The Five Love Languages of Marketing Copy: What They Are and How to Use Them

Quality time, words of affirmation, gift-giving, acts of service, and physical touch: how can marketers appeal to the five love languages and charm readers?

marketing copy customers love
Heart strings before purse strings.

In The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, Dr. Gary Chapman claims all humans express and receive love in different ways. A singing telegram on Valentine’s Day, for example, may win the heart of one while embarrassing another. Similarly, takeout by candlelight may be romantic to some and cheap to others.

Your perspective on these and other behaviors and actions determines your love language, of which, according to Dr. Chapman there are five: quality time, words of affirmation, gift-giving, acts of service, and physical touch.

Marketing content has love languages, too. Below, in honor of Valentine’s Day, is a breakdown of Dr. Chapman’s five love languages and how they manifest in marketing content writing.

Love Language: Quality Time

Welcome to 2019! Now hurry up and start meditating, writing your novel, and training for that ultra-marathon you signed up for on New Year’s Day… the one where you swim through quicksand and climb a rock wall wearing a straight jacket. Your teeth and toes are all the strength you need!

With so many goals, commitments, and reminders that you’re forever just shy of completing your self-imposed to-do list, it’s no surprise that time is a commodity. It’s why some people experience quality time with a partner as love. It tells them that they are a priority, that their needs are, to invoke modern millennial parlance, BAE (before all else).

The Lesson for Marketing Professionals: In relationships, this love language means giving time to a partner. In content marketing, it means not taking time from a reader. Don’t waste your readers’ most precious commodity with dense sentences and incomprehensible jargon. Stick to the point of your product or sales pitch, get to that point quickly, and remind your reader that you value his and her time. Your reader will love and appreciate you for it.

Love Language: Words of Affirmation

Laurenly, a women’s clothing retailer in Orange County, California, posts weekly motivational gifs and memes on its Instagram account. They’re relatable and tongue-in-cheek, and they inspire women who love fashion to feel confident and live out loud. The response to the posts is overwhelmingly positive: Laurenly’s words of affirmation typically receive from 100 to 1,000% more engagement than other posts (of clothes, models, food, and sales announcements).

The Lesson for Marketing Professionals: Create marketing content that reflects consumer preferences and choices. In psychology speak, “mirror and validate.” Love, in the form of engagement, will be your reward.

Love Language: Gift-giving

This one’s fairly obvious, particularly if you and/or someone you love favors roses and champagne on Valentine’s Day. According to Dr. Chapman, those who desire material tokens of affection, whether diamond rings and Rolex watches or Post-it notes that say “I love you” left on the bathroom mirror, speak love through gifts. The benefit of these gifts is in their specificity. They were given only to the recipient and are, therefore, special. (Certainly there are those for whom a gift’s benefit is its price tag, but understanding real—versus superficial—love is Dr. Chapman’s aim.)

The Lesson for Marketing Professionals: Here, benefit is the keyword. Does your product enhance beauty, reduce pain, increase wealth? Whatever it does, the marketing content that supports it should highlight its benefits and frame those benefits as special and exclusive to both your product and your product’s consumer. Without these benefits, it’s not a gift at all.

Love Language: Acts of Service

Ever had a partner pick up your dry-cleaning because you were working late, make dinner because you were on deadline for a proposal, or replace the bathroom light bulb without being asked? Dr. Chapman says all of these are “acts of service. In relationships, acts of service are things that ease a partner’s burdens. Their impact, however, extends beyond the individual to benefit the relationship as a whole. (Reducing one partner’s stress engenders peace within the relationship.) For some, acts of service are the keys to the heart.

The Lesson for Marketing Professionals: Like gift-giving, acts of service are about benefit. Their benefit, however, is to both the individual and the group. (In love, the “group” is the relationship; in marketing, it’s society.) For example, a consumer who buys only organic bananas likely does so to benefit both his/her health and the environment.

If your product performs acts of service that benefit individuals and society/the environment/humanity at large, you’d be wise to highlight those acts of service in your marketing copy. A recent study by the Shelton Group found that 86% of consumers want companies to stand for social issues. It also found that 64% of consumers make purchases from companies that do. The takeaway: Love and loyalty are yours if you’re good to your consumers and their cause.

Love Language: Physical Touch

In love, physical touch is about intimacy. According to Dr. Chapman, those who speak the love language of physical touch are happiest when hand-holding, hugging, and doing other, ahem, less G-rated stuff. These intimacies solidify mutualism and reenforce the boundaries around their coupledom.

The Lesson for Marketing Professionals: Replace coupledom with community in the last line of the above paragraph, and Bam!, you’ve got yourself the marketing copy corollary for physical touch as love. Well, sort of. Your copy can’t reach out and touch consumers (thankfully, because that would be creepy). It can, however, foster intimacy between product and consumer and among consumers within your product’s demographic. Do said consumer’s friends use your product? Will consumers feel part of a community if they buy your product? And most importantly, does your marketing content engender engagement, encourage participation, or facilitate dialogue among and between prospective consumers? Ultimately, this love language corollary is about connection, and it’s something your copy must be cultivating all day, every day. If it doesn’t, even the most dedicated consumer will lose interest.  

To speak your consumers’ love language, contact the copywriters at MarketSmiths today. Winning hearts [and minds] is our specialty.


Amanda Cargill

Amanda Cargill

Amanda Cargill is a Brooklyn-based writer, video producer, and marketing communications strategist specializing in food, travel, culture and lifestyle content in domestic, multicultural, and international markets.

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