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About the Oxford Future of Marketing Initiative

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No single organisation can take on the new challenges of the digital transformation of marketing on its own. And no business school should conduct research and teach current and future leaders without true industry collaboration and partnership.  

As such, Professor Stephen and Oxford Saïd launched the Oxford Future of Marketing Initiative. This is a unique approach which brings together the brightest academic minds with high-level industry partners representing major brands, agencies, and technology companies – the key players who are shaping (and being shaped by) the future of marketing. Together, they discuss, debate, and address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for marketing in our increasingly digitised, socially interactive, and technologically complex world.


  • Oxford Saïd will be a global hub for research and thought leadership around issues that strike at the heart of the future of marketing, and will bring together leading academics and organisations to work on these issues.
  • The initiative will be a conduit for leading organisations to inform, contribute to, and impact Oxford Saïd’s marketing curriculum so that future and current business leaders are can be better-informed and future-ready marketers and executives.
  • The initiative’s faculty will conduct research with the support (e.g. data, resources) of the industry partners. The research will be grounded in real-world issues of relevance to marketing practice. Moreover, it will generate actionable insights that partners can use to drive changes that give rise to measurable business impacts.
  • The initiative is about the future of marketing, not the past, so our collective thinking should always keep the future in mind.

Key themes

Priorities for research, thought leadership, and industry engagement

1.   Future customers

Marketers are facing the challenge of understanding the customers of the future, which includes the younger generations (e.g. Generation Z and Generation Alpha) who use technology to interact with organisations and each other in very different ways to the generations that came before them

2.   Future marketers and business growth models

Of interest to many is the marketing function of the future and what marketers need to be able to do, as well as what future marketing-driven growth models should/could look like.

3.   Future measurement and assessing the impact of marketing in an expanding multi-channel world

A perennially important topic involves measurement (i.e. KPIs, metrics, effectiveness etc). We need to better understand what to measure, how to measure, and why we measure in the environment we currently face (and will continue to face) which has an expanding set of channels and touchpoints. This all operates as complex system but this system and how everything works together is not necessarily well understood.

4.   Future role of marketing, meaningfulness, and purpose

Increasingly of interest is meaning and purpose within a marketing context. At the heart of this are considerations of how we can (or should) think about moving from having customer 'relationships' to considering more 'meaningful connections' between customers and brands. More broadly, this theme speaks to the future role (and possible breadth) of marketing in organisations.

5.   Future role of creative in marketing 

The role of creativity in marketing has been questioned, and its importance even doubted by some in the industry, because of the rise of big data and associated data science and analytics tools being used by marketers. As we enter into the age of artificial intelligence, questions about the importance of creativity in marketing (at least in a traditional marketing sense) will continue to be asked. There is, however, a definite place for creativity and innovative thinking in the future of marketing.


Our partners include:

  • Allianz Insurance plc
  • Facebook
  • General Assembly
  • Kantar Group
  • L’Oréal
  • Nucleus Marketing Solutions
  • Teradata

Find out more about this research initiative

The Future of Marketing
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Oxford Future of Marketing Initiative