The purpose of an Empathy Map is to help teams develop a deeper shared understanding of customers relative to a goal. For marketers, Empathy Maps are used as a way to organize qualitative research and insights about a particular target audience. Empathy Maps are best created collaboratively as a team to synthesize various observations and generate a shared view of the people you are trying to target and serve. To eliminate bias or assumptions, Empathy Maps should be created using actual customer research such as customer interviews and surveys. Once completed, Empathy Maps can be used by marketers for various purposes including designing new customer experiences and generating new product ideas.
What is our target customer thinking, feeling, saying, and doing?
- Gather all available research and data related to your target customer. If you are developing the Empathy Map during a workshop, ensure that all participants come prepared.
- Define the specific target customer or persona that the Empathy Map is based on. Provide enough detail so you and other workshop participants understand who you are empathizing with.
- Describe the goal of your target customer or persona to provide context for the Empathy Map. Write a single line describing what your customer is trying to accomplish in their own words.
- Capture all of your observations about the person and their goal in the corresponding quadrants. Write down the observations in the first-person voice of the customer whenever possible.
- Review the observations to see what is common and group together, then look for observations that may be contradictory and try to resolve. Identify and discuss any new or unexpected insights with your team.
- Empathy Maps should be considered living documents to be updated with new research over time.
- When reviewing a completed Empathy Map, look for gaps or questions that require additional research.
- Empathy Maps are intended to complement, not replace customer personas and target audience profiles.
The Empathy Map was developed by Scott Mathews of XPLANE.
Gray, D., Brown, S. & Macanufo, J. Gamestorming – A playbook for innovators, rulebreakers and changemakers. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, Inc. 2013.