The Transformational Marketing Blueprint Marketing Master Mini-Class Lesson 4 - Empathetic Understanding of My Ideal Client

Lesson 4 - Empathetic Understanding of My Ideal Client

The Empathy Map

Now that we have a good idea of our ideal client - their demographics, it's time to develop an even deeper understanding of them. It's time to put yourself in the shoes of your "target audience".

So, how do you put yourself in your potential client's shoes? How can you know what they want? Are you even sure what you have to offer is something that they are searching for?

There is a simple way to answer all these questions…

To do that, we are going to work with an Empathy Map - first described by Dave Gray of XPlane (

An Empathy Map is really a customer profiling tool to capture and visualise what your ideal customer is experiencing in a particular situation.  It will help you go beyond a customer's demographic characteristics and develop a better understanding of environment, behaviors, concerns, and aspirations.  Doing so allows you to devise a stronger business model, because a customer profile guides the design of better value propositions, more convenient ways to reach and connect with customers, and build stronger customer relationships.

The Empathy Map exercise looks at the beliefs, values, aspirations, dreams, frustrations, needs and wants of your ideal client.

What is an Empathy Map?

  • A tool to capture and visualise what people are sensing when in a particular context or completing a set of tasks.
  • A way to form a better understanding of people's behaviours, beliefs and motivations
  • The information is captured directly from interviews, observation and other knowledge. The information is best compiled intuitively, fully engaging your unconscious.
  • Senses captured can include what the person is seeing, thinking, doing and feeling with information captured on a big visible chart.

Why use Empathy Maps?

  • Captures information and learning directly from your knowledge of the people you want to understand better.
  • A tool to identify pain points, opportunities and starts to form a basis for improvement and optimisation.
  • An excellent tool to move from user empathy to value propositions.
  • A way to surface incongruencies between peoples beliefs and their actions.

Empathy Map

How to Use an Empathy Map to Better Understand Your Ideal Client:

Begin by drawing this Empathy Map on to a large whiteboard or flip chart and rather than write into each area, draw pictures and symbols.

Some of the questions to ask are:


Describe what the customer sees in her environment:

  • What does it look like?
  • Who surrounds her?
  • Who are her friends?
  • Who are her associates, clients, suppliers, etc?
  • What types of offers is she exposed to daily?
  • What does the problems she encounters look like?


Describe what the customer hears and how that might influence her:

  • What do her friends say? Her spouse?
  • Who really influences her?  How?
  • Which media channels are influential?

Think and Feel

Sketch out what goes on in your customer's mind

  • What is really important to her (which she may not say publicly)? - Five whys, to uncover.
  • What self-talk goes through her mind?
  • Imagine her emotions - what moves her?
  • What might keep her awake at night?
  • Try describing her dreams and aspirations.

Say and Do

Imagine what the customer might say, or how she might behave in public

  • What is her attitude?
  • What could she be telling others?
  • What actions does she take on a day-to-day basis?
  • Pay particular attention to potential conflicts between what a customer might say and what she may truly think or feel


What is the customer's pain; needs; wants?

  • What are her biggest frustrations?
  • What obstacles stand between her and what she wants or needs to achieve?
  • Which risks might she fear taking?
  • What is she moving away from?


The difference between her "before" state and "after" state.

  • What does the customer gain? What are they moving toward?
  • What does she truly want or need to achieve? Might need to do a series of Why?  questions to really get to the core of this.
  • How does she measure the success? How will she know she's achieved her desired outcome?
  • Think of some strategies she might use to achieve her goals
  • How do you help?

Here is an example of "one I prepared earlier":

Innovabiz Ideal Client

- Now it's your turn!

Take a flip chart or white board and draw an Empathy Map of your favourite client.

As you go through this exercise, pay particular attention to what comes up as incongruencies between in particular the "Think and Feel" and the "Say and Do" parts and how each are impacted by the other 3 parts.  This will give you some pointers for how to begin to structure your message to them as you address their Pains and Transformation (desired outcome).

AND - to access the full Transformational Marketing System - go here (you'll need to register with a valid email).

Origin of Empathy Maps

The Empathy Map has been created as a practice by Dave Gray of XPLANE

Further Information

Dave Gray’s explanation of Empathy Mapping on

What is an Empathy Map? by SolutionsIQ


Lesson Activity

- Now it's your turn!

Take a flip chart or white board and draw an Empathy Map of your favourite client.  

If you like, send me a copy for feedback - ideally, record a video, explaining your map to me.  This will help you clarify your thinking as well as giving me a better idea of who your ideal client will be.


4 Lessons

Marketing Master Mini-Class

Your Transformational Marketing Journey, starts here.  Unlock the means to develop an engaging, enduring relationship with your ideal DREAM clients.

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