We know where, when and how to succeed

The Associated Marketing Group is led by Hugh Kelly (Managing Director).

021 hugh kelly

Hugh joined Associated Marketing Ltd. in 1993 having previously worked in engineering in Ireland, Canada, France and the UK. He has over 25 years’ experience in international trade and exporting having worked with companies with turnovers of as little as sub-€1million up to multi-nationals with sales of €5billion+.

His exporting experience covers particularly the markets of the EU, Middle East, Far East and Australasia. He began doing business in the GCC States (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) in 1993. His sectorial experience has spanned food, pharmacy and healthcare consumer goods, engineering and construction products, and life sciences. However, his skills lie in strategy, channel and export market development, not in the duplication of product expertise.

For the past 10 years, he has been a regular speaker and contributor to government policy on international trade and exporting. He was Chairman of the Asia Trade Forum from 2012-2014. He was elected President (Chairman) of the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) from 2014 to 2015. He has participated on and led a number of Irish business missions to emerging markets including India, China and Malaysia.

He continues to provide Business Mentoring to SMEs on behalf of Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). He is a Director of the Boyne Valley Food Innovation Hub. He has mentored on University College Dublin’s Smurfit Graduate School of Business’ Masters in International Business and University of Limerick’s Kemmy School of Business’s Postgraduate International Consulting Programme. Separately, he sits on the Board of the Royal Victoria Eye & Ear Hospital where he chairs the Audit and Risk Committee.

Hugh holds a Diploma in Company Direction, a M.B.A. from UCD’s Michael Smurfit Business School, Ireland, a M.A. in Mathematics and B.A.I. in Civil Engineering from Trinity College Dublin. He is a member of the Institute of Directors, Engineers Ireland and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Simon Barker (Director) is based near Gothenburg in Sweden and is responsible for the Nordic region.

simon barker

He has 25 years’ experience developing international markets for some of the world’s biggest brands.

Before joining Associated Marketing Ltd in 2015, he was head of Firefly, a marketing consultancy in Beijing, China.

Simon has worked extensively in China, Asia and across Europe to develop client brands. His experience includes market entry strategies, channel development, brand and communications research.

Much of his experience comes from helping clients develop growth strategies based on consumer research. In recent roles he has focused on helping brands develop more effective advertising through understanding motivations and underlying consumer needs. To this end he worked closely with The Coca-Cola Company for several years to test and develop its TV advertising in China.

A talented public speaker and advocate of better insights. Speaking engagements include i) Ernst & Young Seminar “Brand building in China: Developments over the last decade, expectations going forward, consequences” ii) Ghent University Management School “Building China’s middle class: a 20 year prespective on the rise of China.” He has published several point of views including “When we dance with consumers who leads?”, “Value Co-Creation” and “Digital natives should steer your company”.

Simon has a deep understanding of consumers, brands and channels within the context of international market development. He holds a degree in Management Systems from the University of Hull.

Ashok Belani (Director) is based in Dubai, UAE and is responsible for the Middle East and India region.

ashok belaniAshok was born and raised a Dubai resident. Starting to understand business at his dad’s trading company at the tender age of 13, he has since worked with several trading houses and financial institutions. He was Middle East Regional Manager with Glen Dimplex International (a multi-billion-dollar private Irish conglomerate), a resident consultant for Enterprise Ireland – Govt. of Ireland’s office for trade and industry, B2B and B2C, and an export growth consultant for the Government of Abu Dhabi.

He is also a Director of Arabian Gulf Trading that was established in Dubai in 1983 and is one of the regions oldest trading houses. His experience both in trading and consulting spans across various sectors including food and beverage, retail pharma products, construction/engineering products and services, oil and gas support services and luxury retail products. He is well known for his understanding of building export businesses, developing successful market entry strategies, identifying target customers and segments thereof, brand positioning and research. He has active business relations both with private and public entities across all six member countries of the Gulf Cooperative Council, East Africa, North Africa and India.

He has successfully participated in and led several trade missions between UAE, KSA, Qatar, Algeria, Morocco, Ireland, Italy and Portugal. He has been providing strategic inputs to the Department of Export Development at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development in developing export markets. He is also a strategic advisor to the Director of Business and International Relations at Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ashok holds a bachelor’s in Business Studies from the University of Mumbai and an M.B.A. from Lincoln School of Business, UK. He is a member of several business networks and a consultant to several European trade agencies, mentor to SME business owners and MBA students at SP Jain School of Global Management, Dubai. He has deep insights and understandings of export business development, contract negotiation, financial instruments for business and he offers holistic perspectives on market entry and sustainable business growth.


This combined high-level experience has enabled our team to discover, open up and deliver in new territories of opportunity, time and time again; we know where, we know how, and we do it.

Associated Marketing, Experience makes a World of Difference