Have you considered hosting a virtual conference but are unsure where to start? Regardless of whether you’re a newcomer or a pro at virtual events, you’ll appreciate this episode.

Recently, we sat down with Ollie Whitfield, Demand Gen Team Lead (formerly Growth Marketing Manager) at VanillaSoft, to talk about how the VanillaSoft-Autoklose marketing team pulled off its Growth Month event in June 2022. 

Unquestionably, Growth Month was a success.

In brief, Ollie and the team surpassed registration goals and pulled off a month-long event consisting of over 40 sessions led by sales and marketing experts.

Listen in to learn more about:

  • Why Ollie opted for a month-long vs. “a couple of days” long event
  • The operational and administrative details that go into pulling off a virtual conference
  • Selecting speakers and setting expectations for speakers to help promote (based on lessons learned)
  • And more

Want to connect with Ollie? 

Connect with him on LinkedIn, and check out his TikTok account, @olliewhitfield96.

Curious About the HeySummit virtual conference platform?

VanillaSoft and The B2B Mix use the HeySummit (← affiliate link) to run both Give-a-con and Growth Month virtual conferences.

What makes HeySummit a great option for your virtual conference?

  • HeySummit integrates with practically almost any webinar platform
  • You can use a mix of live and pre-recorded sessions—or choose one option: all live or all recorded
  • Set up your event landing pages and registration easily; you can even sell tickets if you want to monetize
  • Leverage built-in marketing tools: affiliate codes, giveaways, viral incentives, coupons, swipe copy, speaker banners, and more

Try HeySummit for your virtual conference

HeySummit makes it easier to launch your first (or five millionth!) virtual conference.

(The B2B Mix is a HeySummit affiliate partner)

Speaker 1: Welcome to The B2B Mix Show with Alanna and Stacy. In each episode, we'll bring you ideas that you can implement in your sales and marketing strategy. We'll share what we know along with advice from industry experts who will join us on the show. Are you ready to mix it up? Let's get started.

Stacy Jackson: Hello, Alanna, how are you doing today?

Alanna Jackson: I'm doing well, Stacy. What are we talking about?

Stacy Jackson: Well, Alanna, and do listeners. We are going to talk about virtual conferences. They've been the big thing since the pandemic started. What do you think about them Alanna?

Alanna Jackson: I like them but only when they're done correctly.

Stacy Jackson: You like them as an attendee or a presenter.

Alanna Jackson: Ooh, both.

Stacy Jackson: Oh, good.

Alanna Jackson: And I, and I think both when, again, when done correctly can be good.

Stacy Jackson: That's what our topic is today, but not a big general discussion of virtual conferences. We're going to talk to somebody who did it, right. And even though he says he didn't meet his stretch goal, the goal that we knew of from the client, he surpassed that. I think he doubled it. So it was a great event. We got be part of as speakers, as well as work behind the scenes to help execute from marketing operation side, with HubSpot and has summit set up to social media and email marketing.

Stacy Jackson: So a lot of fun, Alanna you want to introduce our guest.

Alanna Jackson: I would love to our guest is Ollie Whitfield from VanillaSoft. He is the growth marketing manager for VanillaSoft, and he also works with Autoklose as well. And he loves to write cold emails and call scripts. So this whole event that he threw, which was called Growth Month was right up his alley because Growth Month is all about some of those things. So he really, we had the opportunity to work with him on this, and it was just such an amazing event. We got to be part of the event. We got to set up the event like Stacy said, and Ollie really pulled it together, found the great speakers, and we are excited to talk to him about how he did it and why it was such an event that was really impactful and successful.

Stacy Jackson: Hi Ollie, thank you so much for joining us on our show this week. How you been doing?

Ollie Whitfield: Life's good. I'm pleased to finally make my debut on this. I've had my eye on coming on this show for a while. So now we've finally got a good reason for me to come on. Now. I'm excited to be here and thanks for having me, how you guys doing?

Alanna Jackson: Well we are excited to have you, and we've had our eye on you for a while too, to be on the show. So we're excited to have you to talk about some cool stuff that you've been doing at VanillaSoft. So maybe you can tell us a little bit about what you do at VanillaSoft first, and then we'll dig into the topic.

