Neuromarketing can help marketers and media buyers determine the right message and the right design before a campaign even goes out. “What kind of information can you provide that will make an emotional connection with consumers and lead them to read the rest of your information?” asks Rao. “Should it be words? Pictures? In color or black and white? In the top left corner or the bottom right? What about font size?”

One company that uses neuromarketing to sharpen its marketing message is Vistage International, which provides networking and educational opportunities to CEOs. And one of the areas in which neuromarketing has made the biggest difference for Vistage is direct mail.

Laura DiPietro, Vistage chief marketing officer, says that although direct mail has always been a key element of her company’s strategy, the organization’s direct-mail pieces were “blah” before Vistage began working with SalesBrain, a marketing company that specializes in neuromarketing.

Vistage’s old direct pieces were very conservative, with visuals of white men in their fifties, says DiPietro. She and her associates learned from SalesBrain that the look didn’t elicit an emotional response in prospects, and therefore wasn’t memorable, nor did it motivate consumers to take action.

Vistage began the makeover in May, and the company’s direct mail pieces and Web site now feature elements that resonate far greater with their target customers. “We’ve really tried to modernize our direct-marketing tools by including something based on neuromarketing. Our new pieces incorporate a more active sense,” says DiPietro. “The photos we use now do not just focus on people but are more high-concept pictures. The colors are new and fresh and the direct pieces always have a question and then a payoff line.”