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Executives to discuss marketing in a recession

NEW HAVEN — Executives from some of the largest corporations in the country will visit Yale University next week to discuss consumer habits and business marketing strategies amid a recession.

The executives will participate in the conference, “Finding the Upside in the Downturn: The Changing Role of Marketing,” from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at 55 Hillhouse Ave.

The event is open to the public, and is $150 for general admission, $75 for Yale alumni and $25 for students.

Keynote speakers will be Michael Polk, president of Unilever Americas; John Hayes, chief marketing officer at American Express Co.; Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, Publicis Groupe; and Steven Sturm, group vice president at Toyota Motor North America Inc.

They will discuss how their companies are re-examining their marketing, innovation, pricing, product and communications strategies. They will also discuss the changing role of new media and technologies, as well as consumer behavior challenges and opportunities.

The program is presented by the Center for Customers Insights and the Marketing Club at the Yale School of Management and is sponsored by Unilever.

“We have assembled the leaders of several world-class companies that are not just waiting for an upturn, but are proactively finding new opportunities in the downturn to discuss what they are learning about the new consumer mindset and how they are innovating and revising their business strategies,” Ravi Dhar, a professor and director of the Yale Center for Customer Insights, said in a statement.

“The easy stuff like cutting costs has been done, but focusing solely on costs is not going to position the companies for the future,” he said.