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah, well, it's funny. All my career I've had jobs that are kind of, the title is like irrelevant in a weird way. And that's not really a bad thing. It means you get to do a few different things. So if you read my title growth marketing, I don't even know what that is to be perfectly honest. I don't.

Alanna Jackson: So you don't have to do anything.

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah. Kind of like you and Stacy, really?

Alanna Jackson: Exactly.

Ollie Whitfield: There you go. I had slide that one in there.

Alanna Jackson: We're insulted.

Ollie Whitfield: I apologize the strategists. Right. But yeah, in a sense, it's a bit more like demand gen. That is the way that I can see it for the most part. So it's sort of my hands in sort of everything that we do for the most part, not that far in some cases, but for all of our webinars and those things, all of our podcasting, pretty much all of that will come through or involve me in some way. Some of the stuff like our website, I'm miles away from that. I wouldn't even try, but yeah. Anything where we're trying to generate our leads is what I would call it. So that's why I say demand gen. And you know, I would've said lead gen, but people seem to not like that anymore. That's not cool. So yeah, demand gen is the cool one now.

Alanna Jackson: We got to change up the names every once in a while, like SDRs and BDRs, and now lead gen to demand gen.

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah.

Stacy Jackson: Well, Ollie you surely have proven yourself as a lead gen person with this last Growth Month initiative that you did for Autoklose, which is a VanillaSoft brand. I think you, did you double the goal amount of leads that you had to generate or was it even better than that? I don't remember. I just know it was big.

Ollie Whitfield: We beat it, my like stretch goal. We didn't get anywhere near it. So I'll take beat humble pie on that one, but definitely beat the goal by about,

Alanna Jackson: Well, you beat the goal. So there's a win right there.

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah. We're happy with that. It's our second never event like this, so it's not like we've done 50 in a row and we can maximize it. And it's not like, for example, I picked this stretch goal that I had based on videos. Which was one that we were lucky enough to sponsor and speak. At previous, they got close to 2000. I thought, you know what? I'd love to beat that. And I didn't, but, they've been doing it quarter of the quarter for about two three years.

Alanna Jackson: I was going to say, they've been doing it for a while. Yeah. This is the first.

Ollie Whitfield: Pretty sure they spin it up. And like a thousand people come anyway. Like maybe I'm assuming that's how it works. We didn't really have that at all. We're pretty much like zero plus whatever our email list can bring. So, that was a long way.

Stacy Jackson: This is just the second virtual conference Growth Month was that you've done with VanillaSoft. Maybe you could give us which make your stretch goal, that you didn't meet a big deal. You did a great job after only two, but could you give us a little bit of background on what Growth Month was and why you decided to do such a lengthy virtual conference?

Ollie Whitfield: It was born out of the first one we did, which I'll go on record. It's my fault. It was a disaster. Well very close.

Alanna Jackson: First one we did was what? Give-A-Con con. Yeah. And that was very vertical, specific to higher ed fundraising.

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah. Which in fairness I mean the three of us, maybe you a lot more well versed in this area than me, but I don't know anyone there. So trying to arrange a whole conference where you've got speakers, there's pretty difficult if you don't know anyone. So maybe little bit naivety and inexperience. I didn't know anyone like at all. So I had to lean a lot on our sales team and I'm very grateful. They did an amazing job. Like they really came through on this. It would've been nothing. If they didn't do half the stuff, they did, all the speakers, all the content, all the topics, everything, and the just moderating all of it. So they deserve a huge plug and shout out for it.

Stacy Jackson: Yeah, they did awesome with that. And it was just a one day thing too.

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah. And it's eight sessions and this, this event ended up being 45, but I'm sure that you both feel the same. The sort of sharp learning curve of, oh my God, this is so much. And how quickly we got it together because we had no time to build it. And how little time we had to promote for how quickly that one day went by. I didn't watch one session. It was all out of that. So on that one day, just all of those things combined, I went probably a little bit too far the other way. I just thought, next time we do this, this is not happening. I've got to start right now. I've got to get as many speakers and now I've got to get sponsors now. And by the end of that day, I had, I think, 25 of them out of the 45, which made a world of difference.

