You may wonder, “What does a mental model look like?” Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is an example… the Movie-Goer Mental Model (100Kb PDF).
This first example is from some research I did while writing Task-Based Audience Segmentation in Six Steps at Adaptive Path. It is a Movie Goer mental model aligned with tools from a fictitious movie distribution company. And, since the diagram itself is the powerful component of this approach, I will feature a few examples here, before the book is published.
Movie-Goer Mental Model(100Kb PDF)
Introducing JMS Entertainment
JMS Entertainment is a fictitious movie distribution company. The leaders at JMS wish to create a web-based marketing vehicle for the United States that will increase distribution. They plan for the site to advertise new movies that the company distributes. To attract people to their site, they are thinking of offering users several free features.
JMS conducted a study of what movie-goers do related to finding, attending, enjoying, and sharing movies. They then mapped their proposed web-based tools to this model. The resulting alignment diagram will help them determine whether the features they are thinking of offering match up to the user mental model. From this diagram the will be able to validate their business plan and decide where it would be best to invest their energies.