50 Innovators of the Year 2021
While much of the country was shut down for more than a year during the COVID-19 pandemic and many businesses struggled or closed, consumer engagement technology company Digital Air Strike continued growing and developing new products and technologies for its 7,800+ business clients. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company made two significant acquisitions in early 2021, expanding its technology suite and streamlining the online car-buying experience.
“It’s an honor to be named among the 50 Innovators of the Year for 2021,” said Alexi Venneri,Co-Founder and CEO of Digital Air Strike. “We’re seeing firsthand how our technology is helping businesses save time and money while also providing better, 24/7 customer service.”
Auto dealerships, which make up the bulk of Digital Air Strike’s clients in 32 countries, experienced a turbulent year during the pandemic. COVID-19 accelerated digital sales and discovery as 92% of auto purchasers now begin their research online. According to Google, consumers are demanding more of the buying process be contactless and virtual.
Digital Air Strike responded positively to those changes by developing new products and technological innovations to help its auto dealer clients reach potential car buyers. The goal was to transact with them safely through social media, streaming channels, and text messages, allowing customers to research, shop, test drive, and purchase vehicles without ever setting foot in a dealership. The company’s
products have allowed dealers to offer at-home test drives and new ways to deliver completed paperwork to consumers at home. That streamlines the purchase process, helps with social distancing, and can generate more profit per deal by freeing up staff to do other things.
“When I started Digital Air Strike from my kitchen table in Scottsdale 11 years ago, we were among the first to recognize the power of social media in business-to-consumer marketing during the Great Recession,” Venneri said. “Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re continuing our passion of helping dealers reach and engage consumers and continue their sales online safely.”
At the start of the pandemic, Digital Air Strike quickly pivoted and launched several new features to allow more steps in the buying process to occur virtually. In March 2020, the company expanded its award-winning consumer engagement technology platform to include a more extensive Virtual Retailing Program, which provides new ways to use custom video technology, artificial intelligence, texting, and sales process automation. A month later, the company announced its Response Path Power Text consumer text marketing. Utilizing Response Path, businesses are able to send text messages to thousands of their customers at once. An AI chatbot interacts with customers who respond to texts, asks and answers questions, schedule appointments, and more, all without the need for a live human to engage unless the consumer requests it.
The company’s Credit Logix credit prequalification technology streamlines the vehicle financing process and integrates with Response Path. As a result, Credit Logix minimizes a significant pain point for consumers by helping them do much of the prequalification involved with vehicle purchases online from home. Technology then matches the buyers to the vehicle they qualify for in a dealership’s inventory. Digital Air Strike also offered its video engagement solution, Video Logix, which helps businesses showcase their services, inventory, and social distancing practices free of charge to companies for 30 days to help them during the pandemic. In another significant move, Digital Air Strike joined with online sales giant Amazon to offer ads on streaming platforms where millions of households watch television shows and movies. These OTT (Over-the-Top) streaming ads provide dealers the best way to promote their real-time vehicle inventory and services to highly targeted audiences of cord-cutters streaming live sports and top shows.
Digital Air Strike started 2021 with the acquisitions of 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. The website was purchased from media giant Gannett Co., Inc. Now the technologies of BestRide.com and Digital Air Strike are being integrated to give automotive retailers a better way to showcase their inventory and market dealers that offer at-home test drives, purchasing, and delivery. It also provides enhanced online shopping options to combat online-only pre-owned vehicle retailers like Vroom and Carvana. “Our technology allows dealers and consumers to communicate, engage, and transact virtually, and the acquisition of BestRide.com only furthers that objective,” Venneri said.
The other acquisition, LotVantage, is a digital inventory marketing software delivery company that enables auto, RV, marine, and powersports dealerships to effectively merchandise their inventory through advanced targeting and data analytics. Coupled with Digital Air Strike’s attract, convert and retain software and services, the acquisition supports the company’s strategy of leveraging technology to improve the online consumer retail experience while helping retailers gain efficiencies and greater return on investment. “The acquisition of LotVantage’s inventory technology solutions supports our strategy of giving our clients extremely efficient and highly-targeted online marketing solutions that leverage our technology to pair specific inventory with data-driven platforms,” Venneri said.
The company also launched Inventory Maximizer technology to drive targeted shoppers to a dealer’s vehicles. The new solution was developed for dealerships to efficiently merchandise their new and used cars and generate the highest quality customers. Using technology, analytics, and an experienced team to identify the most efficient online platform for dealers to showcase their vehicles – including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube – Inventory Maximizer delivers guaranteed points of contact to ensure the best results and most significant ROI for dealerships.
“Digital Air Strike continues to be forward-thinking and provide technology that improves the customer experience while enabling our dealer group to monitor better and control the online buying process more efficiently,” said Josh Leader, Director at the Sands Automotive Group in Arizona. “We are smarter in acquiring customers thanks to the partnership with Digital Air Strike. Their technology is a crucial component of how we have been able to overcome challenges as our economic environment and industry continues to evolve.”
Digital Air Strike helps businesses look better online and improve the experience for consumers. The company offers businesses a free custom analysis of their online presence with quick improvement tips. Visit digitalairstrike.com/intel-report for more information.
Power Text delivers important updates to customers’ mobile devices.
Meet the CEO
Alexi Venneri is the Co-founder & CEO of Digital Air Strike. She has over 20 years of technology experience. Her prior positions include President of Auto Media/Blue Flame 6 (part of The Van Tuyl Automotive Group); VP of Marketing, PR & Investor Relations at DealerTrack (member of the executive leadership team that took the company public in 2005); CMO at Who’s Calling (grew company from inception to $75M revenue before being acquired by UCS/Reynolds & Reynolds); and Director of Marketing for the Major League Baseball team the Seattle Mariners. She is an accomplished public speaker and author of the best-selling book “Balls! Six Rules for Winning the Business Game.” Alexi has a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from the University of Calgary and is an accredited trainer at the University of Washington and the Pacific Institute. She supports numerous charitable organizations and works closely with nonprofit organizations that rescue and rehabilitate animals.