MyBudget Secures High Profile Global Fintech Executive

Australia’s leading personal budgeting provider MyBudget has appointed experienced US fintech executive Jason Dell to the position of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) as the company embarks on a new technology and data driven customer engagement strategy.

In a major coup for the Adelaide-based company, Mr Dell, who has qualifications from MIT Sloan School of Management, has relocated from Atlanta, Georgia, to MyBudget’s head office to take up the position.

Prior to joining MyBudget, Mr Dell was Global Head of Product for Kabbage (www.kabbage.com), one of the world’s leading small business lenders with a valuation of more than $US1 billion, where he was responsible for a number of product and customer driven innovations.

In addition to Kabbage, he has held a variety of roles that have helped him develop a broad base of knowledge that accelerates cross-market application of technology.

Mr Dell said the role would provide a range of exciting opportunities and challenges.

“MyBudget is an exciting business on the cusp of a major expansion, helping to build the infrastructure and interfaces that underpin that growth was an opportunity I couldn’t resist,” he said.

“Our clients are increasingly adopting and utilising new technologies and we need to make sure we have a digital offering that is able to meet them when and where they want to engage with us.

“Existing and emerging fintech provides us with an incredible opportunity to not only improve the customer engagement process but use data gathered to refine and develop our services to ensure we remain true to our mission of helping people live the life they want free from money worries.”

MyBudget founder Tammy Barton said the company had worked hard to secure a CTO with international experience and the capability to build new customer-focussed platforms and systems.

“We want to attract the very best talent in the IT industry, the top 1%, and to do that we need to have a leader that is internationally-recognised,” she said.

“We want to build a team around Jason that has the skills to take us to the next level and help us achieve our mission of improving the financial health of Australians.”

“Like all business, technology will play an increasingly important role in our customer journey and Jason has the experience to ensure we remain at the forefront of the industry for many years to come.”

Earlier this year MyBudget, launched its first app for existing clients. The App provides clients fast, secure and easy mobile access to their budget and personal finances and the ability to make changes on the go.

The App gives users the ability to:

-View and access account balances
-View any upcoming activity such as bill payments
-View historic changes and activity within their budget
-Secure web messaging
-The ability to take a photo of bills and send it to MyBudget or attach a document from their device.

MyBudget is dedicated to helping people live the life they want free from money worries. MyBudget is recognised as Australia’s leading provider of personal budgeting services. Since being founded by Tammy Barton in 1999, the company has helped over 65,000 Australians get on the path to financial success.


Don’t Bury The Lead! Why Structure Matters In Media Writing

The inverted pyramid of media writing is one of the most fundamental aspects of good media writing. Understanding the concept and applying it to almost all styles of writing will help you win friends and influence people.

The pyramid approach is a style of story-telling that guides a writer to arrange their piece so the most important information goes at the beginning.

It’s become more and more important for media writers to craft stories this way, mainly due to the rapidly growing number of news outlets in the world and the diminishing amount of free time in people’s lives. Media writers know that if their stories have not captivated a reader almost immediately, then all their work will have been for nothing.

It wasn’t always like this. Before the end of the 19th century, journalist of the time would write stories that followed more traditional, slow-paced format. An argument can be made that the style was long-winded and unnecessary, but all stories would follow a more linear timeline – they began with a ‘signal’ that something important, useful, inspiring or entertaining was about to begin, and from there the journalist would tell the story from beginning to end, leaving the climax, or the crux of the information, as the conclusion.

Nowadays, attention spans have shortened somewhat, and people are much more likely to scan the first few lines of a story to determine whether it is worth their time to continue reading. That is why it is important to employ the inverted pyramid to capture a reader early.

Writing in an inverted pyramid

Summarise the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ as soon as possible. This is usually done with a strong and engaging 23-25-word introductory sentence that can summarise the entire story in one go. Also try to focus the intro on the strongest news value – often simply the facts about what happened where. From there, the first paragraphs of a story must outline the important parts of the ‘5 Ws’ and include the strongest quotes.

Now that the key information has been identified in a compelling way, most journalists write the body of the story so it flows naturally. This includes telling the story in chronological order. Give further detail (often includes the ‘how’ (which was purposely left to expand on after briefly touching on it in the first few sentences)) and more quotes from sources. Be aware that trying to convey too much information in the body of the story (also applies to the introduction) can be worse than keeping it too brief.

Finally, the last few paragraphs should include the background information, general notes regarding the story, and any final ‘wrap up’ quotes.

