The Empathy Map: Discover the Promised Land

Josh Barney
6 min readJan 25, 2018


Think you know your target market inside out?

We bet you don’t.

In fact, we know you don’t.

If you’ve created a CUSTOMER AVATAR already, you’re one step closer to an incise, targeted marketing campaign.

If you haven’t, get over there NOW. You’ll need a Customer Avatar to understand this lesson properly.

And trust us, this could do WONDERS for your business.

Yes, we know we’re banging on about it, but please, create an avatar because we really want you to get this.

We’ve had tons of businesses come to us without a clearly defined target market.

Most of them didn’t even know that’s where their problem lied. Until they told us their adverts weren’t working, or they weren’t getting referrals, or they were seeing a high bounce rate on their site.

If you’ve got a business with a product/service that solves a problem and has a customer friendly value ladder, but it’s converting at low level, stick around and we’ll show you how to find the problem.

The Empathy Map: What Makes It Tick

The empathy map goes one step further than the customer avatar.

Our goal is to develop a deeper understanding of our customer within a given context, such as a buying decision or an experience using a product or service.

In other words, it puts you in your perfect customer’s shoes, in the face of your business.

A detailed map will clarify your customers’ perspective, their world view, emotions, beliefs and a range of other external factors that you probably hadn’t even considered.

The Empathy Map: Don’t Be You

Before we delve into building one, we really need to hammer something home:

You must answer everything from your customer’s point of view.

This means no bias, no subjectivity and no slipping into a business owner/managers shoes.

The empathy map will not work unless you stick to his principle.

The Empathy Map: Let’s Get Building

Einstein could just talk you through the process and send you on your way, but that’s not our style.

We’re going to build one alongside you, and explain every step on the journey.

Nothing clarifies a marketing lesson like an example, does it?

The Empathy Map: A Template

The first thing we’ll need to do is get hold of our CUSTOMER AVATAR.

Got it? Great. Now, get in the mind of your perfect customer. Put yourself in their shoes. Read the avatar again. Get a firm grip on how their day unfolds.

Grab yourself a piece of paper, a whiteboard, basically anything with a ton of white space.

Draw a vertical line down the middle and a horizontal line through the middle of that.

Your page should be broken into four quarters.

The Empathy Map: Four Parts Make a Whole

Write one of these words in each of your quadrants:

This is ours:

We’re going to put our business/product/service in front of the customer, and populate our empathy map with the appropriate sense.

As we’re in the marketing industry, we’re going to create a really simple Empathy Map for our target customer. His name is Ian.

The Empathy Map: An Example

In order to fill the empathy map properly, you’re going to need to answer a whole host of questions.

Einstein will give you an example, and then roll out a list of questions that will ease the process for you.

What does Ian HEAR?

Ian has been married for ten years, almost as long as he’s run his own business. He makes a decent income from the business, but would like to take it to the next level, and have more time with his family.

His wife thinks he works too hard. She often tells him to “Take a break from the business and spend more time at home. You’re working too hard! It’s not good for your health.”

As you’d expect, there are few people (if any) that have a greater influence on Ian’s buying decision than his wife. Her opinion is massive, so we must understand it in order to present our offer and service in the most appealing way.

We’d use this factor to promote our marketing strategy in a DONE FOR YOU/TIME SAVING way.

If Ian’s wife is always telling him to ‘have more time at home’ and he’s looking for a MARKETING AGENCY that can solve this problem, we must optimise our business and products to do this.

The Empathy Map: Questions and Answers

You’re going to need to answer a few questions in depth for each quadrant.

Yes, we know it might take some time, but if you’re committed to success and want to increase SALES and CONVERSIONS, there is no shortcut.

Here’s some good example questions for you (with Ian’s most important answers demonstrated in the photos):

What does he/she HEAR? (influences)

  1. Who really influences them?
  2. How do they influence them?
  3. What do their friends/family say?
  4. What platform do they use to speak to them? (e.g. phone, social media, face to face)

What does he/she SEE? (environment)

  1. What does your business/product/service look like?
  2. Who surrounds them?
  3. What similar offers do they see?
  4. What problems do they encounter?

What does he/she THINK and feel? (opinion)

  1. What’s really important to them, that they might not say aloud?
  2. What emotional state are they in?
  3. What are their dreams?
  4. What are their biggest frustrations?
  5. What actions do they think will overcome their biggest frustrations?

What does he/she SAY and do? (actions)

  1. What’s their attitude like?
  2. What do they say to their influencers?
  3. What are the conflicts between what they think and what they say?
  4. Have they already tried to fix their biggest problem? How?

The Empathy Map: The Big Picture

Here’s our finished empathy map for Ian, with his most important responses:

Bear in mind, our original list of answers is much longer than this, but we’ve broken them down into the MOST IMPORANT 5/6 responses.

These answers MASSIVELY INFLUENCE our marketing campaigns.

For example, we know that Ian is tired, he’s running low on capital, but is sure that hiring a marketing agency will create more customers.

That’s why Einstein run a FREE to join marketing agency program, on a pay as we succeed basis. It’s one of our clients’ favourites, offering them the chance to take their business to the next level, whilst we work hard to make sure it happens.

This service created such a huge response that we now pick and choose our customers.

And it’s all thanks to our EMPATHY MAP.

The Empathy Map: Points of Action

Use your customers answers as a MAP.

A combination of answers all revealing the same PAIN POINTS/PROBLEMS will direct your marketing campaign to the promised land.

Once you’ve created your EMPATHY MAP you must put it into action.

Run DIFFERENT campaigns that offer to solve DIFFERENT problems. Analyse the results and promote the most popular.

Use the stats to adjust your EMPATHY MAP accordingly. Perhaps there’s an influencer that you’ve missed, or something you didn’t consider KEY to your perfect customer.

And don’t be afraid to test. We’re in business because we’re DOERS, aren’t we?

So, what are you waiting for? Get building, promoting and improving your conversion rates.

If you’re still stuck for ideas, or would like more advice SEND US A MESSAGE HERE, or VISIT OUR BLOG for more in depth digital marketing help.

Originally published at on January 25, 2018.



Josh Barney

Founder of We Imagine Media, creator and marketer. 😎