On Friday, June 10, 2016, The Gary L. and Karen S. Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron’s College of Business Administration will hold its annual marketing thought leadership event, Interaction 2016. This year’s event will address the crucial topic of direct marketing to millennial consumers as well as present the Direct Marketer of the Year Award. This is the 11th year the Taylor Institute will host this important event.

Millennial consumers – born between 1980 and 2000 – represent the 20th century’s last generation, the first generation of the digital age, and significant purchasing power. According to Accenture, millennial shoppers spend an estimated $600 billion annually; by 2020 that number will grow to $1.4 trillion annually. In addition to evolving their own purchasing behaviors, they also are impacting the buying behaviors of other generations. Organizations need to build long-term relationships with Millennials, tomorrow’s influencers, leaders, and big spenders, in order to grow. Marketing leaders should be taking action now to ensure their brands and marketing plans include strategies for increased engagement with Millennials. Our speakers will share their experiences and research to demystify this powerful group of consumers.

Interaction 2016 will again feature speakers who are notable marketing experts, including:

Fred Neil, Global Head of Lifecycle Marketing & Business Intelligence, Amazon

Ernan Roman, President, ERDM Corp., Author of “Voice of the Customer Marketing”

Kent Manson, Vice President, Director of Brand Strategy, flourish

During Interaction 2016, Fred Neil will be presented the Direct Marketer of the Year award. Mr. Neil currently serves as the Global Head of Lifecycle Marketing and Business Intelligence for Amazon’s Kindle Content Division. Mr. Neil is being recognized for his work leading the Kindle Division of Amazon and for his expertise on the voice of the customer, in which companies focus on placing the consumer at the center of everything they do. Mr. Neil uses this expertise at Amazon, which has the mission to be the Earth’s most customer-centric company.

fred neil

Mr. Neil is a global marketing executive, consultant, and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in marketing, innovation, and new business development. He has led FORTUNE 100 and start-up brands in various industries, including retail, financial services, CPG, and technology. He is recognized as a dynamic and influential change agent who engages marketing innovation, digital strategies, and talent development to transform organizations to be more agile and responsive to evolving markets and emerging technologies.

“We are pleased to present the Direct Marketer of the Year award to Fred Neil,” said Taylor Institute Director, Jacob Farrar. “Mr. Neil was nominated by a Taylor Executive Advisory Board Member for his success and leadership at Amazon. He clearly is an innovative executive who exemplifies the best of the direct marketing discipline.” Mr. Neil’s award is particularly fitting, as this year’s Interaction focuses on direct marketing to millennial consumers. Farrar notes, “Amazon consistently rates as one of the most trusted and respected brands by Millennials, and we are looking forward to learning how Amazon engages this influential generation.”

Since 2005, the Direct Marketer of the Year Award has honored practitioners who have had a dramatic impact on the direct marketing industry by adhering to the best direct marketing and ethical practices. Past winners have included Lester Wunderman of Wunderman, John Costello of Mobile Marketing Association, Jeff Hayzlett of Eastman Kodak, Christa Carone of Xerox, Tom Richmond of Little Tikes Worldwide, and most recently, James Moorhead, formerly the CMO of DISH Network.

By: Jacob Farrar