Ollie Whitfield: Noticed still a massive road up to the event from there. But it was, I needed so much time. I wanted the main problem as well. Like think of it one day you build up to it. Day happens day over. That's it. When you've got a month, you've got a month during probably a month previous and maybe even a couple weeks afterward. So I was thinking, you know what? This is quite hard. We struggled to get in enough leads. We struggled to get the speakers to promote. If we've got like six times the amount of time. Great. But, but the whole idea of Growth Month was it was going to be a month instead of one day, which was kind of the Achilles heel of the event. I felt anyways.

Stacy Jackson: So I don't know if you heard it, this kind of feedback, but as a person who has attended like a jampacked day or two session, I appreciate something spread out over multiple days because it's such a luxury for anybody to get to sit at their desk and I'm at a conference, but they're not really, but so people can still bother them. Think the idea of spacing out was great.

Ollie Whitfield: Well, the first one being honest, if you actually did go to the entire thing, you were really hungry by the end of the day, you had a banging headache because you hadn't drank all day. You hadn't even been to the bathroom. You nothing. Like if the mail man came to deliver your Amazon, you missed that. Just no one's actually going to go through all of that. So yeah.I think we sort of learned quite quickly about the agenda being way too much. And then just trying to cram it together.

Alanna Jackson: What made you choose like going for a month versus like some virtual conference will do a week. I've seen some where they did it the whole summer. So what made you think that the month, might be the sweet spot?

Ollie Whitfield: Can I give you some really data driven? Like specific really number led stuff?

Alanna Jackson: No I don't, I don't like data.

Ollie Whitfield: Oh, well good. Because I just like the sound of,

Alanna Jackson: Yeah. Go for it.

Ollie Whitfield: So that's what happened. Just like the sound of it really. And when you think of it, like if per week let's say we do a webinar month or let's say we do two. Normally you're going to divide out each week and say on Monday, we'll do one email on next Thursday we'll do one. You're breaking up your week by that. So I'm really thinking of it as how many swings of promotion do I need? Probably a couple at least, but we're also going to have other stuff to do as well. So, maybe a month is a good round number and looking around, the market haven't really sent anyone do a month specifically. So just let's give it a go see what happens. And sort of the concept was, as I said, let's have a long time doing to promote to keep going. And I think it worked for that. Maybe it could have been a bit slightly different, but what I was trying to achieve, I think it did with the format.

Alanna Jackson: I think it worked really well having the whole month and then just having two sessions a day. So you're not overwhelmed. And with the tool, if you missed your session that you signed up for, you could still watch it throughout the month if it had already happened. And so I thought that was really cool because I did miss a session and I went and I'm like, oh crap, I missed it. Or I was really late to one Tyler Lesser, yeah.

Ollie Whitfield: Tyler from video. Yeah.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah. I went to his and I was late and I'm like, oh crap, I'm going to miss everything. But it actually started from the beginning. So I didn't miss anything. And I really liked that about it, but I think it was the perfect length. The sessions weren't too long and having two a day just made it was easy. It was easy to think about attending because of that.

Ollie Whitfield: Well, you said the word overwhelmed in the middle and that you weren't overwhelmed. I know you were. Working on it.

Alanna Jackson: I may have been overwhelmed working on it, but to someone that is attending you don't feel overwhelmed. If you go to the conference and you've got, oh, I got to go to this session. I got to go to this session,you know? Right after the other, it just felt easy.

Ollie Whitfield: Hopefully as well. Like if you added it to your diary, you would've seen it. It was 11 Eastern and 2 Eastern, which are like, not lunchtime, not middle of the morning. Kind of most webinars are like 11, 2, 3, something like that where you're like middle of the day, mid stretch of your sprint at the end of the day or your sprint to lunch. So hopefully those times worked out. But yeah, even at that, both of them were half an hour. So, probably you could get away with an hour a day. If most webinars are an hour, you could probably get rid of that.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah. And I know you had challenges, which we've talked a little bit about some, but what were the biggest challenges you faced? Like when it came to guests, scheduling, promoting all that different stuff.

