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The Empathy Map

The Empathy Map

Product Managers read the book “Business Model Generation”, and want to introduce you the tool created by XPlane to create a profile of your customers: “The Empathy Map”.

We will explain what it is, why we think you should use it and how. And because we love pragmatic things, we will give you an example!

What is it?

It is a visual tool divided in 6 parts that enables you to describe precisely your customers.

  1. SEE:
    Describe his environment (competitors, partnerships, customers, the other offers it uses)
  2. SAY and DO:
    What is his behavior and what is his guideline? What does he say to the others?
  3. HEAR:
    Who influences him? Does he have a purchasing advisor? Where does he search information about your products?
  4. THINK and FEEL:
    What are the issues he is facing? What is really important?
  5. PAINS:
    What are his major obstacles? What risks does he refuse to take? What does he dread?
  6. GAINS:
    What are his goals? What does he want to achieve and how?
Why using it?

Using the Empathy Map to create a profile of your customers can help you:

  • For existing products:
    Improving your value proposition and adapting your products to the real need of your customers
  • For future products:
    It guides you in your choices of product management and enables you to focus on what matters for your customers
  • By focusing on your unsatisfied customers:
    you can understand the weaknesses of your product and offer them an accurate response
  • For your communication strategy:
    how you should reach your customers and what you should tell them

Click on the diagram to enlarge

How to use it?

The worst way to use it is to do it alone. This is a collaborative tool. Take the opportunity to meet your customers and ask them about their feeling, needs and issues. Then, gather all the sales and marketing people of the company and fill in the matrix with everything you know.

Be careful! You probably have different type of customers. Do not try to map out ONE profile for all your customers. It would not have any sense. You need to create one profile for each type of customers.

Example

Click on the diagram to enlarge

empathy card example

Because it is always simpler to understand something with an example (and because we know that you love them), Product Managers created a map of empathy for one of its clients:

  • a B2B company selling solutions geolocation
  • Clients: SMEs
  • Product: a system of geolocation sales reps to optimize their interventions

The creation of this tool will enable the company to better understand the expectations of its customers or brakes towards the product.

It will define and implement the appropriate marketing strategy:
– My offer it supports and values they solve real problems for my customers?
– My clients are they really willing to pay for this offer?

*Sources : Business Model-  Nouvelle Génération by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur, Pearson – september 2011;

Margaux Parent
Catherine Kokoreff

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