Cambray Blog » Latest Articles
Aug 20, 2019 Vicky Smith

How to use Empathy Mapping to Create Customer Personas

Using empathy mapping can be a powerful way to understand your customers or target audience.

This article provides information on the importance of empathy mapping, as well as providing some example questions from the empathy mapping framework.

What is empathy mapping?


Empathy mapping was created by Dave Gray as a way of keeping the user or customer at the heart of market research.

According to Tuzzit,

A User Empathy Map is used to help determine the needs of a user. It allows you to focus on what was observed and what can be inferred about your different user groups’ beliefs and emotions.

Empathy mapping uses a series of customer-focused questions to help market researchers, brands and companies to better understand their target audience. Questions are sorted into the categories shown below:

empathy mapping example
An empathy map


How can empathy mapping be used?


Empathy maps can and should be used to form and flesh out customer personas.

Empathy maps can be based on your understanding of the customer, but should always be backed up by thorough customer or market research. You can also use empathy maps to highlight gaps in your understanding of the customer.

You should use empathy mapping when running customer focus groups or conducting customer research as a questioning framework.

For more information on how to plan, run and report customer focus groups, read our ultimate focus group guide.

Here are some examples of customer market research questions based on an empathy mapping framework:



  • Consider what your customer is thinking and feeling.
  • What emotions are they experiencing?
  • What is their thought process when it comes to your product or service?
  • What is their thought process when buying products?
  • What are their frustrations or pain points?
  • What are their goals or desires?
  • Are they driven by emotion or logic when it comes to making purchase decisions?



  • What is the customer seeing?
  • Where are they looking at advertisements and marketing materials?
  • What materials or information are they seeing about your product or service?
  • What are they seeing from your competitors in the space?
  • Is your customer reading thought pieces or blogs to self-educate before purchase?



  • What are your customers hearing?
  • What are they hearing from other advertisers in the space?
  • What are they hearing from other customers in the space?
  • What are they hearing about your product or service?



  • What are your customers saying or doing?
  • What are they saying about your product or service?
  • What are they saying about why they need your product or service?
  • What actions do they take to purchase products, i.e. entering a physical location or buying online?
  • Does the customer purchase on impulse or like to plan and research?


Pain Points

  • What is the customer struggling with?
  • How could your product or service help with this?
  • Does the customer respond to advertising which is problem-based?
  • How are competitors letting your customer down?
  • How might you be letting your customer down?



  • What are the desires, goals or aims of your customer?
  • How could your product or service fit into this framework?
  • Does the customer respond to advertising which is solution-based?


Creating customer personas


Once you have conducted customer research and created an empathy map for each participant, you can create an informed customer persona.

A customer persona is a fictionalised representation of your target prospect - anyone you are trying to sell to. Bear in mind, you can create multiple personas for each of your customer types.

If you are a clothing brand that sells to women, you could use your empathy maps to create personas for teenage girls, another for women in their mid-twenties and a third for middle-aged women.


empathy mapping customer personas
An example of a customer persona based on an empathy map


Creating an empathy map-based persona for each of your customer types means that you have a more solid foundation for any advertising or marketing materials targeted towards these groups. By using empathy mapping, you'll understand how to talk to your customers, what resonates with them and where to place your advertising materials for maximum engagement.

For more information on creating customer personas, take a look at our article, 'How to create customer personas that increase conversion rates.' 


How can we help?


Cambray are a specialist digital marketing company. We have over ten years of experience in creating customer personas, using empathy mapping and market research.

Our market research team has worked for some household names such as Land Rover, Durex, Müller, Severn Trent Water and Krispy Kreme.

Contact Cambray today for more information on empathy mapping, or to book a free 20-minute consultation with one of Cambray's digital marketing specialists. 

Published by Vicky Smith August 20, 2019
Vicky Smith