Knowing your customers helps you create products your customers will actually buy.

Empathy mapping helps pinpoint a person, a perfect customer, by using a theory called minimum viable audience. This idea starts with the customer. It’s not necessarily a real person, but a persona that is developed through an in-depth process.

Empathy mapping helps us collect information to form a persona, and by building a worldview of your perfect customer we tailor media to attract him or her. As the audience grows you learn their needs, wants, hopes and fears, and this information will help you create products they will want to buy.

A persona is a figure that is representational of a very specific audience. This is the audience you wish to connect with in order to offer your services or products, and empathy mapping is the first step to building a strategy in how to do so.

Have you heard the Theodore Roosevelt quote, Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care? Empathy mapping is more than knowing your audience, it’s understanding and identifying with them. Empathy is not sympathy.

Sympathy is giving someone a blanket who appears to be cold and shivering. Empathy is feeling cold and shivering while giving someone else who is also cold and shivering a blanket. It’s sharing an experience, a feeling, or a memory.

Another way to describe it is through copywriter Aaron Orendorff, who said it’s about entering a conversation that is already going on in a person’s heart.


Marketers who communicate empathy through content will advertise effectively, without seeming to actually advertise anything at all.

Persona Example

Elma Cherish delivers an elevator pitch to a potential employer in her only suit.

As the interview is completed, she hesitantly shakes his hand because she knows her palms are cool and clammy. She’s been clenching her fists into her thighs through the entire questioning period, trying to remind herself to keep her posture straight and confident; if she looks it, she hopes she’ll also feel it.

Times like these remind her of her mother, and she wonders why they rarely speak. It could be about the money. Her mother’s always worried Elma might decide to consolidate her credit card and go on another vacation. You only live once. At least that’s what the millennials have all be touting. Even at half her age, they sound wiser than she ever has. At 46 you’d think she’d have it together.

Her wine collection is growing. She’s too embarrassed to cancel her subscription for the wine club, because she’s afraid the owner of the vineyard might think she’s broke. When people ask her if her daughter has a college fund, she laughs and explains that her daughter will probably follow the family tradition of stay-at-home mothers. Why do kids get everything handed to them on a silver platter these days? Besides, her daughter started working at 16, and she’s already making more than her.

Her two close friends have it all, and encourage her to keep up. Their husbands provide for half the income, and Elma is single. That’s a source of pride for her, regardless of how far down her ship sinks.

Clearly, Elma is complex.

Like any other person, she has dreams and fears, insecurities and strengths. Even the smallest quirk tells us a great deal about a person and their behavior, how they will react to things. Elma is a customer. And like customers, it’s always insightful to understand them.

We can help you find your Elma. Book a discovery meeting today to begin the process.