Written by Rob Jarvis

Empathic Persona Mapping for Marketing & User Experience

Finding ways to understand people is something marketers need to utilise better in order to predict behaviour, either in user experience or in marketing strategy. Audience types aren’t just segments of your customer base that we pay lip service. These segments are made up of real people, with real influences and real challenges. They have behaviours, emotions and drivers when it comes to your product or service.

There’s undoubtedly been a shift in the marketing mind set, it’s a more user focused approach around pulling the user, not pushing to them with little care or understanding of their needs. I believe all marketers and brands need to adopt this approach as it yields the best results long-term. In my mind it is clear, old marketing used to be about making people want your product or service. New marketing is about creating a product or service that people want.

Without understanding your audience on a deeper level, this marketing mind set is unachievable.

So what’s all this empathic persona mapping about? It’s nothing new, at its core it is all about building a virtual picture that represents your customers’ characteristics and drivers on an individual level. There are two elements to empathic persona mapping, the persona and the empathy.


The purpose of persona mapping is to enable you to communicate with the different user types within your audience with the right information, at the right time with the right tone.

A marketing persona is a snapshot of a key segment of your audience. For marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content, products and services that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.

We create personas with a decent amount of data and a dusting of educated assumptions that we then develop to reflect smaller snapshots of your audience. These snapshots provide a basis for delivering the right messages and information at the right time.

When we can put a name and a background to the target audience, we can meet their needs even better, whether that is via social media, a website, an advert or any of the plethora of marketing mediums available to us today.


Empathy maps are a gathering of information that depicts your customer. It focuses on mapping their feelings, attitude, and experiences.

Creating fully empathic campaigns and design requires far more than just creating a virtual picture – it’s about getting beneath the skin and into the psyche of your audience. Understanding what they think, what they love, what they feel and importantly, what they dislike.

Marketers need to research and build a true empathy map that unites the divide between a virtual persona and the real consumer experience. I tend to use empathic mapping whenever I find a need to immerse myself in a customer’s environment, to see it through their eyes and to understand their motives.

Put these together for your Empathic Persona Map

Combine your persona mapping with your empathy mapping and you have the Empathic Persona Map.  It joins the demographic information with the sensory information. It helps you to paint the clearest picture of the user/customer and allows you to create a strategy or an experience that appeals to each segment.

What does it look like in reality?

I talked about the reasons why and what you should include in your empathic persona map, but how can this approach be put into something visual?

An example would be one we created for a company offering a marketing and communications product to accountants and their practices to allow them to better promote their services and communicate key information. They wanted to target senior stakeholders inside practices and we helped them to research and understand this customer segment.

Below is an example of the template we created and what it looked like once we had completed the empathic persona map.

Empathic Persona Map Template:


Empathic Persona Map Example:


Let’s summarise this into something more digestible

Using a mixture of persona and empathic enables you to communicate with different types of personas using language they understand –  from the way they see the world. You have to communicate to them in the world they understand to get your marketing messages across.

“[empathic persona mapping] …allows you to deliver content and experiences that resonate with the user.”

Get it right and your business will grow from more engagement, sales and contribute massively to the holy grail, brand loyalty. It is the major component behind every marketing process – to give your audience something of true value, to build trust, cement credibility and to introduce your product/service to them to help make their lives better and easier. It basically allows you to deliver content and experiences that resonates with the user(s).