The Youth Lab


Facing into 2021, we’re looking into the future. For this week's 52INSIGHTS we asked some of our incredible clients and collaborators to share their thoughts on the future of marketing - into 2021 and beyond. To spark some fun responses we asked two questions - 1) Imagine 10 years from now - what will marketing look like? And 2) In 2021, how do you think Marketing will change?

Imagine 10 years from now - what will marketing look like?

“A mix of incredibly creative people and powerful robots doing what they do best, being imaginative and being really smart.” Nora Torpey, Group Head of Marketing, RTÉ

“The fundamentals of marketing will remain the same. Consumers will remain at the heart of everything we do. As Marketers we will continue to create ideas and products that are relevant for our consumers, while bringing continuity and clarity of messaging. What will be different, will be the media platforms we use to drive reach and engagement. In the past decade we’ve seen the emergence of Snapchat, Instagram and recently Tik Tok. Who knows what will be available by 2030 and with an abundance of media options, Marketers will need to make smart decisions as to which platform is right for their consumers.” Aoife McGuigan, Head of Marketing SBFI (Suntory Beverage & Food Ireland (Lucozade, Ribena, Orangina))

“It's going to be all about one word, or one idea to be more precise and that is ‘Subliminal’. This is different to not being aware or unconscious of messaging, because we cannot consciously become aware of subliminal stimuli even if we look for it, so it’s at a much deeper level. The convergence of AI with human feelings through technology means that brands who are ‘real’ ‘natural’ and adept at communicating in a way which is not obvious will win.” Tim Casey, Head of Group Marketing – Brand & Product Portfolio @innocent Drinks

“I don’t think the fundamentals of great marketing will change. Channels will change. The way we see, hear and read things will change. Products will change. The mood of the world will change though. And all of these things need to be reflected in our communications. My secret hope though is that the messaging will be about sustainability and that brands will fundamentally change how they produce, distribute and promote themselves so that we build a collective consciousness that acts against climate change.” Charley Stoney, President, IAPI

“10 Years is a long time in any industry. The needs of Consumers evolve. The advancements in Technology evolve even faster. We have seen in the last 10 years within Marketing the explosion of Data being the biggest change in how we operate. It is said ‘Knowledge is Power’ – however, this obsession can often lead to analysis paralysis. The brands that still win out are those that have an ability to cut through with creativity, that entertain and that bring a smile to peoples’ faces. The Technology revolution will continue at speed over the next 10 years – that is a certainty. However, it will be the Brands and Organisations that harness the power of Data & Technology to support Creativity, that will always come out on top.” Mark Noble, Heineken® Marketing Manager

“Marketing, I believe is like entertainment for consumers and businesses and therefore as long as people want to be entertained there will be a place for marketing in the world. In fact in all aspects of life, even in our work lives who doesn’t look forward to the marketing presentation at a conference? How many other functions attempt to create similar videos or visuals…but it's just not the same! As we move forward things will evolve even quicker and I think a lot of branded content will come from consumers. User generated content will become more important and it will be important that brands embrace this and accept they aren’t in complete control of their own brand. As such, it’s imperative that brands create an even stronger identity in the minds and hearts of consumers…transparency will be key, consumers expect more information from the brands they use and they will expect brands not only to be good but do good! If they do, they will win both the hearts and the minds of consumers.” Sharon Whelan, Marketing Manager, Nomad Foods, Ireland

“It will be immersive, 100% personalised and a tech and data driven seamless experience.” Rosemary Walsh, Marketing Manager, Frank and Honest Coffee

"By 2031, if Marketing has proven its ability to read and interpret data and draw the right conclusions for the future, it will have reclaimed the ground that it has lost in the C-Suite and regained its position as a decisive influencer on product development, customer experience, supply chain and pricing – far beyond its current mandate of managing communications." Julian Boulding, President, thenetworkone - a global network of independent agencies

In 2021, how do you think Marketing will change?

“I think the power of creative expression and cultural context will be valued more than anything else.” Nora Torpey, Group Head of Marketing, RTÉ

“After 2020 most Marketers will hope for a calmer, more stable year, but uncertainty will remain. In 2021 it will be more important than ever to listen to consumers, understand how change is affecting them, discover if their interaction with brands is different and lastly what they’re spending their disposable income on. I believe with another year of change, Brand owners need to be vocal and support the continued investment in brand building, especially for long term success. Marketers need to be increasingly comfortable in measuring absolutely everything, setting KPI’s and understanding the ROI on each marketing decision. This will allow flexibility and agility when engaging with consumers, as well as helping to make the right business decisions.” Aoife McGuigan, Head of Marketing SBFI

“Not sure there will be a big change, things will still be unsettled post 2020. I’d say more of a continued evolution for the balancing of ‘collective good’ and ‘personalisation’ of experiences for individuals. Media planning to reflect where ‘communities’ are will be key, and I’m sure there will be even greater focus on R.O.I. for brands.” Tim Casey, Head of Group Marketing – Brand & Product Portfolio @innocent Drinks

“I believe the pandemic has changed the tone and very nature of our consumer messaging and I hope this phase is here for the medium to long term. Without questions, we are now in a more emotive era of communications which is wonderful, creative fodder for the advertising industry and reflects how everyone is feeling right now. However, do I believe the basics of marketing will change? No, and nor should they. Channel choices are broader and digital allows for consumer-led, tactical campaigns in parallel with brand-led, strategic campaigns but, the fundamentals still need to be understood to produce the most effective and exceptional marketing.” Charley Stoney, President, IAPI

“Lots of things in our lives have changed over the last 18months. However, I don’t necessarily believe anything that we have endured has changed the way Marketing fundamentally works – nor do I believe 2021 should be any different. What we all strive to do – being as relevant in the lives of people – never changes. How we might approach being relevant has always ebbed and flowed, depending on the context we face into. In 2021, the challenge will be striking the right balance between telling our Brand stories vs reacting to the world around us. If 2020 taught us anything, being able to adapt a plan sufficiently, without losing sight of your overarching ambition, is key to remaining relevant and therefore remaining successful.” Mark Noble, Heineken® Marketing Manager

“Increased digital, digital, digital….with E-Commerce taking centre stage! Consumers have become so much more accustomed to shopping on line (and not just for gifts) …therefore targeting the right consumer with the right media will be vital but also important to tread lightly…next year will be a tough one so we need to be supportive, transparent and outline true benefits of our brands!” Sharon Whelan, Marketing Manager Ireland, Nomad Foods

“Digital media consumption will continue to increase in 2021 so brands will have to work harder than ever to precisely target their audience and disrupt with meaningful content. We are entering an era of hope and brands will have to show up as positively as possible and walk the walk authentically particularly when it comes to sustainability and social justice.Rosemary Walsh, Marketing Manager, Frank and Honest Coffee

"2021 will be another volatile year. Marketing often has an image (in the words of one CMO) as “the colouring-in department”, but has begun to develop a much more valuable role within corporate management: the ability to use behavioural data to forecast sales and profitability, analysing and interpreting the effect of the rapid changes in customer behaviour, product supply and innovative distribution channels." Julian Boulding, President, thenetworkone - a global network of independent agencies


  • Creative expression
  • Brand building for long term
  • Transparency
  • Measuring everything
  • Meaningful
  • Social Justice
  • Collective good
  • Personalisation
  • Communities
  • Continuity & clarity
  • AI
  • Immersive
  • User Generated
  • Data
  • Sustainability
  • Collective consciousness

...just some buzzwords to guide you into the future of great marketing! We’ll meet you on the road.