Financial MarketerIFA MarketingMarketing for IFAs

Should IFAs Swear? The Art of Financial Marketer Cursing.

By March 13, 2017 No Comments

Does swearing get you results as a financial marketer? The answer may surprise you.

A few months ago, an academic paper was published showing the relationship between swearing, and someone’s character. It turns out, there is a powerful correlation between integrity and swearing.

Who would have thought it? I was brought up to avoid swearing as it shows bad character. Yet the evidence would seem to dispute this.

Clever marketers such as Gary Vaynerchuk, for instance, have clearly thought about this, and employ swearing very effectively in their marketing.

What does this mean for the financial marketer, however, and for IFAs in particular who want to increase brand exposure and grow their client base? What makes profanity so effective, anyway?

Let’s dive a little deeper…

A Short History of Swearing

What’s your favourite swear word? We all have our preferences. I won’t tell you my favourite, but the one I default to most often in ordinary life is probably the “F word.”

Apparently it has Dutch or Germanic origins, with quite a colourful meaning. I don’t actually have the audacity to share it here.

What’s interesting is that a lot of swear words have their most literal meaning at their root. What implications does this have for you?

Just bear with me. This is good stuff…

The amygdala (grey matter in the brain) is where much of the psychology behind swearing can be found. When you hear profanity, it triggers the same part of your brain which responds to verbal aggression.

Yet swearing does not usually produce fear. Why? Because the amygdala also deals with memory. This means two things:

  • Swear words improve your memory skills;
  • Fearful response to swearing decreases through repeated exposure.

Is that why a financial marketer might benefit from cursing? It elicits a more emotional, memorable response than other, non-taboo content and communication?

Before you start dropping the F-bomb all over your next blog, you might want to read on a bit further…

The Principles of Cursing in Marketing…

Doug Kessler, a B2B marketer in the States, gives five reasons why swearing can be potent for the financial marketer. Profanity can be:

  • Funny;
  • Empathetic;
  • Passionate;
  • Confident;
  • Surprising

This is useful, because it actually provides a caution against littering your content with swearing. For instance, continuous repitition would remove the “Surprising” power of profanity from your marketing.

Moreover, if it is out of character or against your beliefs to swear, then do not do so. Your clients will detect that you are not being authentic, and this will actually harm your IFA marketing.

You also need to carefully consider your target market, and current client base.

Are they reserved, traditional types? They probably won’t warm to your dirty words.

Are they outspoken business owners? They might warm to them more.

However, if you are the sort of person who naturally swears, then it is possible for you, as a financial marketer, to navigate the above principles. This can offer surprise to your audience and project confidence, which makes you attractive.

It can also make your buyer personas laugh and convey passion about your subject. Swearing can also make you more relate-able, which is often difficult to achieve in financial services marketing.

So essentially, it’s up to you as a financial marketer whether you want to use swearing in your content. If your financial content marketing is broken, then simply resorting to swearing isn’t likely to fix it.

For us, and for me, it’s not currently part of our arsenal.

However, who the f$%^ knows what will happen down the line…


Phil Teale is the Sales & Marketing Manager at MarketingAdviser, an agency specialising in marketing for financial services – and especially for financial advisers. Along with our sister company, CreativeAdviser, we also provide bespoke website design, branding, graphic design and video production services to financial clients.

Contact us on 01923 232840 or email me: