Are Push Notifications Pushing You Away?

FSP Push Notifications

Ding, ding, ding went the bell…but it’s more likely your smartphone. Judy Garland was talking about your heart in the Trolley Song, but today’s phones are clanging, dinging and zinging and nobody’s actually talking. So what’s all the noise about? Push notifications.


I wanted to talk about the pros and cons of push notifications as it relates to financial service professionals. Should I have them turned on? Should I have them go away? And a few things in between. Let’s first start with…

What is a Push Notification?

Those are the little messages you receive from your smartphone applications. The apps are monitoring incoming data and when it arrives, the provider sends you a push notification to make you aware of something you should see.

That doesn’t sound too bad, right? I mean,  you download applications so you can work more efficiently, but what happens when a good thing is overused and abused? I also know peanut butter is a healthy fat, but if I eat a jar of it, it’s not really great for me anymore.

The Pros of Push Notifications

The obvious answer is you learn about something more immediately. The application is doing the work for you to tap you on the arm and say, “Hey, pay attention to this!” My personal examples include:

  • I want to know about a text message coming through.
  • I want to know when my best clients are emailing me.
  • I want to know if my bank account was accessed.

These push notifications help me work efficiently throughout the day. I can put my energy and brain power into things which are important and matter. I can then react on items of importance. This is a good form of disruption.

The Cons of Push Notifications

I know this is going to sound completely crazy as a social media strategist, but I took a one-month hiatus from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest push notifications. Yep, I went to my phone and turned all my push notifications off for these platforms (as well as all other ancillary applications I have such as games, note taking, etc.) All of those notifications were no longer clanging, dinging and zinging at me throughout the days. Guess what I learned?

  • I turned LinkedIn back on immediately – I needed those notifications.
  • I’ve left all the other social media notifications turned off permanently.
  • I reclaimed my day without chronic disruption of the notifications.

There was no need for 98% of my phone applications to interrupt my day and rob me of valuable focus time. I understand developers are trying to use these notifications for marketing too, but it was a real pain in the ass to keep my attention focused on a money-making activity.

There is a myriad of other ways push notifications can really suck too. I’ve seen every one of these examples below. When developers of the applications do not take into account:

  • Is the information being shared an ad, irrelevant, trivial or downright spam?
  • Is the push coming at an inappropriate time of day (or night – I hate those!)?
  • Is the messaging appropriate to the audience?

For these reasons alone, I’ve become a huge believer now in turning all your notifications off, except for the ones which make/break your business, of course.

How have push notifications helped or hindered you? Inquiring minds would like to know! Any tricks you’ve found to help tame the notification beast? Let’s hear about them!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite


Wearable Technology – hats off to @JohnHancockUSA and #MayThe4thBeWithYou

jawboneI’m sitting at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Colorado today writing this post.  I’ll be speaking at a broker-dealer conference to some awesome people about the power of social in their business practice.  As I walked around this gorgeous property earlier today, I noticed something.  Everywhere I looked I saw them, including me.  You know who you are…the folks embracing wearable technology.

Wearable technology is not a fad, my friends.  We are tracking everything in life from our heartbeat to steps to our sleep.  Whether you are loyal to Fitbit, Garmin or Jawbone (my preference at the moment) – – these devices are changing the way we look at fitness and tracking.  I have no idea how they work and I don’t care – I just love to see people embracing the concept of taking technology everywhere with them.  I love it more when I see companies in the financial services sector step-up and say, “We want to be different too.”  Can I get a witness?

John Hancock recently launched a new product feature called Vitality – and it’s very special.  When I read the product folder and it claimed to be “an innovative life insurance solution that rewards healthy living” I immediately thought it was just another credit program.  I mean, what would be different about that?  So many insurance companies have health credits where they offer a kickback to help insureds get a better rating at issue.  Yeah, that’s nice, but who gives premium credits? Yep, you heard me right:  the healthier you live, the more you can save on your insurance premium.

When I went to the John Hancock with Vitality website, I read about all the ways they help.  After you purchase your life insurance you will receive a free Fitbit device.  You start tracking and logging all your steps.  In addition, you receive a free health check annually.  Depending on the amount of life insurance you purchase, you could even receive additional discounts on health gear, hotels, cruises and shopping.  But I’m really intrigued with the idea of the wearable technology helping a client receive discounted insurance premiums.

The program is available up to age 70; that covers a lot of folks.  Depending on the client’s level of engagement with the program (and right now about 70M people are wearing some type of fitness device) a client could save between 5-10% on premiums each year.  Think about that…if your annual premium was $1,000 – what normal client wouldn’t want a $100 back?  I would!  If you get into the larger cases where the annual premium is $10,000 – I’m pretty sure even a wealthy client would love to get $1,000 back if all they had to do was walk and do their annual physician directed wellness exams.

One of the eye-openers I got was the Vitality Age calculator.  I always think I’m pretty funky and fresh at 44, but Vitality said my current lifestyle puts me at age 51.  Kerplunk!  Take the test by going here: – -It seems I have some work to do! Do you?

My point is that wearable technology is going to continue to change and companies like John Hancock were very smart to realize this early on, make adjustments to their product to include this valuable data and offer clients a new way to engage with their insurance purchases.  If you would like more information on this, go to

…sorry to run off, I have some exercise to go log!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC!

Sheryl Brown @BIONICsocialite