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah. Do we have any champagne or like something strong around. This is bringing up,

Alanna Jackson: Need a shot?

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah. I'm just going to have a drink because I'm already feeling a bit hot. Just thinking about it.

Ollie Whitfield: There was a couple, nothing too dire to be realistic about it. One actually really irritated me. One of the bigger names that I wanted to have on to really help bring in the crowd and they accepted the calendar invite. And for whatever reason, something happened on a day, couldn't do it. No big deal, happens. And I expect that with big deal speakers as well, who are doing this all the time. So we move it and that event comes and goes like, no reply to the email, checking in. Are you able to make it and nothing? And then I think I followed up four times and eventually they said, "Oh, well I can only do it tomorrow. Otherwise I'm on vacation. And then I can't do it." And, and we couldn't do tomorrow because that was Saturday.

Alanna Jackson: Right.

Ollie Whitfield: And I would do it personally, but I can't have our video team come and make sure it's okay.

Ollie Whitfield: And all that stuff, I would never ask to have anybody. So I was really disappointed by that. And I've never named the person because that's just how it is. I understand. But that was a bit poor form for me. And then your minus a big deal speaker. That was what was more important if it was like a session on the side or one of the last ones, eh, not great, but we can work it out.

Alanna Jackson: Right.

Ollie Whitfield: Let's go and find another way of them, which was bit of a problem. And the only other thing, actually that was a bit annoying. This comes when you don't know every single one of the speakers I confess. I know most of them, like a lot of them I've worked with before or we've had on our shows and other things we know what they're going to do.

Ollie Whitfield: We know there was good value and I would never ask them on if they weren't good for the content, that's the primary, but they've got to be able to help me promote it too. Otherwise what's the point, generally speaking. I can, give you the best event ever, but if no one comes who cares. So they have to be able to tick that box too. Some of them either did a very poor job of that or just couldn't do it. And that sort of works against me as well. So much as I was very happy to have everyone that came amazed by the content genuinely, some of it was outstanding. Some of them it's like they think a retweet is a promotion. A that's not B, that's not. And C that's not. But further to that as well you get some who just didn't do anything at all and understand, my big deal conference might be a tiny deal to them in their big company or whatever else.

Ollie Whitfield: Maybe they don't need the leads, whatever it is. I do get it. But like for the basic, can you not put a tweet out because you're speaking at something or if I've written your tweets.

Alanna Jackson: Right at least just one.

Ollie Whitfield: And emails, like do one because you've, if you've invested half an hour in this thing, so you might as well do it. That was the only part I struggled to get my mind around and that happens. It really does. We've seen it before, so shouldn't be a surprise. But that did sort of bother me a bit because I'm looking at the number of registrants thinking. That's an amazing session. Like how many people would love that if they promote it, but its didn't.

Stacy Jackson: So would that change how you select speakers and upcoming or maybe what you ask them of them to do when it comes to promoting?

Ollie Whitfield: A little bit. I think of, we knew this beforehand and we sort of did it, but maybe not quite as obviously, so now instead of saying, "We'd love to have you speak and we give you the leads. If you can help us promote." It's a little bit different. We say we have to see evidence of your promotion in order to give you the leads, but we want to anyway. And maybe that's selfish. Maybe not everybody does that, but risk reward. What's the harm in you putting out a LinkedIn post. I mean, come on. It's, that's nothing, it's like half a minute to do that.

Ollie Whitfield: And yes, you're investing your time as a speaker, but you're also getting A, well, maybe they don't think of this, but you're getting A exposure to our whole list, our whole everything, every audience that we've got, you get in our production and you can have the content, you can reuse it, any of those things. And then you are also getting the leads, which is what most people want. I'm just asking for a LinkedIn post. Which is nothing. So maybe they don't think of it that way. I'm trying to be a bit more explicit about that.

Stacy Jackson: And maybe for your next event, we could make a speaker's kit. This is, these are the things you'll get if you agree. Kind of like what people look at on a website before they decide to pay to advertise or something really make it's a big deal.

