Southern exposure: inMotion says acquisition by New England firm will boost U.S. client base

Jamie McIntosh
Jamie McIntosh

Prominent Ottawa digital marketing agency inMotion says it’s poised to double its headcount by the end of the year and add dozens of major U.S. associations to its client list after being acquired by a New England-based company.

The local organization – which provides digital marketing, social media, web development and video production services to more than 50 clients – said this week it’s been purchased by Virtual Inc., a professional services firm based in Wakefield, Mass. 

Financial terms of the deal, which closed three weeks ago, were not disclosed. However, inMotion president Jamie McIntosh, who was the firm’s sole shareholder, told OBJ he no longer has an ownership stake in the company but will stay in his current role as part of the agreement.

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Founded in 1979, inMotion now has 15 employees. The agency, which is now a division of Virtual Inc., will remain based in its current office in the iconic Civic Pharmacy building at the corner of Carling and Holland avenues. 

McIntosh said Virtual plans to continue growing inMotion’s operations, adding the agency expects to double its Ottawa employee count before the end of 2022.

Expanding customer base

“For our clients, it’s business as usual,” said McIntosh, who took over inMotion in 2016.

The firm provides marketing services to more than 50 of the country’s largest professional associations and health-care organizations, including the Canadian Dental Association, the Egg Farmers of Canada, Canada Pork and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

While inMotion weathered the storm early in the pandemic and has since seen its revenues grow nearly 25 per cent, McIntosh said the sale will allow the agency to expand its customer base in ways it otherwise could not. 

Virtual already provides HR, public relations and events planning to about 90 large U.S. associations, but until now the company lacked digital marketing expertise. With the acquisition of inMotion, those customers will now have access to the Ottawa firm’s award-winning services.

In a statement, Virtual chief executive Andy Freed said inMotion “brings impressive capabilities and resources” to the Massachusetts firm, including “breakthrough creative, professional-grade video production, eye-catching web design, and more.” He said the acquisition will add “top-tier organizations to our client base. We couldn’t be more pleased.”

McIntosh said Virtual executives first broached the idea of a deal early this year as part of their ongoing search for a potential partner to beef up the U.S. firm’s digital marketing capabilities. Talks moved quickly from there.

“The culture really matched up very well to what we had built here with InMotion,” he said. “The synergies were just too hard to overlook. Everything sort of lined up perfectly.”

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