We hijacked this month’s interview slot to talk to Outi about Next 2016, Luxus Helsinki’s very own digital marketing summit. Read on to find out how Next was born and why you should seriously consider joining us on the island of Lonna on August 19th.
Moi Outi! Recently, we’ve spotted you running around the office like a cheetah on steroids. How are you and what on earth are you up to?
I’m great thanks and yes – very busy! This spring has been absolutely nuts with extra nuts on top, but I’ve been loving every minute. Well, maybe not every, but let’s say a good 85 percent. Next 2016 is actually the biggest event that we have organized in years and even though I’ve thrown two Happy Hours at Luxus, there’s no comparison. Usually, big digital marketing summits are organized by event planners, but we knew from the start that we wanted Next to be different. So basically, I’ve been planning, managing and marketing the event on top of my other responsibilities, which actually strangely suits me because I like being involved with a ton of different things. However, I must say that I could not have done this without my A-Team, which consists of a bunch of extremely talented planners, developers and designers.
Who are you and how did you end up organizing Next 2016?
Last summer I heard about Luxus from a friend at Aalto Business School, and although I had a couple different options at that point, Luxus immediately felt like home. Before I knew it, I found myself sitting in strategy meetings, client pitches and event planning sessions. I know that may sound like a lot, but I’m really not the type of person who can sit in front of an excel sheet for eight hours a day. As one of my lovely colleagues put it, I’m a lot like Next: equal parts innovation and execution. I enjoy rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty with different kinds of projects. As long as I’m constantly learning new things, there are not many projects that I’d say no to.
Luxus is a digital marketing agency, why organize such a large-scale event?
Ha, good question! The original idea came from the group CEO Juho, who pitched it to us by saying that we need to come up with new ways to help our clients. And sure, we know that the industry is swarming with breakfast seminars and sales events, but because we are in a pretty unique position of having an impressive international partner and client network, why not get them together? When it comes to digitalization, Finland has huge potential. And although that potential is hideously under-utilized at the moment, we feel like we might be able to change that.
The funny thing is, a lot of Finnish companies get really excited about digitalization without actually understanding how it can help or even transform their business. By bringing together innovators, marketers and business executives from all kinds of companies worldwide, we’re hoping to make people understand that digitalization affects everyone in a different way.
How did you guys end up choosing the island of Lonna as the venue?
We started off by scouting a few traditional conference venues in Helsinki but none of them really felt right. We didn’t really want to give the impression that we were going to create just another business seminar. At the end of the day, we figured that we’d rather make history than repeat it. Then on a sunny afternoon in April, we hopped on a boat to go check out the newly renovated warehouses in Lonna. A short boat ride and a few frostbites later, we knew that we had found the perfect venue for Next.
What are your expectations for the event? Anything in particular you’re looking forward to?
Compared to all the digital marketing events I’ve been to in Helsinki, I think we have by far the broadest range of speakers. From Google to Rovio and from Sara la Fountain to Veera from Vainu.io, I’m especially looking forward to hearing how this diverse set of talented professionals are dealing with digitalization in their businesses. We’re really proud to have such cool people as our clients and partners and more than anything, I’m looking forward to the relaxed atmosphere and interesting conversations on the sunny terrace.
What’s your favorite Next moment so far?
The most ridiculous thing I’ve done in the name of Next was when I asked a designer to edit a picture of Lonna to bring the island closer to the shore. Another highlight was when we got the website up and running and noticed how quickly the tickets started going. In addition to the fantastic speakers, it looks like we’ll also have a broad range of digital professionals in the audience, and I couldn’t be more excited. We’ve also had a lot of fun coming up with the name for the event, with some of the runners up including “Luxus ATK Päivät” and “Luxus Burnout”. Seriously speaking, it has been awesome to see some of the pieces fall together, like finalizing the list of speakers and standing on the sunny terrace of Lonna and imagining what a great day it will be.
Have there been any challenges?
Maybe because this is my first huge event, I’ve occasionally gotten overwhelmed about the sheer quantity of different pieces I have to manage and control: the venue and event technology, the speakers, the website and marketing, social media… It’s been a lot to deal with and I’m really never off duty until the event is over, but at the same time it has taught me a lot. I’ve frequently retweeted someone’s Next tweets in the middle of the night, and more often than not I’m walking around the office with at least five post it notes plastered to my sleeves so I’d remember everything I have to do.
Give us your elevator pitch: why should I buy a ticket to Next 2016?
First of all, whoever you are: there will be something for you at Next 2016. One of the greatest things about the event is that it is relevant for all business stakeholders including the management, marketing, communications, design, IT and even HR departments, because digitalization can and should benefit everyone.
Secondly, we’re a global agency, which in this case has helped us invite world-class speakers from our international network. Bringing these talents to Finland is really exciting, because we think that our innovative startups and digital enterprise businesses have a lot of potential.
Third, we want to do things a little differently. More than anything, we’re hoping that people will get to know one another and stay on the island after the event for some drinks in the August sunset. We’re trying to create a sense of community and have people think beyond traditional industry borders. Our ultimate goal is that people will leave the event with at least 10 new LinkedIn contacts and three concrete ideas on how to improve their digital marketing.
Thanks Outi, we can’t wait for August 19th!