VIEQUES, PR — Everyone’s talking about “content marketing”, “native advertising” or “branded content” – the hybridization of editorial and marketing materials in to a single content type of mutual benefit to publishers and brands.

That’s forcing the ad agencies to offer their services in these spaces. But, for agencies as used to the traditional church-and-state separation of these fields as are editors, these are strange new times.

“It’s important to create a relevant taxonomy about what you’re talking about,” says ad agency GroupM‘s chief global digital officer Rob Norman.

Content marketing also comes with contextual distribution challenges – when a branded article must be written in a news publisher’s tone of voice in order to resonate with readers, how can it scale across the web?

“It is relatively hard to get someone to write for The New York Times and then have that content distributed off The New York Times in to many many other places – you might argue you’ve lost some of the form and function by taking out of the Times and moving it along.”

Norman was a speaker at our Beet Retreat executive retreat in Vieques, Puerto Rico.