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The future of content marketing might be the physical environment.

Brands are finding it more and more difficult to differentiate themselves in a world overrun with competing messages. More media channels mean more noise, after all, something few are willing to concede. In other words, no one wants to take the blame for the noisy state of the world, especially the people responsible for the cacophony. I often make the comparison to high school teachers – who pile you with homework with no regard to the fact the other teachers are doing the exact same thing. So what’s a brand to do? Because even smart strategy is not enough.

Half the noise in the world sometimes feels like it comes from content marketers themselves; their how-to guides and “best practices” are nothing more than litter – if the world’s marketing was half as good as all the how-to’s out there we might not be so distracted by noise, or ignoring irrelevant content, or switching off completely. Of course, if there was uniformly good content out there, all those gurus and experts would be out of business. Another comparison: today’s content gurus, in fact the whole industry infrastructure, is like the weight loss industry: everywhere around us and yet the obesity epidemic keeps getting worse.

The new frontier, but one that’s been around forever really, is in “experience” and more than that in “built spaces.” Marketers are going to have to literally start building spaces to house content, to differentiate brands, to cut through the noise and create memorable things. Successful retail brands have long known this. And so we will see a merger of the built environment (in which to celebrate those brand experiences and events) and content marketing.

Watch this space.