Content Marketing Institute Announces Acquisition by UBM

Jun 02, 2016

Article ImageContent Marketing Institute (CMI) is a ubiquitous name in the content marketing sphere, as is its founder Joe Pulizzi. Now the company has been acquired by UBM--a B2B events organizer and parent company of The PR Newswire. Reports say the purchase cost UBM $17.6 million.

CMI's Content Marketing World is, no doubt, at the epicenter of UBM's interest. The conference had a reported 3,500 attendees in 2015 and is only one of its conferences-which also includes the Intelligent Content Conference, which CMI acquired from Ann Rockley and Scott Abel in 2014.

Pulizzi wrote in a blog post, "CMI and Content Marketing World will become part of UBM's technology events group and it is an exciting expansion for UBM into the fast-growth world of content marketing and marketing technology. This decision will help us at CMI take our vision of advancing the approach of content marketing to more marketers in the U.S. and around the world."

Pulizzi also pointed out that all the CMI team members will be staying on. That includes Robert Rose, CMI's chief strategy officer. He says, "I'm over the moon happy for Joe and the entire team at CMI. The completely meta thing is what a testament this is to content marketing. We've built a company, quite literally, on the back of the practice we love so much. UBM will be a good home for everything that CMI offers."elp us at CMI take our vision of advancing the approach of content marketing to more marketers in the U.S. and around the world." Pulizzi goes on to say that nothing will change, other than the fact that CMI now has the backing of a much larger company and will be able to spread its message much farther.

"Really the only thing that changes is my title. I will now be Chief Strategy Advisor," Rose adds. "My main role will be to still lead the Content Advisory Group -- a service that provides workshops, advisory and consulting for enterprises looking to operationalize content marketing in their business. Other than that, the PNR podcast continues, as does my involvement with CMI's research, online university, and master classes."

Russell Sparkman, CEO of FusionSpark, says, "UBM has purchased the group that has been the most instrumental in building awareness and acceptance of a content marketing as a best practice. If they remain true to their commitment to keep the CMI Team intact, and try to not 'fix' something that isn’t broken, then I would expect that the mission and purpose of Content Marketing Institute to be the definitive resource on content marketing will remain intact. The additional resources CMI gets from the acquisition should empower them to take what they’ve already done so well to a new level of exposure, acceptance, buy-in, etc."

Nonetheless, content marketers are looking to this acqusition not only to see what it means for CMI, but for the industry as a whole. Many may see this as validation of the growing practice of content marketing. 

"The acquisition of the Content Marketing Institute by UBM is a huge win for all marketers," says Carla Johnson, author of Experiences: 7th Era of Marketing. "UBM has the ability to elevate content marketing to an even larger audience because of its established global footprint. Bringing the practice forward to this degree means that both marketers and brands understand that content-led approach is what we must use to connect with customers in today's marketplace." 

Sparkman notes, "As 'big' as content marketing has become, I think that it still exists in a bubble comprised primarily of B2B tech marketers, when it comes to fully adapting and integrating its best practices. Certainly other verticals in both B2C, B2B and even nonprofits, have tinkered with content marketing. But, total buy in to content marketing requires a willingness for existing businesses to change their internal systems and operations to leverage it fully. The hope would be that the additional authority that this acquisition might lend to CMI and CM World would help further content marketing’s movement by convincing B2B, B2C, and nonprofit organizations to make the changes necessary to leverage what is inevitable, i.e. that they have to be using content marketing to compete and win."