Ollie Whitfield: Now a rule they've got to do an Ice Ice Baby rap. Otherwise they don't come on.

Alanna Jackson: That's fun. I think we should make that a rule. So one of the things I wanted to ask is when it comes to that promotion in the past with some of the webinars that we've done with VanillaSoft, we spent a lot of time putting kits together and writing all these multiple Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook posts for them. And they never used them. They would just always retweet. Is that something that, did you do any of that for them, for those that maybe weren't posting yet?

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah. I did notice a couple of it's particularly the like more higher brow ones that you're not, maybe this is my fault too. I mean it's in our, in VanillaSoft and what we talk about, it's all about selling. So they always say, if you've got one point of contact in a company that's not good. If they go darken you're that's it you've not got anything else. So maybe the truth that applies to this too, picking out any session you want some of the ones that this happened to, I only really talked to the insert role and not the marketer as well. I should have asked for, or got the marketer on site as well, because let's say you're a massive deal influencer. Right. You're one of the top people in your industry, you are not going to be sitting there writing your LinkedIn post.

Ollie Whitfield: Maybe. Probably most people do. But I know a lot of executives who don't do that. I know. Just how much people charge people to do that as well. And it's a lot. So it happens. Maybe I should've got a bit more on side with the marketers I think. And, and then it would've happened, but yeah, like for example, there were two or three, I mean, I'm not going to name them and I'm not going to tell you if you guess, but go to my Twitter feed, you'll find a couple of them and mention more than others. That's me getting their little social boost. Because otherwise nothing happened. So as much as it was annoying, I like found a back can way and it didn't look like they promoted it, but I got some of their audience somehow.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah. And unfortunately, sometimes you have to do those things.

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah.

Alanna Jackson: To get it going.

Stacy Jackson: Well, it's more than just trying to get all the speakers confirmed, even though they're a huge part of it. When all is involved in setting up something like this, either this one or Give Con. What do you have to do to put on a virtual conference? If people aren't familiar with what goes on behind the scenes.

Ollie Whitfield: It's like building a house. You think you planned everything. The roof doesn't come because you didn't order it. And then it comes on a rainy day and you forgot to pay for it and you didn't have the money for it. There's always more. And something that happens that you forget that you can possibly plan for. And that's part of it. You have to accept it unless you've done a million of them and fair enough. But that wasn't the case for us. So from start, you need just trying to think the tool that we use was HeySummit. And again, thanks very much to Stacy. I mean, it probably wouldn't have even happened point blank without you and HeySummit. So there was that, and that solved a huge problem because straight away you're looking at a lot of money and I mean a really serious amount of money to host it on anything else.

Ollie Whitfield: So you need a hosting platform because you just cannot build it yourself and you, I would re never recommend you do that. Then you need just generally speaking the concepts and to work it out with the team. That was probably one of the bigger parts. I didn't do an amazing job with that, to be fair. I just kind of decided we're doing this, which isn't the best way to do it. Not really anyone in the team got to say, no, I don't like that name or anything, which is that's a weakness of me. I accept it. But the concept, the working out the agenda, working out the topics, working out the speakers, working out bandwidth and all of those things and the promo plan and how much bandwidth the promo plan needs and the timing of it. And all of the other things like that when you're doing other work too, you've got to tie it in and around a calendar of, well, this webinar is needing this promotion, but we also want to promote that.

Ollie Whitfield: And all the social media feeds fill up. There's a lot of that stuff going on. So generally speaking, looking at the calendar of the entire team, what if we got, what have we got to do? When does it have to happen? And what gaps do we have? What that's really the main thing that was time consuming that we had to work out. And that's how that's sort of where I think we did a good job because we are able to work out those slots we had available rather than just like throwing stuff out. Then, as you said, it's a lot of the speakers that was quite a long time. If you think of it as 45 speakers, which is probably 45 people, that's a lot of people to deal with one to one lot of questions, a lot of back and forth emails, meetings. Then we had 10 sponsors.