While the inverted pyramid is mostly affiliated with the news, it is a powerful tool to wield for any style of writing. Perhaps not in a literal sense for styles like features, blogs or fiction, but the concept of engaging readers straight off the bat means that, in a world saturated by information, people will want read more of what you have to say.

Four Brisbane Companies Developing Killer Content

Like I’ve said before, anybody can create incredible content marketing tactics with access to a bottomless pit of money. But for many small to medium businesses (SMBs) in the current climate doing their content on a smell of an oily rag would require a doubling of their budget! Despite these challenges there are still plenty of local businesses doing a great job of using content to build their audience, drive engagement and ultimately, increase sales. Here are four of the best currently doing the rounds. Silver Chef Silver Chef is a 30-year-old, West End based equipment finance company. With annual revenue pushing past $300 million they are quickly outgrowing the SMB category but remain a great example of content ‘done right’. The company has done a lot of work researching the needs and challenges of their target audience (primarily coffee shop, restaurant and takeaway store owners) and develops high quality, short form eBooks across a variety of topics. All the resources are conveniently warehoused in a single page on their website and accessible behind data collection points. The secret to the success of the content is the authentic, authoritative voice and the genuine desire to help customers (and potential customers) improve their business. Some of the topics include;

  • Quick wins to grow your business;
  • Attracting customers using Pokemon Go; and
  • A guide to avoiding common pitfalls for designing your new venue (right)

The other important aspect to the strategy is the marketing of the eBooks across multiple channels, particularly social media. It is no good creating great content unless you tell the world about it! Technology One Again, not exactly a start-up but I’ve included for their great use of case studies. Case studies are the most effective marketing tactic, particularly in business-to-business (B2B) sales where larger dollars are involved and the customer journey can take many months. A great case study provides one of the many steps of product validation required to get new customers comfortable with your products. What makes TechnologyOne’s case studies great? The relatively short length, well organised sections of content and strong buy-in from the customer. The Victorian Institute of Teaching case study is simple, easy to read and to the point while still retaining high levels of data. It lays out the problem, discusses the solution and highlights the value TechnologyOne can add. The supporting video adds a great multimedia dimension. See all their case studies here. Research from the B2B Technology Marketing Group, based on a of more than 600 B2B marketing professionals, about the current state of content marketing shows case studies remain the most effective content. My Place Our Place Launched earlier this year by the team at Place Estate Agents the My Place Our Place blog is designed to showcase “the places, people and lifestyle that make our city and suburbs so special”. The crisp, clean layout (using the Squarespace platform), the use of strong imagery in each piece and an editorial agenda that focuses firmly on the people and the places of Brisbane delivers a strong package that puts the Place brand exactly where they want it, at the heart and soul of the communities where they operate. This is great example of the opportunities presented by blogging technology and demonstrates that with the right writers and the right focus, any company can become a successful media company. This brand publishing opportunity is now more accessible than ever and a great way to not just communicate with your customers, but build a community around your brand. Outfit Outfit is a Brisbane startup that has developed a brand management and automation software that allows companies to manage their brand assets more effectively and efficiently. They are a great example of how even a small company with limited resources can develop high impact content by identifying a key target market and developing engaging, relevant content that builds a deep understanding of how their products can solve the everyday problems of clients. The Ultimate Guide to Franchise Branding speaks directly to Outfit’s subject matter expertise and covers a range of topics including basic brand theory and more complex topics like the ROI of design efficiencies. All the information is presented in easy, bite-size packages to ease consumption. Importantly, the company has gone the extra mile and actively promoted the content across social channels (see Facebook ad below)     All of these case studies have different products, different markets and varied budgets, but all are great examples of what is possible if you take the time to think about how content can be the key driver of your marketing.


Press Release – The Pieces That Make It Perfect

A great press release doesn’t write itself. They are built, piece by piece, until you have something that satisfies a host of requirements.

A press release is one of the key tools that PR practitioners will use to convey a news story on behalf of their organisation or client.

Often you will have only one chance to get the attention of a news editor or journalist so you need to make sure the release is constructed properly and contains essential information. Otherwise it may get overlooked or consigned to the scrap bin.

It doesn’t have to be a time consuming or daunting task provided you follow some rules and stick to a time tested pattern of laying out essential information. A press release that makes it easy for a journalist will ensure your news is duly considered and that they trust your information.

press release
Copyright: zerbor / 123RF Stock Photo

Press Release Key Requirements

Header – The header is the first section of the press release from the top down and usually features some key elements.

