I’m often contacted by undergrad and grad students looking for information on how to pursue a career in neuromarketing in the absence of established university courses and programs. In most cases I can provide little useful guidance other than to try to work with professors who are involved in the area and and to obtain internships or other appointments at the few commercial neuromarketing companies. With this as background, I was delighted to see a New York Times article about one Yale undergrad who addressed the dearth of formal programs by launching her own neuromarketing business:

In her sophomore year, Emily Yudofsky received an e-mail message from a new organization, the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, created through the Yale University Office of Cooperative Research to support students interested in founding businesses. Ms. Yudofsky was selected as one of 12 participants in the 2007 Summer Fellowship Program, the institute’s first. She was the only woman. “It’s an interesting problem,” she says, noting that when she returned last summer “as a guest alum of the program, there wasn’t a girl in the room.”

That is not daunting Ms. Yudofsky, who set up her neuromarketing company, Applied Resonance Research, last year as a limited liability corporation. She wants to specialize in research that involves public service advertising, the campaigns for nonprofit organizations and causes that ad agencies typically create on a pro bono basis. [From the New York Times A Neuromarketer on the Frontier of Buyology by Stuart Elliot]

Yudofsky’s first project is focused on ads aimed at preventing obesity. She will be doing fMRI studies of ads provided by the Advertising Council with the aim of improving their effectiveness with brain scan data.

Yudofsky didn’t just stumble into neuromarketing by accident. Her father is Dr. Stuart C. Yudofsky, chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Baylor is the home of Dr. Read Montague (author of Why Choose This Book) and has been the site for multiple studies attempting to apply neuroscience to marketing and branding, including the fMRI “Pepsi Challenge” that demonstrated the power of CocaCola’s brand. (See also Brain Branding: The Power of Strong Brands.)