Ollie Whitfield: That's probably about two people per sponsor. So again, 20 more, which makes it about 65 people. It's getting even busier now. And just like a lot of back and forth on things like we're making your speaker image. And I think Alanna hated making those images, but not as more nearly as much as I hated sending them, just imagine typing that email in Gmail. Copy paste, send, change name, change image, like over and over. There's so much of that. And then once you got the whole thing set up, the website is a whole of beast. This was Stacy's Hell as well as mine making the website look good. Even if you can adding all of the content, adding the timing, adding the recordings, putting the description, God, what else? Picking what field you want on the form. And just so much of that admin stuff that you don't even think about or see, you'd probably go to the site now and you think, oh yeah, easy. It was just like a template or something,

Alanna Jackson: Right?

Stacy Jackson: Yeah.

Ollie Whitfield: No, you're wrong. It was basically zero. You've got place holders and that's it.

Stacy Jackson: I just had an idea to make it easier for next time. When you have all those speaker images, let's just have a spreadsheet of all those people and we'll upload it as a custom field of their image. We can just send a HubSpot insert personal token email, and you don't have to copy paste, copy paste. 65 times.

Alanna Jackson: You couldn't think of that. Like two, [inaudible 00:22:10]

Ollie Whitfield: I was about to say we love Stacy, but, but you said that now, and I feel resentment, but,

Stacy Jackson: So what was the most productive or best channel that you used to promote the event? Did you notice one winning over the other?

Ollie Whitfield: Well, going against the actual answer I was going to give LinkedIn was by far and away the most popular one. I don't even generate that many people to come watch us every time, but I promoted it a lot of times. And we did a lot of specific stuff to make my primary go a bit further. I was one of the maybe top 10 producers of registrations, but everyone else who produced a lot as a speaker, it was LinkedIn like every bit. The rest where the sponsors really helped pull their weight. A couple of them, particularly it was an email. And you can tell because the UTMs tell me, it says HubSpot and I know HubSpot overrides some of the UTMs. So it's obvious.

Ollie Whitfield: And maybe even like, as we're recording this people post LinkedIn posts about our webinar or something, it's not working quite as good anymore. Like a little bit less. Feels a bit like the Facebook drop back in the day. I think maybe not quite as dramatic, but it's getting that way. So if you can't send an email, it's sort of like head your bets, head your expectations a little bit. So anyone who did do a marketing email, yeah. It helped quite a lot. And you could really tell the difference makes remember,

Alanna Jackson: Oh, sorry, go ahead.

Ollie Whitfield: No, just going to say, I remember the moment I could tell you, one of the sponsors did it because a hundred people dropped through. And it was just obvious sort of look they sent an email. And we can tell that. So,

Alanna Jackson: And I think also with LinkedIn, it's almost becoming more like Facebook in the way that people are using it and people just aren't paying attention as much. Or it's just oversaturated with so many different things that you're getting hit with. So when you can send those emails, I think it does make a huge difference. Now, some people that have the pull can put something out there and you get tons of people sign up from it on LinkedIn. But not everyone. It makes a huge difference.

Ollie Whitfield: Sadly not me.

Alanna Jackson: You're getting there though.

Ollie Whitfield: Trying.

Alanna Jackson: So as far as like the topics, did you choose the topics when you were looking at the people and you're like, okay, I know them, I know they know a lot about this. Did you ask them to speak on a certain topic or was it that they, you would say, "Hey, you want to speak? And what would you like to talk about?" How'd you go about that?

Ollie Whitfield: For the most part, I had an idea just knowing who they are, what they might talk about. And for context, there were two different talk tracks on the conference as a whole. So I had the sales specific side and then I had the startup and like bootstrapping founder stuff on the other side. So two different things. And you kind of had a range within each, but I didn't want it to be too much of one topic. So for example, where we maybe were a little bit heavy was that was cold email on the sales site, there was maybe three or four on that. And then on other topics we maybe had one. So bit different there. I basically dropped like a massive list of everyone who I thought would be a good speaker, what things they might talk about.

Ollie Whitfield: And then I crossed off, well, like I don't need seven cold email people. Yeah. And what else do we have? So a bit of that to begin with, to build the bulk of it, but toward the end. And especially if you're looking for a headline type of person, they might have something they're excited about today. Right? That you sort of can tell them, I want you to talk about this. And most of the time they'll be fine with that. Because then don't have to think about it and they'll take it. But sometimes it depends who it is. They prefer to suggest to you. Oh no I just did one about this last week. It was really good. Like let me do that one again.

