Know everything about the empathy map

Can you imagine being able to know your target audience in the most detailed way possible? Getting inside their mind to understand what they think of your product or service? Understanding their wishes and needs to offer them the perfect product? Although it sounds like something almost impossible to achieve, there is a digital marketing tool that gets you pretty close to this: the empathy map.

Let us start with the basics and talk a little about empathy: this feeling popularized by phrases like “don’t let privilege cloud your empathy”, consist in putting yourself in the place of other people to understand what is happening in their head, why it affects them, what they need to find, etc. And this is a fundamental need for all companies.

If you want to start an entrepreneurship or have a business, and you are thinking of launching a new product, or maybe you want to perform an effective digital marketing strategy, understanding your target audience and knowing it in depth will give you the required understanding providing them a solution according to their needs.

And that is where the empathy map comes in, as a perfect solution for you to be aligned with the way of thinking of your target audience.  

What is the empathy map? 

An empathy map is a guide based in the emotions and feelings of the target audience, designed with the purpose of defining their tastes, characteristics and weaknesses. The aspects over which a hypothesis is made is based on their emotions and try to comprehend their needs, desires, motivations and obstacles.

A correctly built empathy map allows marketing professionals to create strategies and messages that have a greater connection  with the audience and are more effective when persuading them. Additionally, this tool allows to identify improvement opportunities and to measure the level of satisfaction of the client.

What is an empathy map for? 

The main function of the empathy map is to provide you information to understand in depth the personality of your potential client, giving you detailed information focused on their needs and desires. Thanks to the empathy map it is possible to have support during the analysis of the audience.

A very common doubt is the difference between the creation of a buyer persona and the design of an empathy map, this two valuable digital marketing tools are used to design a prototype client to direct marketing strategies to, but have some differences:

While the buyer persona is created through demographic data such as age, gender, income, marital status, education level, etc. The empathy map leaves this data on a second place to focus on the emotions of the client, having a deeper understanding of their concerns, needs and problems.

How to create an empathy map? 

Before starting to design the empathy map with your team, it is essential to have a buyer persona built, since it is from it that the data to complete the map will be generated. Additionally, it is important that all the people involved in the process know who this buyer persona is.

For example, if you are creating a buyer persona for a home decoration items brand, it might look like this:

Amalia, 30 years old, bachelor in social communication and journalism who has been working for two years from home with foreign companies, earns a salary of USD20.000 a year. She is a single woman that less than a year ago left her house to live alone. She enjoys clean, organized spaces with artistics touches. Furthermore, she attends different museums in the city once a month.

Now, having a defined buyer persona, it is time to continue with the design of the empathy map answering the questions of the six quadrants:

  • What does he feel and think? This is where you explore the mind of the client and you must try to understand their beliefs, opinions and emotions: What makes them happy? What is their dream?
  • What does he see? Understanding the environment of the client is essential because from there you can understand the external influences that it has. Who are their friends? What is common in its day to day? Where does it spend most of its time?
  • What does he hear? The client is exposed everyday to various sources that influence him: it can be the opinions of his co-workers, TV commercials or social network messages, you can answer questions like: What media does he listen to? Who are his idols? What people influence him?
  • What does he do and say? Here we study the behavior of the client and his expression towards the world, as well as his interactions and decisions. What does he usually talk about? Which are his hobbies?
  • Efforts: In this section you must understand which are the client’s challenges and the obstacles that he may have to consume your product or service.
  • Results: Here it is essential to know what success looks like for the user and what would solve their problems.

After answering this six quadrants and having all the ideas about your target audience you must draw the map, either on a chalkboard or a shared file. There, you and your team will start to fill each quadrant with the answers obtained. 

It is important that, in addition to putting all the ideas in the map, you analyze them to group repeating patterns, ideas that are in all quadrants and even those that do not repeat in none of them.

After analyzing in depth the results, you can define a final version of the empathy map that will work for your team as a decision making guide focused on the user.

Empathy map example

Previously we designed a buyer persona for a home decoration items brand so we will follow this example to show how an empathy map should look.


As we can see, each quadrant reflects the emotions of our buyer persona, and this allows us to have a better understanding of how we can communicate with him to generate an effective sale and turn him into our client in our business.

In this empathy map we can understand that the motivation of Amalia to buy our products would be to have an “aesthetic” home to invite her friends and family. We can also identify that a pain point is the fear of not receiving the product seen online and paying too much for it.

Additionally, we identify that she is a person for which individuality is important because within her desires is to reflect her personality in the place she lives.

An empathy map is ideal for each business to make decisions based on the client because currently providing a solution that points directly to its needs is the best way to ensure success.

Manuela Villegas CEO Yes Sir Agency
Personal Brand
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