4 Crazy Simple Steps To Discover Your Avatar's Core Problem

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Health tech companies are great at solving problems. After all, they've created technology that solves complex health and wellness issues to give people longer, more fulfilling lives.

But when it comes to helping their customer solve their problems in a way that makes sense to the avatar, that's a different story. What I find is, people in health tech don't always know how to communicate their solutions in clear, approachable language that their avatar will understand.

And the first part of that is really, truly understanding what the problem is. You may think you know what it is - after all you created technology to make treatment for diabetics easier or to help cardiac patients monitor their heart health.

But what you may not realize is that while, sure, people are looking for solutions to big health and wellness issues, mostly what they're looking for is how solving those big problems can solve smaller day-to-day problems that they face. 

So instead of saying "I created technology that helps diabetics monitor their health," you need to think about how your technology makes your avatar's life easier, their day run more smoothly, and their disease more manageable. And when you've found that, that is the core problem you are solving for them.

And when you do discover that problems, you've found the sweet spot for your content. Instead of mindlessly listing the features and benefits of your product or service (or posting about all your funding rounds), now your content can guide them to a real solution.

1) Find your ideal customer

I've gone over this in more detail in this article, but to get you started you need to find the people who rely on your technology to better or even save their lives...these are the people who really need you, who literally can't survive without you. So ask yourself, who is this person? Who really NEEDS you? If you don't take the time to find this person, you'll start speaking to everyone which means you're speaking to no one. 

2) Build a customer avatar

Again, I cover this in lots of detail here. A customer avatar empowers you to know, and I mean really know, your audience. When you find your ideal customer, you learn a lot of data about them, data that is helpful and interesting and thought-provoking.

But when you build a customer avatar, you turn them into a real person, someone with interests and hobbies and a family, someone with a place they call home, a job they go to everyday, problems that they need solved - a real life person with a real name who needs you. This customer avatar will help you know exactly who you are creating content for and help you develop the exact way of communicating with them every single time.

3) Ask questions

This step can happen more than once, and it can happen before and after the customer avatar step. Essentially it boils down to asking your customers questions to learn about them, to be their friend, and to find new ways to solve their problems. Here are a few ways you can use questions:

Networking events

Hear me out before you say no to networking events. I know, they're sort of old school. I know, many companies can do all their business online without face-to-face interaction with ideal customers.

BUT networking at events that are geared for your ideal customer is the perfect place to ask questions and talk one-on-one with real people. If your product is going to change how diabetics treat their condition, go to support groups, meetups, the gym - where ever your avatar hangs out. And I don't mean send your summer intern. You need to go yourself because face time with real, live people is invaluable. 

Ask the people you meet about their problems, listen to them, learn from them. This is not the time to pitch your product or service. It's the time to ask questions, to actively listen, and to ask more questions. Listen to learn not only their answers, but how they talk, language they use so you can use it to speak back to them in your content.

Phone calls

If you can't meet them in-person, pick up the phone. A face-to-face interaction is best, but talking with your customers over the phone will help you learn more about them.


Depending on your business model, this can be easy - if customers or leads are already calling in, you have the perfect opportunity to learn more about them. If not, you can always cherry pick a few customers and schedule a time to chat with them. If it seems appropriate, it's not a bad idea to offer them something in return for their time - a discount, free product, a gift card.

Email survey

Another idea? Send out an email survey to your customers or run a survey on your site or social media about problems customers face and what their ideal solution is. I want to be clear, however, that an email or online survey is still no replacement for an in-person conversation. You still need to meet face-to-face with at least a few ideal customers. When you have a screen between you, much of the conversation - tone, body language - can be lost in translation.

4) Become the customer

You need to experience what your customer experiences. Take a day or more in their shoes, whatever those are. Live a day like you have a chronic health condition. Go through the buying process. Literally feel their pain. 

Try your own customer experience on for size as well. Learn obstacles that may prevent your customers from buying or why they keep abandoning their shopping cart. Once you know what gets in their way, you can create content that helps them solve problems they may face.

Discover the 3 step process to reviving your mission with content. 


Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.


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