Alanna Jackson: I've got to do [inaudible 00:26:03] cutting out or something.

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah. There you go. They've just got the PowerPoint up and they're going through it. Same thing again. So little bit of a mix, but for the most part, I knew what I wanted them to do based on not having too much of one topic within one of the topics. Otherwise it would've been a bit too much.

Stacy Jackson: So Ollie, if you had to do this all over again, which I assume you will next year, what would you do differently?

Ollie Whitfield: Well, there were these two people that were pain in my ass the whole time. The Jacksons, I mean

Alanna Jackson: You get rid of them.

Ollie Whitfield: No, I would double their hours if I could.

Ollie Whitfield: No. In fairness that you were both incredibly helpful. I mean the whole thing doesn't happen whatsoever. It doesn't even come close. If you both didn't do everything you did. So thanks very much for it, but for different next time, I think even again, we were way ahead of this. Even so we still could have maybe had some more time to premier it I think. It did feel a bit of a squeeze. And I think that's, that's mainly because not even about the event, I think it's because what we had just before it. I think we had a webinar kind of running into a bit of that promo time, maybe a couple other little things here and there, which sort of it made us feel a squeeze, not in terms of what we promoted but I think it in terms of like, if I'm picturing Alanna's average week and working with us. That was a bit closer to the wire than it should have been for you.

Ollie Whitfield: You were doing a little bit too much or there was too many emails you had to do too many whatever else's. So a bit of that, I think just a bit more time and that again, like even today, our video producer, Daniel, who did a stellar job over 23 hours of video content. He edited in a month.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah he did great.

Ollie Whitfield: He's going on vacation, stay by God. He deserves it. I think he got extremely tired towards the end, like really tired. So I hate doing that to anybody on the team. So I think even the time thing again, though, you could say I was, what was it? March 31st was the Give-A-Con date, which is when I kind of started for this. And it was the whole of June. So June 1st two, three months sounds like quite a lot. And it was if we could have done maybe an extra couple weeks, I think it would've made just that bit extra difference.

Alanna Jackson: So I was thinking one thing that we should do different would be, you know how HubSpot everybody in the company went holiday the week of July 4th? So after the next Growth Month thing, the whole marketing team gets to take the whole week off.

Stacy Jackson: Rest week.

Ollie Whitfield: Rest week. I love it. No rest month.

Stacy Jackson: You think David would go for that?

Ollie Whitfield: We should have like a team holiday or something to like Miami, something like that.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah

Stacy Jackson: Yeah, [inaudible 00:28:48]

Alanna Jackson: Absolutely. Let's do it. So we'll be talking to David about that later. So what advice could you offer to someone that's listening? If they're thinking about doing a virtual conference, what would your top advice be to them?

Ollie Whitfield: You really can't just like pick out an idea from nowhere. Kind of like I did. I was lucky very much that, I mean I wouldn't have done something. We couldn't have achieved, but there's more available to me because of the resources and the skills and the talents we have. So I couldn't have done a month without the ability to work with you both with Daniel, our producer, with a whole bunch of people on our team who did a lot of things to get the whole thing up from the ground. It would've been like a day on Zoom. If it was me by myself, that would've been pretty crap. You know, the first one we did was a day, but it still involved a lot of people and it was a lot. So probably you've got to see what you have available to you in terms of bandwidth and resources.

Ollie Whitfield: So for example, never consider editing any video. If you are not specialist at that, I don't even think about it. I'm very lucky. We have Daniel for that. And if I didn't have Daniel, I wouldn't even think about it. It would be straight on Zoom. So it crosses off your options. And then you go from there. And basically simplicity is always the best. I mean, I didn't want to have anything too complicated. I didn't want to have two things going at the same time that's just going to go wrong, making it as easy as possible. And then basically from there, you treat it as anything else. I.

