Conductor will help WeWork offer ‘holistic’ proposition to enterprise customers

WeWork announced today that it is buying Conductor. Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik believes this is a “huge win for the entire industry.”

I spoke to him to get a better sense of how the companies fit together and how WeWork might deploy Conductor’s services and capabilities for its customers, which it calls “members.”

Besmertnik spoke expansively about the overlap and common values of the two companies. “WeWork thinks holistically about its members. It started out helping businesses of all sizes manage their presence and culture,” he explained. “We’re different but similar; we think marketing can be used as a force to do good. We want to educate our customers to make better decisions.”

Besmertnik sees the deal as “huge validation” for the SEO community. The deal comes at a time of declining organic reach, though high-quality, trustworthy content is probably more valuable than ever.

In the blog post announcing the deal, WeWork said that enterprise customers were the fastest-growing part of its business:

When WeWork started in 2010, our focus was the startups and small businesses that filled our first few locations. In the subsequent eight years, we’ve welcomed hundreds of the world’s largest corporations — like GE, Mastercard, and Samsung — into our more than 200 locations. These large companies are now the fastest growing part of our business, making up 25 percent of our membership.

Conductor’s services will be offered to those enterprise customers. Besmertnik said WeWork would be putting together marketing packages but wasn’t specific about what they were. He also said new marketing services would be added to Conductor’s current offerings.

Besmertnik added that Conductor would also be offering marketing education through another WeWork acquisition, the Flatiron School.

Beyond shared values, there’s a more complete proposition that the combined company can offer. WeWork has helped businesses manage their physical presence; Conductor will do the same for digital presence, according to Besmertnik.

The logic behind the acquisition wasn’t immediately apparent to many. But upon closer inspection, it makes a lot of sense. WeWork owns Flatiron School, as mentioned. It also now owns MeetUp. The company is building a broad portfolio of educational tools, physical space (including MeetUp) and other resources, now including Conductor, to help individuals and businesses grow and realize their potential.

Besmertnik likened WeWork buying Conductor to when Adobe bought Omniture. “At that time people didn’t get it; what’s this Photoshop company [doing] buying a web analytics company?” he commented. “But look what happened to Adobe’s stock.”

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