Empathy maps – the Why and How

Marketing is a large and somewhat complex subject that covers many areas. Particularly since Social Media and Digital Marketing have assumed such significant roles in marketing strategies.

This article is not so much about where to market, but developing an understanding of one of the critical aspects of marketing from the user’s point of view.

Marketing, as defined by many, is ‘meeting the needs and wants of people.’ It is now widely believed that the buying decision is based far more on what people need, than what they want. The creation of Empathy maps is to do with attempting to obtain a clear understanding, therefore of what people need.

Trying to understand what people need involves a bit of research. Asking people essential questions about themselves and obviously, the questions are based on ascertaining what your client needs depending on what the service is that you are offering. You may be designing something, building something, or developing a marketing strategy. It will work in many applications

How to use an Empathy Map?

Assemble your team and have them bring any personas, data, or insights about the target of your empathy map. Spend a few minutes with each section and write down answers to questions like:

Think and Feel

What do they think about during the day?

Are they feeling stressed, or are they Relaxed?

What other factors are they wondering about during a typical day?

Do they hate their job? Love their job?


What music do they listen to?

What “self-talk” goes through their head?


Are they highly visual?

Are they looking for great design or content?

Say and Do

What are they telling others?

What actions are they taking on a day-to-day basis?


What frustrates them about their current situation?

What are they moving away from?


Where would they like to be?

What are they moving toward?

There is more to it

There is a lot more to this subject and this is pretty much just an introduction and overview. The next step is to use the info you have correlated to identify needs directly from the user traits you noted. Identifying needs is usually based on observing contradictions between two features, such as a disconnection between what a user says and what the user does.

We suggest you use USA psychologist Abraham Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ to help you understand and define which underlying needs your user has.

We hope this article on Empathy maps – the why and how, has been helpful to you and given you a different perspective on marketing techniques. If you are unsure how to go about working on your Empathy Map, Contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

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