Jon Mazza: Creating the Antithesis of Marketing Conferences

May 3, 2024
Content Marketing | Direct | Marketing Strategy

Episode Summary

In the engaging episode of Direct with Corrina & Taylor, listeners are treated to a captivating conversation with Jon Mazza, the Head of Growth at Pitchfire. Kicking off with a light-hearted introduction, Jon shares intriguing snippets from his life, from being a karaoke champion to mastering his pasta sauce recipe. This episode not only dives into Jon’s professional journey but also paints a picture of a multifaceted individual who brings creativity and passion to everything he does. The hosts, Corrina and Taylor, adeptly set the stage for a discussion that seamlessly blends personal anecdotes with profound professional insights.

The core of the conversation revolves around the revolutionary approach Pitchfire is taking to redefine virtual events. Jon criticizes the conventional, often dull format of online conferences and passionately speaks about creating events that are as enjoyable as they are informative. This vision for engaging and interactive online gatherings is a breath of fresh air in the digital event space. Through debates, games, and interactive sessions, Jon emphasizes the importance of breaking the mold to foster genuine connections and discussions among participants.

Jon’s innovative mindset extends beyond just the format of virtual events. He shares the challenges and successes of organizing events with a focus on creativity and resourcefulness. From personal outreach to speakers and sponsors to the importance of building a community-driven marketing strategy, Jon’s approach underlines the significance of personal connections in marketing. The hosts engage with Jon’s ideas, probing into the strategies that have enabled Pitchfire to create memorable online experiences that defy expectations.

The episode concludes with a forward-looking discussion on the future of both virtual and in-person events. Jon expresses a desire to bring the same level of innovation and engagement to physical gatherings, imagining events that break down barriers and encourage participation from all attendees. His vision for the future of events, where creativity, fun, and personal connections take center stage, offers valuable insights for marketers and event organizers alike.

Featured Guest

Name: Jon Mazza
What he does: Head of Growth

Company: Pitchfire

Noteworthy: Jon Mazza: From software engineer to tech startup visionary at Pitchfire.

Key Insights

Headline: Pitchfire’s Jon Mazza: Pioneering a New Era of Online Conferences

Jon Mazza of Pitchfire shares a groundbreaking approach to online events, aiming to transform them into engaging and entertaining experiences. Tired of traditional, often monotonous virtual conferences, Mazza and his team introduced unique elements like debates, games, and interactive sessions to foster genuine connections and discussions among participants. This innovative strategy not only sets a new standard for online conferences but also highlights the importance of creativity in the digital age. By focusing on participant engagement and enjoyment, Pitchfire has successfully created a blueprint for the future of virtual gatherings, challenging the status quo and inspiring a more dynamic and inclusive approach to online events.

Jon Mazza: Crafting Personal Connections for Event Success

In an era dominated by digital interactions, Jon Mazza emphasizes the unmatched value of personal connections in marketing. By personally reaching out to speakers and sponsors for Pitchfire’s events, Jon ensures a highly curated and engaging lineup that resonates with audiences. This hands-on approach not only enhances the quality of the events but also fosters a sense of community and belonging among participants. Jon’s strategy underlines the crucial role of genuine human interaction in marketing, proving that even in the vast digital landscape, personal touches can make a significant impact. By prioritizing relationships over transactions, Jon sets an exemplary model for marketers aiming to create memorable and meaningful experiences.

Jon Mazza: Embracing Scrappiness in Event Planning

Jon Mazza shares the challenges of organizing impactful events on a shoestring budget and how creative solutions can lead to unexpected success. Despite limited resources, Pitchfire’s approach to leveraging community support and maximizing the use of existing tools and platforms resulted in a highly successful online conference. This narrative highlights the importance of innovation, flexibility, and resourcefulness in overcoming obstacles. Jon’s experience serves as an inspiration for small teams and startups, demonstrating that with the right strategy and a scrappy attitude, it’s possible to create large-scale events that resonate with audiences and leave a lasting impression without breaking the bank.

Episode Highlights

Crafting the Ultimate Online Experience: Pitchfire’s Vision

Jon Mazza shared the origin story of Pitchfire’s innovative approach to online events. Dissatisfied with the conventional and often pitch-heavy format of virtual conferences, Pitchfire aimed to create a new type of online gathering. By focusing on engagement and enjoyment, they wanted attendees not just to learn but to have fun, stepping away from the mundane. This vision led to the bold tagline for their event, setting a new benchmark for what online conferences could be.

“We want to kill online conferences the way they are now and hopefully people are going to start using them to put on an event where people can have fun, learn something new.”

Reinventing Engagement: Games, Debates, and Interaction

Jon elaborated on how Pitchfire’s event deviated from traditional formats by incorporating games, debates, and genuine interactions among attendees. This innovative strategy was about breaking the mold and allowing people from different backgrounds—sales, marketing, founders—to engage in meaningful, sometimes argumentative, discussions. Their goal was to create a lively, interactive environment that goes beyond passive learning, fostering a creative and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

“Let’s make sure every event has its own gimmick […] We want people to actually argue with each other.”

Overcoming the Fear of New Formats in Virtual Events

Addressing the challenges of introducing a novel event format, Jon discussed the initial apprehension from speakers and sponsors. The success hinged on personal outreach, highlighting the unique aspects of the event and how it aligned with their expertise. This approach, combined with a playful and engaging event page, helped mitigate fears, showcasing the potential of Pitchfire’s format to revolutionize online conferences.

“So that was, that was scary […] each person I reached out to, I had in mind a couple different areas that I thought they’d be really good at speaking at.”

Envisioning the Future: From Virtual to Tangible Interactions

Jon’s aspirations extend beyond the digital realm, aiming to redefine in-person events as well. Reflecting on past successes and the transformative power of shared experiences, he discussed plans to create events that break down barriers, encouraging participation from even the most introverted attendees. From ping pong tournaments to trampoline parks, Pitchfire’s ambition is to craft in-person experiences that are as memorable and impactful as their online ventures, fostering real connections in the process.

“We want to work with a lot more companies to throw some of these in-person events […] what can we do to get people to kind of break down their guards?”

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