Digital Air Strike CEO uses social media to boost clients’ bottom lines

One of the core values Alexi Venneri implemented when she co-founded Digital Air Strike was, “Whatever it takes.”

“We do that for our clients, but also for our staff,” Venneri says. “We have people who have been here since Day 1 because we’re OK if you have to pick up your child from school and work a couple hours from home that night. We want to be fun. We want to be collaborative. We think about the new way to work.”

Venneri was thinking about a new way to market companies when she co-founded Digital Air Strike, an award-winning digital response and social media technology company that works with thousands of clients to drive sales through social media management and engagement.

Az Business: How did Digital Air Strike come to be?

Alexi Venneri: I was running an ad agency and looking for companies or tools to help manage the social networks. That didn’t exist eight years ago, so I thought, “That’s a business. We should do that.” We found the investors and the courage it took to do something that wasn’t being done at the time.

AB: Was there an epiphany moment when you realized the impact of social media on marketing?

AV: What we started to see during the rise and adoption of social networks was it wasn’t just college kids, it was everybody. It was grandparents and parents and businesses and it wasn’t going away. Today’s consumer doesn’t trust what the media says, they don’t trust what businesses say, but they do trust what each other says. How do you tap into that? That was really the moment for me when I realized the old ways to market just aren’t going to cut it anymore. You have to find a way to be in the conversation.

AB: What qualities make you an effective leader for Digital Air Strike?

AV: I’m an optimist and love finding new ways of doing things. I say, “I have an idea,” too many times a day. As a child, I wouldn’t play with board games that were given to me. I’d make up my own board games and make my own rules. I believe in ordering off the menu, doing things a little differently and I think that’s prevalent in the way we run the company.

AB: Are there things about social media that other CEOs need to know?

AV: They’re really not understanding the pot of gold that is out there. Even with negative content, you’re going to find the reason why someone got annoyed — something in your business that is not going right, a trend you’re missing or a demand that you don’t know about. There is so much great information available through social media, but CEOs cannot be afraid of it.

AB: How can social media impact the bottom line for that CEO’s company?

AV: There is a constant stream of feedback from customers and you just have to figure out a way to tap into it and leverage it. There is a lot of power in that. This isn’t just some marketing thing that the intern who works for you in the summer can handle. You cannot have your head in the sand on this because you’re going to get left behind.

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About Michael Gossie

Michael Gossie is an award-winning journalist who has earned more than 50 awards for writing, editing and design. He studied economics at Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y., and put his entrepreneurial spirit to work in 2007, using a 200-year-old family recipe to launch an Italian sauce company. He is a competitive marathon runner, Ironman triathlete and is most proud of being the founding president of the Steuben Arc Foundation in Upstate New York, which serves individuals with developmental disabilities, including his sister.

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