When it comes to high-tech marketing, there's always room for improvement—especially with the economy plodding, products continuing to rapidly evolve and upper management demanding better bottom-line return.

In times like these, companies rely on their top inside sales managers and turn to the best outside coaches and experts. Tech companies such as Alcatel, Genesys and SGI, and automakers Daimler Chrysler and Ford, are testing new techniques in the battle for market share.

One of those techniques is "neuromarketing," an approach based on neuroscience. Neuromarketing aims to map brain patterns and provide a more direct path to human decision-making.

The Neuroscience Claim

Already, there are services and companies that are guiding corporations and smaller businesses in understanding the powerful fundamentals of the brain. For example, Neurosense, Ltd. in the UK offers MRI scanning and psychological testing that profiles brain activity in response to products, ads and packaging.

In Chairman Michael Brammer's words:

Accurate estimation of consumer demand and preference is vital for the success of new products [and sales]. Because so much of our thought occurs in the unconscious, traditional research methods that mine the surface are likely to miss many of the factors that influence consumer behavior.

"Bridging the gap between mind and behavior is thus one of the key challenges that face marketers today," Brammer says. "Cognitive neuroscience now offers us a means to bridge that gap."

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Howard Greenfield is principal of Go Associates, a consultancy that develops and implements high-tech product marketing and business development strategies. He is the creator and former manager of Sun Microsystems's first Media Lab. He can be reached at howard@go-associates.com.