Marketing is about making connections. It’s about starting a conversion, listening to your audience and creating messaging that resonates with them and helps them find the best solution. Empathy mapping is a powerful exercise to help you and your team better understand the people you are doing and want to do business with. While demographics are important, empathy mapping can help uncover psychographics which is essential to creating a more personalized experience.
While many in the marketing field today like to talk about the power of personalization, very few put it into practice. This is because we are so obsessed with results right now. Empathy mapping takes times and can feel like pointless work. But, when you invest in slowing down and making sure you do it right, you actually set yourself up for long-term sustainable growth. In this episode of Hack My Growth, I share about the power and the importance of empathy mapping and how it helps you personalize your marketing.
Hey what’s up everybody? I’m Ryan Shelley and you’re watching Hack My Growth. Today we’re going to be talking about one of my favorite subjects, and that’s empathy. Empathy is what drives us towards connection, and what makes us human. It’s what brings our conversations to life, our interactions to life, because empathy is one of those things that just connects us on an emotional level. Now, when we talk about marketing, when we talk about making a connection, a lot of the time we forget about the feelings that another person may have.
Now, I know that empathy mapping and empathy charts have been very, very popular as of late, but a lot of people still aren’t really using them. It’s more of an exercise we go through, instead of a practical application that we should be using. I’m a huge fan of empathy mapping and I have an empathy map right here that we’re going to go through, but what makes the difference between actually seeing results and not is whether or not we put it into action and we begin to test our assumptions and back that up. This is where we can use both empathy and emotion and then also data and real-time usage cases to see if we’re actually making a difference.
Whether you’re selling a product or service or you’re just trying to make a connection, we have to do it with authenticity, especially in today’s world. There’s so much information, there are so many options that people have to choose from. They’re not just going to pick the one that’s easiest, they’re going to pick the option that speaks to them the most. Now, our brains are very, very fascinating and are very, very complex, and they can really lead us to do a number of different things. We’ve got these really cool things called mirror neurons that actually allow us to experience somebody else’s emotion. This is why we can feel pain or feel empathy for somebody who’s been hurt or in an accident, or when we see that image on the news at night, it begins to move us emotionally.
That’s our brain trying to empathetically connect to the person that we see at that time. But we can also use empathy to help our customers learn to trust us and to show us that we do care about the problems that they have, and that we want to build a solution that’s going to be unique and specific to them. So, how does empathy mapping work and how can we actually start to use it? Well, as you’ll see here in this very cool drawn out chart, and I did it analog on purpose, because sometimes we need to get away from the computer. Sometimes we just need to put things down on pen and paper because here’s the problem. Austin Kleon has a really good point.
He says when you start on a computer, it’s too easy to hit the delete key, and I’m a firm believer of that. If we can do empathy mapping on pen and paper, it makes us, just our mind get just loosened up and allows us just to free flow, right? We don’t have that impulse to hit the delete key because maybe we feel self-conscious, or don’t feel good about what we’re putting down at the moment.
As you can see, we’re broken down into a couple different quadrants. There are four quadrants, and then there are two boxes at the bottom. Now, what do these mean and how can we use this? What is this really all about?
Now, when we look at empathy mapping, obviously the person in the middle is supposed to be your ideal client, the person that you’re trying to reach. What you want to do is put yourself in their shoes and try to experience life as they see life. A lot of times when we begin to market our products or build a website or SEO, whatever, we’re doing it from our own perspective and we’re doing it from what we see and what we maybe think somebody else wants, but we don’t really put ourselves in their shoes. When you’re doing empathy mapping and you go, “What do they see? What do they see every day? What’s their environment like? What kind of home do they live in? What kind of neighborhood are they in? What does it look like outside of their house? Is it gloomy? Is it bright? Are they optimistic? Are they pessimistic? Do they like their job? Do they not like their job? Is the environment they’re in pleasing to them? What are the things that they see day-to-day?”
Begin to just get that picture in your mind and begin to experience what they’re actually seeing, begin to start seeing that in your own mind as if that was your life as well. Then, you want to start to ask, “What do they think and what do they feel? What are they thinking about? What are the things that are preoccupying their mind? What are the things that keep them up at night that they just can’t seem to fix?” Those problems, those pain points in their life that they just spin over. How is that making them feel? Are they happy or are they sad? Do they have joy? Do they have pain? What are the emotions that are present most of the time in their life?
Then, we move to the next quadrant, (we ask) what do they hear? What do they hear themselves say? What’s their self-talk like? Are they positive or are they negative? What are their friends saying to them? What are their peers saying to them? What are their parents saying to them? What are the people who are a thorn, so to speak, in their life speaking to them? As you can see, now you’re starting to get a complete picture of what this person’s life is actually like. Then, we want to look at what do they say and what do they do? Do those two things line up? Because often times we say a lot of things but don’t actually do those same things.
By understanding what they say and what they do, we begin to undercover some of those areas where we can maybe connect with it, because people really do want to follow through on what they say, but a lot of times they have all those other fears that are coming into play that they might have a reaction to, or might have impact on their final steps of action. The last two quadrants are pain and gain. This is where you can start taking all of that knowledge that you’ve uncovered through empathy mapping, whatever that they see, what they think, what they hear, what they feel, what they say, what they do, and just make a list of the pain points that they experience. What are those pain points that are just nagging at them each and every day?
Then, you want to write what do they gain by working with you or using your solution, or joining your community? As you can see, what this experience does is it starts to make your product and your service more human. What we need to realize when we’re marketing, whether it be digitally or traditionally, is that we’re marketing to people. While that is very important, we have to understand that each one of those points of data is tied to a real human being, and that’s again what makes big data so important, because it’s lots of different stories being told through these numbers. So, if we begin to sync those and understand the people that are behind those numbers and the actions they’re taking, and what they’re life’s like, we can better build products, we can better build solutions, we can build marketing and messaging that actually speaks to the pain points they have, and then fulfill those, and actually impact their lives in a positive way.
I hope you found this helpful. I love empathy mapping. It’s one of the most important tools that we use for all of our clients, even our business stuff, and we do it all the time to make sure that we’re actually headed in the right direction. If you’ve got any questions, I’d love to hear them below. You can also hit us up any time on Twitter, @Ryan_Shelley, and until next time, happy marketing.