companies and one real estate business.

Pielak most recently ran a sole proprietorship called Empathic, a digital strategy advisory firm. Prior to that, he was partner and EVP of software company Mutual Mobile; a VP of UX at payment company North American Bancard; MD at software company Vectorform; and a senior associate at accounting firm Plante Moran.

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