Ollie Whitfield: T's who do we want? Why do we want them, what can they talk about? And let's double check everything. Is every single one of them going to attract a customer? And as I say that the cat is very attracting what I'm telling you. And clearly we must be onto something. But yeah, it was basically just about, let's make sure this makes sense. And then we'll go from there and we sort of add scales as we can. Luckily I was able to do the first event and sort of learn some of those lessons, get it wrong and then pile on from the next experience. But I think I got your, I think I answered you, right?

Alanna Jackson: Yeah. Yes.

Stacy Jackson: So we'd like to ask one more question of our guests and it's just for fun. If you weren't the growth marketing manager at VanillaSoft, what would your dream job be?

Ollie Whitfield: Oh gosh. Does it have to be realistic or can it be anything?

Stacy Jackson: No, it can be anything.

Ollie Whitfield: Oh, my gosh. I was going to say the England football team manager, but that's, that's a piece of Hell actually.

Ollie Whitfield: I wanted to be a journalist when I was a kid.

Stacy Jackson: Really?

Ollie Whitfield: Yeah. I used to write like articles about like a review of of a soccer match and all that stuff. And I applied to do, we have work experience in the UK when you're about 15. You do two weeks of work experience where you make coffee and stuff like that. I applied to go a local newspaper and they tell me, "Hey, just so you know, like one in 3000 people get a job in this market every year." And I thought, eh, probably won't do that.

Stacy Jackson: Yeah. Oh wow.

Ollie Whitfield: So I kind keep like to it a little bit. And if you think about it, we make content. So it's similar. But yeah, I wanted to do that and I, when I was a kid, I wanted to be the commentators on the matches. And then second best was the was writing about it because you still had to be there. So maybe the commentator, I don't know, bit left field.

Stacy Jackson: Score.

Ollie Whitfield: That's right. Yeah.

Stacy Jackson: All right. So if people want to connect with you, how should they reach out LinkedIn, Twitter? What's your favorite channel to, for them to reach out to you?

Ollie Whitfield: It's so boring to say LinkedIn, isn't it. Everybody does that now, but it's true. So yeah, I'm there and lucky with me. I have a kind of weird name. So I'll probably come up somewhere near the top. If you type my name in, I do a bit of Twitter that's more me just whining about stuff and complaining if my football team's losing, but primarily that's that. And one of the things that I did after our session at Growth Month was I did start that TikTok account that you two dared me to do. I'm like doing okay. I'm trying, but I'm not very consistent.

Alanna Jackson: I like your videos though. They,

Stacy Jackson: I, do too they crack me up.

Alanna Jackson: They speak to What people are experiencing and they're funny. So it's and the one standing at the window with the rain falling where you're looking all sad, looking out the window. I think that was the one that Stacy died laughing about.

Stacy Jackson: I like the one where you sitting in the shower.

Alanna Jackson: Oh yeah, that was, yeah. That one was funny. Yeah, that one was good.

Stacy Jackson: And the most recent one about like pop old school popup video where he's reading the email and all these.

Alanna Jackson: So, you're nailing it. Ollie. You're doing good.

Stacy Jackson: Yeah. In my book, I'm an old lady on TikTok. So I may not be your target audience. But I'm enjoying it.

Alanna Jackson: Meanwhile, he's thinking I need to [inaudible 00:33:42]

Ollie Whitfield: I'll get my cat involved. You'll love it. It'll be great. I'll try my best. But yeah, it's a bit of fun really. I use it to post in other places. Really. It's not really about how far I get there.

Alanna Jackson: Yeah. Well, if you want to please go and follow Ollie, you'll get some good information and he's I actually like following you on Twitter because you share little snippets of things that you're getting from other people. And it makes me laugh because I'm like, yes, I hate it when I get those things. But anyway, so go follow him. And if you want to get in touch with me or Stacy, you can follow us on Twitter, Alanna underscore Jax that's, A-L-A-N-N-A underscore J-A-X, or you can follow Stacy on Twitter. That's S-T-A-C-Y underscore J-A-X. And you can find both of us on LinkedIn, Alanna Jackson, Stacy Jackson, and make sure to subscribe to the B2B mix show and we will catch you next time.

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