How To Completely Identify & Research Your Target Audience
In Less Time Than A Weekly Trip To The Grocery Store
Without Being Or Hiring A Professional Copywriter
The Ultimate Method to Conduct Audience Research
If you’re a UX (user experience) designer, you’re certainly well-aware of the value of empathy in creating products that actually add value to your users’ lives. And to gain knowledge of the attitudes and behaviors of your users, an empathy map has emerged as one of the highly effective audience research tools.
In this article, we’re going to discuss a method called “Audience Cubes,” which’s designed to take your audience marketing research to another level. While the foundation of Audience Cubes is based on the key features of an empathy map, our team has added some more functionalities to it to make it one of the best methods of audience research.
Before delving deeper into Audience Cubes, it’s important to understand an empathy map first.
What’s an Empathy Map?
Originally developed by Dave Gray, the empathy map attempts to minimize misunderstandings about target audiences and miscommunication among UX team members. With the help of this audience research tool, designers can thoroughly comprehend user behaviors while visually communicating their findings to the entire team.
When conducting design research, we get to learn many different things about our users from lots of factors, and an empathy map lets us sum up those findings in an easy-to-digest format. In other words, it helps us gain a comprehensive understanding of our users so that we can design and develop the right product and/or service for them.
Apart from helping you in empathizing with your target audience, you can also use empathy maps to build user personas before you start the general ideation and user flows stages of a project.
What Are the Core Elements of This Audience Research Tool?
In a group activity focused on marketing research, you can create an empathy map using a large piece of paper, an Excel file, or a whiteboard. While there’re modified versions of the empathy map available in the market (such as “Audience Cubes”), its core components remain the same.
It’s divided into the following four sections, with a large circle at their center representing the user.
This section is filled with direct quotes from customers or users about the product or service. Use their direct statements captured during the research or interview phase to get a deeper understanding.
Though this section might contain content similar to the “Say” section, it prioritizes what a customer/user is thinking when they interact with the product/service in a specific environment. By having a deeper look into what’s going on in a customer’s or user’s mind, you get deeper insights into their thought process and the way they’re related to the product/service. This section of an empathy map should also let you understand what matters most to the customer/user.
This section aims to discover the emotional state of the customer/user. Here, you get answers to questions like “what are the things that excite or worry the customer while using the product/service?” and “what’s their overall feeling during the product experience phase?” To make the information easily digestible, you can create a list of the emotions with a short description of the reason behind each of them.
This section displays the actions taken by the customers/users and the way they take them. These actions can be anything, from doing more research and comparing products to postponing big decisions, asking friends, and more.
Even if you find similar statements in these statements, it’s advised not to modify any information. This is because the more data you have, the more you’ll be able to gain insights into the target audience. You can always update all the sections of the empathy map whenever more data become available throughout your project.
The Core Components of Audience Cubes: The Ultimate Target Audience Research Tool
Now that you know what is Audience Cubes, let’s take a look at brief overviews of its unique features that can maximize the effectiveness of your marketing research. This audience marketing research tool contains fifteen cubes, each with a few questions to be answered.
- It represents the wants of the users, such as who and what, according to them, will save them. It also provides information on how they’ll achieve it.
- It’s about users’ needs, like what they actually require to meet their needs and the way they can achieve them.
- The third cube provides information on what the users want to be and do if they become successful or get a superpower.
- This is about the fears, both realistic and unrealistic, of the users and the uncomfortable voices or scripts they have in their subconscious minds.
- This cube gives information about users’ anger or frustrations and the factors that trigger these feelings.
- This provides information about the risks and threats the users face and three of their biggest problems or obstacles.
- This section of Audience Cubes helps you get a deeper understanding of users’ world. You get information about their peers’ perspectives about them and the present and upcoming trends in their lives or businesses.
- Similar to the representation of the user at the center of the empathy map, this cube gives detailed information about the user – from the name, age, gender, and race to location, education, occupation, and any other important details.
- This cube is about the influential factors in users’ lives. Pieces of information include who and what influences them.
- Here, you get to know what the users say to themselves and how they explain their situation to others. This cube also provides information about whether they try to justify things when talking to others about their situation or if they suffer without saying anything.
