CMWorld 2015


When I sent my mom the above photo she asked me if Hollywood Squares was in town.

Even better: last week was Content Marketing World. The world’s largest content marketing event is held every year in Cleveland, OH. This year I served as a room monitor for the event. Win-win: I represented my city and learned a ton.




This was a serious convention! It felt more like an Apple product launch than a conference. 


The music was pumping and lights strobing by 8am. But why not? We had work to do.


This year’s conference theme was “Bright Lights, Big Content” — the merging of Hollywood culture and content marketing.

I learned a lot from this conference. I’ve argued that data analysts, too, can benefit from content marketing. This week reinforced that argument, and I hope to share some lessons in the weeks to come.

If you’re new to the subject, check out the Content Marketing Institute’s new documentary, The Story of Content.

Another thing I learned: marketers like to have fun. This conference sure had some engaging speakers, quirky trade booths, and fun (late!) evenings.


In his Cleveland debut (which he promised would be his last), John Cleese delivered remarks on creativity and reinvention. Judging by the older folks’ guffaws, I was not the target audience here. But I was quite impressed with Cleese — I figured he was just another old comedian, but he delivered lots of wisdom. 

Come back to Cleveland, anytime, Mr. Cleese — or should I call it Cleeseland?

I felt a little out of place at most of the trade booths — after all, marketing is not my day job — but I found one place where I was right at home. The WSJ’s booth had a hedcut photo booth.463515307373Instant profile picture. And now I’m ready for my weekly column!

CMWorld drew thousands of people from over 50 countries. It was fun to play tourist with them. Tuesday night featured a reception at the Rock Hall, where I hadn’t been in over 15 years.

Wednesday night took me inside the legendary Cleveland Public Auditorium – a first for me.


The occassion was a Barenaked Ladies concert. 


I was pleasantly surprised. I figured BNL was just another 90s pop band. Turns out they are much more — they’ve got chops! The set featured improv, riffs about Cleveland, and several instrument changes (they’re looking quite Mumford above, for example).

It was a great and grueling week. Thanks so much to the Content Marketing Institute for letting me join their team for a week. Looking forward to next year and sharing more insights with my readers.  

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