Marketing professionals say the industry will soon be a melting pot of online and offline strategies with custom content taking center stage.

The marketing landscape in the future will barely resemble its current state, according to a survey of more than 2,000 European MarCom students (those studying Marketing, PR, Communications, Design, Advertising and Events) by the MediaSchool Group. If these respondents are correct, the gap between digital and traditional media will continue to dissipate as content marketing becomes a more important component to business’ success.

In fact, 81 percent of students surveyed said they expect content writing and production to be one of their most important job duties within 10 years. This is because 70 percent believe content marketing and ‘PR thinking’ will become the dominant forces in the sector as the barrier crumbles between offline and online campaigns.

This is already the case with some forward-thinking brands. Brafton recently reported Volvo test drives its edgier messages through social channels. If online audiences give Volvo’s branded content their seal of approval, the company moves forward with its strategies. If social media chatter is not positive, Volvo knows it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Students predict cross-channel marketing practices will soon be the rule and not the exception. Eighty percent of respondents told the MediaSchool Group that all agencies will eventually work in both online and offline realms, developing custom content that will entertain targeted audiences on the channels they prefer.

81 percent of marketing students said content writing and production will be one of their most important job duties.

“Content marketing is changing the marketing ecosystem because content is channel neutral, is multi-platform and it needs to be ‘Always on’,” said Clare Hill, Managing Director of the Content Marketing Association (CMA). “It is now a far more conversational approach, interactive with a two way dialog.”

Marketers’ future content marketing strategies will need to be geared more toward engaging and entertaining than selling to audiences, according to 70 percent of students surveyed. Unlike past practices that delivered one-way messages to consumers, tomorrow’s successful strategies will pose questions that compel prospects to respond.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.