- This cube represents how the users act in public and the images they try to portray. You’ll also get information on if they make any biased decisions and the differences between what they say and their deeds.
- This cube contains assessment questions to help you figure out whether or not your target audience is the right fit for your program/offer.
- This cube provides the factors that place your business or organization in such a position that the users should listen to you.
- This cube provides information about the biggest competitor in your niche or industry, together with the flaws in its product/service.
- This cube discloses the differentiators between your product/service and that of your competitor and how they make your solution more effective. This also provides information about the specific result provided by your solution.
In addition to these cubes, our audience marketing research tool also has “Program Steps,” a “Question” section for you, an optional “About You” section, and a section for money keywords for the particular niche.
When your team members complete all the sections, take some time to think about their inputs. Ask them if the activity generated new insights or modified their perspectives. Finally, gather ideas and conclusions generated by the participants and share them with teams.
As you can see, Audience Cubes has made it a more simplified task to empathize with your target audience. You only need to ask your team members to fill out a minimum of three items or lines for each cube to build a solid understanding of your prospective users.
Just remember that Audience Cubes isn’t a method that can transform the mindset of everyone in the company into a user-centric one. Instead, it’s designed to motivate the participants to prioritize the user in the product development process.
Why Should You Use Audience Cubes Marketing Research Method?
Are you still thinking about why you should start using Audience Cubes or switch to it from other audience research tools? Here’re some of its real-life benefits that may help make up your mind.
- An easy and fast method
Your team members can easily and quickly complete Audience Cubes. As mentioned earlier, you only need a whiteboard, a large piece of paper, or an Excel file to conduct the activity.
- Allows participation of many people
You can involve many people from different teams to maximize the effectiveness of this audience marketing research tool. From your own team members and product owners to tech and non-tech members and members of the management, you can involve anybody. In fact, the more viewpoints and ideas you get, the better product/service you can design.
- Helps to design the solution from clients’ viewpoints
Audience Cubes helps you think beyond your expectations and comprehend the differences between your ideal product vision and what’s required by your target audience.
- Gives a realistic image of your user persona
Since Audience Cubes uses the information shared by real people, you get a realistic image of your user persona instead of having subjective insights. This helps you work with an authentic source of information.
- Can be used to design any product/service
As this audience research method isn’t restricted to any particular niche or industry, you can apply it to design any kind of solution.
- Can be used in other stages of the product development process
You can use Audience Cubes as a guideline or an additional tool for other design and development stages, such as prototyping and testing.
Things to Remember When Using Our Audience Marketing Research Method
Here’re a few tips to have an effective session with Audience Cubes.
- Modify the method according to your requirements and situation
If required, modify the cubes to align with your user persona, available data, or session goal. You can change anything to have a productive exercise and useful results.
- Focus on the things that matter most to your project goal
There’s no need to capture every behavioral and emotional aspect of your target audience. Rather, your focus should be on understanding its world and gathering information related to your project.
- Don’t focus too much on the correct classification of information
If you divide the participants into multiple groups and want each group to fill out Audience Cubes, you may observe some participants getting concerned about putting the right information in the right cube. While this is important, it isn’t the goal of the activity. The goal of using our audience research tool is to empathize with the target audience.
A Few Lines on the Limitations of Audience Cubes
While you may find similarities between user personas and Audience Cubes, they aren’t the same thing. Often, user personas are more complex to build and provide more value than audience research tools. Methods of audience research, including Audience Cubes, are intended to provide you with an overview of the user, but a user persona examines that user thoroughly and identifies the actual factors behind their motivation.
While Audience Cubes is an easy, fast, and cost-efficient method to gain an understanding of your target audience, you cannot get the best results by using it alone. You must find and utilize other user-centered methods such as scenarios, journey mapping, user flows, etc., to get the closest possible comprehension of the perspective of the user.
Audience Cubes Final Takeaway
Hopefully, we’ve been able to provide you with all the important information on Audience Cubes. While this audience research tool cannot offer an ideal solution to each kind of user behavior question you might have during the product development process, it can surely eliminate bias from your designs, predict user behavior, and provide vital yet overlooked information and missed elements of user research.