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February 2021

The 5 love languages (and how marketers can speak them)

If you haven’t heard of love languages, where have you been? Probably not watching Romcoms or reading gossip columns like us, so we’ll move on…

For those that don’t know (or a reminder if you needed it), Dr. Gary Chapman introduced the concept in his #1 New York Times Bestselling book, ‘The 5 Love Languages’.

According to Dr Gazza (as we like to call him) The 5 love languages are:

  • Words of Affirmation (saying something positive/supportive)
  • Acts of Service (doing something helpful)
  • Receiving Gifts (kinda self-explanatory this one)
  • Quality Time (spending meaningful time)
  • Physical Touch (being physically close to someone)

Which all sound like the recipe for great marketing, don’t you think? (Although maybe not the touching part. That’s more like the recipe for a restraining order).

But it got us thinking. How could we humble marketers use these languages of love to shoot a cupid’s arrow into our customers heart and make them fall truly, madly and deeply for us (and our products/services)?


Well, we’ve got the answers for you, haven’t we? So, bung your “2 can dine for £10” deal in the oven, pop open a bottle of plonk, slip on something more comfortable (like a onesie) and we’ll begin…

Words of Affirmation

Who doesn’t love hearing ‘I’m here to support you’ or ‘you can trust me’? Well, according to Dr. Gazza (and us), not everyone.

We see a lot of the same “positive affirmations” come up when brands are looking at their messaging. Words like honest, trust, integrity, and reliable crop up all the time. But they’re not actually positive affirmations. They’re just hygiene factors that say nothing about who your brand really is.

Think about it. If you met someone in the street and the first thing they said was “You can trust me” would you trust them? Probably not, because why did they feel the need to say it? It’d cause you to question their motives or intent.

It works the same for marketing.



Show, don’t tell

Words of affirmation obviously have their place but it’s much better to focus on “showing” rather than “telling” with your marketing if these are things you want to be known for.

Don’t tell people you’re trustworthy. Show them all your glowing customer reviews and testimonials. Don’t tell people you’re reliable. Bust out some case studies that clearly demonstrate how you’ve delivered great results already.

Now, if you want to include affirmations in your messaging that are truly positive then you need to do some proper thinking and research to hone in on what your customers REALLY care about and what’s going to help you stand out (in a good way).

Get an understanding of the challenges and needs your customers have. Get a clear view on WHY your business exists – beyond just making some sweet dollar bills. And then marry the two together to create messaging that says who you truly are in a way that customers will care about.

Those will be the ultimate positive affirmations.


Acts of Service

Does that special person in your life get all excited when you offer to hoover the house, or cook them dinner? Well, then it’s likely that an ‘act of service’ means you’re talking their love language. It’s all about helping out and being useful, in a way the other party values.

So, ask yourself the question, when was the last time your marketing really ‘helped’ or was useful for your customer?

If you’re honest you might find that the majority of your marketing actually isn’t really that ‘helpful’. Was that whitepaper you wrote really to help them solve a challenge, or was it a very unsubtle attempt at self-promotion? Did that webinar really help them make a plan to combat X Y Z issue, or were you just feeling like you had to do some ‘marketing’ because you haven’t for a while?

Before you start creating your next campaign, ask yourself and your customers what challenges are they having right now? And, then think about what you could actually do to help them address these challenges?

Focus on adding real value and lending a genuinely helping hand.


Receiving gifts

Everyone loves getting a present, right?

Well, yes and no. Presents and gifts are only any good if they’re relevant to or valued by people. Think about all those dud Christmas presents you’ve received from relatives…thanks Auntie Joan, but I’m not sure we need a Batman salad-spinner.


Now, while it’s highly inappropriate (for too many reasons to mention) to approach your customers with valentines-esque gifts of jewels, aftershaves or slinky undies, there is real value in reaching out to your customers and/or prospects with thoughtful gifts from time to time.

It’s something we practice as well as preach. When we start working with a new client we’ll send a thoughtful token of appreciation. It’s nothing big or expensive, but it just shows people who we are. We’re big readers and most of our contacts are too, so we’ll often send someone a copy of one of our favourite books with a hand-written note from our MD. Simple.

We find that gift-giving is most successful when it comes from a place of genuine thought and an understanding of the other person – not just because you’ve got some branded merch or a hefty new whitepaper you want to get out there.

So, get closer to your customers as people, find out what they like/don’t like, and then drop them a well thought through gift when the time’s right.

There’ll be warm fuzzy feelings all round.


Quality time

During these current WFH times, you’re probably finding yourself spending A LOT more time indoors with your significant other(s). But more time together doesn’t always equate to quality time, does it?

So, in that quality/quantity vein, when was the last time you spent quality time with your customers or prospects?

Now, we know (because we’ve been there ourselves) that it’s very easy as an in-house marketer, to get little to no contact with your ‘real-world’ customer (outside of events that would have run in more normal times).

More often than not, customer contact is left to and led by your sales team or account managers. Which means the campaigns and marketing materials you produce will rely on assumptions you’ve made around customer pain-points or some second-hand info.

Which isn’t going to add up to anything that’s going to make an impact on your customers, is it?

Just pop the question

The simple solution? Just ask the question of your sales team and account managers and make yourself known to the customer.

“Can I sit in on the next call you’ve got with the client?”

“Why?” they may ask.

“So, I can get a better understanding of how our client’s think and what things are like for them so I can produce better marketing that’ll get you more leads and customers” should be your reply.

“Of course” they should hopefully fire back and then you can all have a Zoom party together.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get after all.

But you can also get close to people without having to get physically close. Do some research (or stalking, whatever you’re comfortable calling it) of some key customer or prospect people and do what they do. What webinars might they attend? Sit in on them. Which blogs might they read? Take a look at them. What membership bodies are they signed up to? Subscribe to their newsletter.

It’ll all help you get a better understanding of them and the world they operate in that you can use to talk the right language in your marketing.


Physical Touch

If a big old cuddle or a squeeze is what you like, then Physical Touch is probably your love language.

Now, physical touch is a tricky one to contextualise for the world for marketing for obvious reasons. Watch out for that restraining order we mentioned before.

But touch in the sense of ‘touchpoints’ for your marketing is a really important concept to keep in mind.

Depending which source you refer to it takes anything from 8 to 100s of touchpoints before a customer trusts a brand enough to make a buying decision. If you need some convincing, then this source from Google around the marketing funnel and search intent ought to help.

To make sure that you’re touching your audience in all the right places (pun definitely intended) you’ve got to first know where they are, how they want to be touched and when a touch (or not) is the right thing.


But with multiple channels, different stages of the buying journey, and various types of customer (each with their own journeys and decision-making styles) things can clearly get a little complex.

So, it comes back to doing some detailed research on your customers as PEOPLE, not just the faceless “businesses” that some still treat B2B buyers as. Not everyone is on LinkedIn. Not everyone watches Youtube vids. Not everyone will read a lengthy PDF, but some will.

No two people will do everything the same. So be sensitive to how different people go about things and don’t fall into the trap of “well, that’s how I do things so that’s how everyone must do things”.

Doing the proper digging will help you strike the right balance between being “too handsy” and being a “cold fish”.

Play on?

So, to butcher a Shakespeare quote: If marketing be the language of love, how are you going to play on?

What love language do you need to be talking so you’re more “smooth operator” than “tongue-tied wall flower” with your target audience?

It can be a tricky line to tread but if you do the right thinking, commit to some deeper research and take an approach that’ll help you catch the eye of those you desire you’ll be loved up in no time. But if you do require a translator or a wing-man/woman to help you along the way you know where we are.