July 8, 2021

empathy noun:

The act of being aware of and sensitive to the feelings of others.

It’s been said that consumers buy based on emotion and then justify purchases with logic. This is why the most successful organizations work with marketing firms that go beyond simply identifying what customers need and look deeper, focusing on what they want and why.

Not every agency takes the time to do this. At A-Train, we have refined a process called Empathy Mapping that helps to quickly crack the code of the best and most effective ways to reach clients and prospects. For those that engage in the process, they leave with a much clearer viewpoint of their target customer, their true motivations, and a visual map that helps to improve messaging, increase engagement, and drive loyalty.

A Pathway Beyond Personas

It’s common for companies to create “snapshots” of their ideal customers. These so-called personas or avatars are made up primarily of demographic data. “Our customer is 40-60 years of age with an annual income greater than $50K and is an avid gardener.” That information is certainly useful.

But an empathy map provides marketers with powerful psychographic data—what a typical customer thinks, feels, sees, hears, says, and does. “Our customer is concerned about the environment and how the chemicals in standard fertilizers impact it. They believe that organic fertilizers can be just as effective when used properly. They attend environmental awareness events and…”

That kind of insight, especially when combined with personas and an assessment of how customers arrive at a purchase decision, is particularly valuable.

The Empathy Mapping Process

To help our clients understand how their customers think and behave, we start by identifying or confirming who those customers are through a rapid-fire brainstorming process. Then we guide participants in a collaborative activity that examines specific audience segments by calling out as many characteristics and personality traits as possible. It is like creating a character study; but instead of doing it for a story, you are doing it for an organization.

Typically, this is done in teams with an empathy map, then constructed by compiling and clarifying the input from all group participants.

Example empathy map

Download and share our sample empathy map.


Applying the Results of Empathy Mapping

An empathy map is a highly effective tool you can use whenever you’re trying to reach a new audience or market segment. It enables you to:

  • Clearly define your core messaging to positively impact your audience targets
  • Align your values with those of your customers
  • Create loyalty in your customer base
  • Discover flaws or gaps in your existing marketing strategy
  • Develop strategies for reaching your ideal customers more effectively
  • Generate more higher-value leads

Ultimately, empathy mapping breaks down walls between you and your customers, enables you to understand their motivations and behaviors, and helps you create deeper, more meaningful relationships.

Let’s Get to Know Your Customers Better!

Our clients find that developing a better understanding of their target audiences makes the full suite of branding, messaging, and strategy services we offer even more effective. If you’re ready to take your marketing to a higher level, contact A-Train today!