Customer Experience, Strategy

How to understand your customer

As property marketers, it’s our responsibility to connect with our audience, understand who they are and what they care about. A great exercise to achieve this, is empathy mapping.

Empathy mapping requires you to observe your customer persona, and make some judgements based on these observations. Ideally, in doing this you are able to begin thinking and feeling like your customer.

This exercise is not about your business or your product. It’s about understanding the deepest truths about your customer market.

As you move throughout the empathy mapping exercise, think about the pains your customer is experiencing. What do they find unsettling, frustrating, urgent or uncomfortable? Doing this will help you empathise with your customer.

An empathy map places your customer persona in the centre of the diagram. The map is then divided into six sections – ‘hear’, ‘think and feel’, ‘see’, ‘say and do’, ‘pains’ and ‘gains’ – each helping you to visualise your potential customers’ problems, perspectives, beliefs and emotions.

Download our empathy map template here. 

For the sake of this exercise, lets place the customer persona of a ‘New Australian’ First Home Buyer, at the centre of the empathy map.

What does the customer hear?

This can include things they hear from friends, family, colleagues and influencers. Example:

  • Testimonials and referrals from friends and family who recently bought/built a new home

  • Bad feedback from friends and family who had a bad experience with a developer or builder

  • Feedback from friends in the community who have price-shopped developments

What does your customer think and feel?

In this section you consider what really matters to your customer. Their preoccupations, worries and aspirations. What things do they consider when making decisions? Example:

  • What can I afford? Will I be able to afford what I really want?

  • I can’t find the home I want for the price I can afford

  • Stress

  • Confusion

  • I don’t understand the finance process

  • I need help understanding the steps of purchasing a home

  • Am I going to be around people like me?

  • What’s the development’s reputation?

  • What will my family think?

What does the customer see?

Consider their environment, their friends and family, and what the market is currently offering. Example:

  • Some friends are renting, not buying

  • Friends who have bought or built their homes have moved further away from the city for affordability.

What does the customer say and do?

What actions does your customer take? Describe their attitude in appearance and behaviours towards others. Example:

  • Asking friends and family for opinions and suggestions

  • Visit different developments and projects

  • Research online

  • Rely on the opinions and suggestions of their immediate community

What are the customer’s pains?

Pains include fears, frustrations and major obstacles. Example:

  • Affordability

  • Remaining close to their community

  • Will I be happy here? Will my family be happy here?

  • Apprehension

What are the customer’s gains?

Gains include wants, needs and measures of success. Example:

  • A home with a sense of community

  • Close to their friendship, family and social circle

  • An affordable home that provides for their needs

Apply the empathy map to your marketing strategy and share it with your team. You could even host an empathy mapping session or workshop with your whole team to ensure all members of your business are aware of your customer’s needs, pains and desires.

To discover how empathy mapping will lead to increased conversion rates for your business, read our blog. 



Judi Carr

A bona fide property marketing queenpin who embraces challenges and new opportunities. Loves a good quiz. Go the Hawks. With a wealth of knowledge and experience in the property industry having worked for some of Australia's biggest developers and property organisations, our Director, Judi, guides and inspires the success of our brand.By combining her extensive property knowledge and passion with her innovative and strategic thinking, Judi always knows how to achieve the best outcomes for clients.