Alexi Venneri | Co-founder & CEO | Digital Air Strike
Digital Air Strike co-founder and CEO Alexi Venneri started her innovative company after her automotive advertising agency closed amid OEM bankruptcies and dealership shutdowns. During the Great Recession, Alexi knew that even though advertising budgets had been cut dramatically, dealerships and other businesses still needed to reach consumers — much like today.
Twelve years ago, social media was starting to be used in business-to-consumer communication. This was before business pages even existed on Facebook. Alexi knew social media was where consumers were spending their time and wanted to provide a low-cost way for businesses to attract consumers. Digital Air Strike was founded to help dealers monetize the low-cost reach, engagement, and social media opportunity, even before advertising on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
“I was always fascinated by entrepreneurs, and when I wrote my first book, I had been a successful executive but had not yet started my own company,” Alexi said. “It took the recession to force me to start my venture, and I found I loved creating a fantastic culture where everyone loved seeing their colleagues and enjoyed going to work.”
Today, Digital Air Strike has grown to over 150 employees with more than 7,700 businesses and automotive clients nationwide. As the leading customer engagement technology partner, the company has completed six mergers and acquisitions and expanded to provide a suite of consumer engagement technology and services. Business solutions include AI chat messaging, consumer text marketing, digital and streaming advertising, inventory merchandising, online reputation management, and video lead engagement.
Digital Air Strike is honored Alexi was chosen by Insights Success magazine as one of the ten most inspiring women leaders to follow in 2022. Alexi is the backbone of the company and the impetus behind Digital Air Strike’s growth to help businesses in 32 countries leverage technology to attract, convert, and retain more customers.
Alexi and the Digital Air Strike team strive to provide the best customer experience for clients. One of the company’s values is “Clients Win.” In the past year, Alexi has led the team to develop new technology, helped clients leverage it, and acquired two new companies: BestRide.com and LotVantage.
BestRide.com is an innovative automotive marketplace that allows consumers to search for millions of new and used cars online from car dealers across the United States. LotVantage is a digital inventory marketing software-as-a-service company that effectively enables auto, RV, marine, and powersports dealerships to merchandise their inventory through advanced targeting and data analytics.
In January, Digital Air Strike launched its LotVantage Partner Program. The expanded program enables dealerships and their marketing partners to merchandise inventory more effectively, deliver targeted messaging to consumers, and drive business results through increased vehicle sales and fixed operations service activities.
“For more than ten years, Digital Air Strike has provided our channel partners with innovative inventory merchandising and customer engagement technology,” Alexi said. “Through the launch of Digital Air Strike’s LotVantage Partner Program, we are combining the capabilities of Digital Air Strike and the acquisition of LotVantage to deliver a robust suite of solutions.”
In October, Digital Air Strike was recognized again for its digital marketing, reputation management, and social media management technology and services, picking up top honors in new customer experience technology categories: new vehicle leads, mobile media, and video messaging. DAS won a record six 2021 Dealers’ Choice Awards from Auto Dealer Today. The awards are incredibly gratifying since auto dealers, Digital Air Strike’s primary clientele, decide the winners.
“Think like an owner” is one of the company’s mottos. Alexi appreciates when employees take the initiative and offer suggestions to move the company forward. She started the WIT (Whatever It Takes) awards to encourage employees to nominate other team members who go above and beyond to help clients, co-workers, and the company. Eight WIT winners are chosen monthly to be recognized at the company meeting, win $250, and receive a trophy for their desk.
Alexi started the employee-led DASVentures group, which organizes fun, healthy activities every month for employees across the U.S. Recent activities have included a bowling outing, a step challenge (with the winning team logging in over 1 million steps), and the annual holiday party at a casino resort that included a Gin Blossoms concert. Digital Air Strike has an active private Facebook group the team regularly posts photos and updates in, and Alexi is a regular contributor.
Digital Air Strike has an unrivaled company culture that Alexi is behind. Another big perk for employees is the annual President’s Club trip, which every employee can either win or earn their way to attend the all-expenses-paid trip. The most recent trip was a 5-day vacation in London over New Year’s Eve. The team visited Stonehenge and Windsor Castle, enjoyed a double-decker afternoon tea bus tour through the city, and stayed in a beautiful castle resort in the English countryside.
Alexi has also established a culture of charity through its DASCares initiative organized by DASVentures. Giving back monthly to nonprofits in need are near and dear to what the company is all about. Digital Air Strike has given back to dozens of charities through hundreds of thousands of dollars financially and through in-kind donations, along with countless hours of employee volunteerism. Employees and support choose the charity’s causes meaningful to their backgrounds and families.
Alexi is also the mastermind behind Digital Air Strike offering flexible work schedules and monthly half days to provide volunteerism. Alexi is always available to support her team’s efforts, open her wallet to help, and ignite the spirit of volunteerism in employees.
“I’m most proud of being able to hire intelligent and driven team members first during the Great Recession and now to continue to hire and grow during a pandemic,” Alexi said. “We have the best people and technology, and everyone cares about our clients getting incredible results.”
Digital Air Strike helps businesses improve the consumer experience for customers through a free Mystery Shop and Intel Report. Request the free reports at digitalairstrike.com/mystery-shop and digitalairstrike.com/intel-report.
Originally appeared in Insights Success magazine.