The words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE are included to signify that the news is able to be reported on now and not subject to any form of publication embargo – used where a news release may be given to a journalist in advance of an announcement timing so they are able to prepare their story ahead of an impending deadline. The date of the announcement must be included and it’s usual for the company logo to be added which can leverage off their branding for attention and to stamp it as an official company release. Often you may see a combination of the words ‘Press Release’ or ‘ASX Announcement’ (for listed company updates provided to the exchange) to signify the intended audience.

Headline – The headline is immediately below the header and acts just like a headline in a newspaper. A good headline should draw attention and convey the key point of what the press release is about. Try to keep it fairly brief; 8-10 words should suffice. A compelling headline can make a big difference to editors bombarded with competing news items to sift through.

Dateline & Lead – A dateline is the name of the city where the news is emanating from – often the head office of where the organisation is based and is entered in CAPS. The lead sentence is extremely important and must include the most critical facts of the news story. If someone only reads the headline and lead they should have a firm idea as to what the story is about. This summary of critical information is known as Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

The Body – The body of the press release follows and allows you to flesh out the story further with more details and provide quotes from key personnel related to the story. Media outlets can use those quotes in their reporting as direct quotes from the people attributed. Rules of thumb – no more than two people quoted in a release and restrict to about two quotes per person. After the important details are included in the body, background information can then be included to provide context.

Correctly formatting quotes:

  • Use quotation marks (” “) around quotes in the press release
  • Separate more than one sentence in a quote with ,“said [Ms Xx].”
  • Use a comma after the first sentence of a quote; do not use a period e.g. “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit,” said Ms Watkins.
  • Media convention is not to close the quotes at the end of each successive quoted block – just at the end of the last quote.

– To signify that the reader has reached the end of the press release itself you can either include the word ENDS or some hashtags underneath the last sentence ###.  Also it is important to include organisation contact information for media to contact someone for further information or queries. This would usually be the communications officer or MD.

Boiler Plate – An optional inclusion is a boiler plate that is a simple short paragraph that provides a description of the company or organisation and what it does. Don’t expect everyone to be familiar with who you are.

The Inverted Pyramid

Below is a diagram of what is known in journalistic circles as the Inverted Pyramid and describes the flow of ideas in a press release.

It documents the order that releases should be written in, from ‘most newsworthy information’, to ‘Important details’, to ‘other general or background information’.

By following this plan your readers should be able to find the critical information at the start of the release without needing to read the whole thing. For those who wish to read on they will be able to gain additional information.

Final thought: Edit and spell check! There’s nothing worse than a rushed job with mistakes. Have more than one set of eyes read the press release.

press release
The below press release summary has been modified from a template from eRelease.com:

pressm release  
Main image copyright: alexskopje / 123RF Stock Photo


simPRO Software Appoints President Of US Operations

Market-leading job management software provider for the trade contracting industry, simPRO Software, has appointed Glenn Nott as President of simPRO US.

Nott joins the senior management team to enhance the leadership and strategic direction as simPRO ramps up its expansion into the US market.

“simPRO Group’s Board of Directors unanimously selected Glenn Nott as President to lead our US business unit,” simPRO Group CEO Brad Couper said.

“With Glenn’s significant experience in building and leading cross-functional teams in new markets along with his passion for working in competitive, innovative environments, the Board has great confidence in his ability to successfully guide our US operations forward.”

President of simPRO US, Glen Nott.
Nott’s background, most recently as Vice President and General Manager of Skillsoft Asia Pacific, strongly positions him to assume the position. He has established operations and expanded businesses in multiple markets including Australia, India, China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand.

With significant experience delivering results in dynamic, challenging environments, Nott will guide simPRO’s US strategy and drive the company’s expansion.

“I’m honored and thrilled to be joining simPRO Software Group as President of simPRO US,” Nott said. “It’s an exciting time to take on this position as we are poised to embark on an aggressive growth strategy including a launch in cities throughout the US in 2017.”

In October 2016, simPRO Group received a USD$31 million dollar investment from New York-based growth equity firm Level Equity. This funding will support simPRO’s further growth in the US, expansion of support and customer success teams for improved client focus, and an increase in development and product teams to fine tune the solutions simPRO offers.

The simPRO US office will also be relocating later this year, to accommodate its growth, from Boulder, CO to an 11,000 square foot facility in Broomfield, CO.

simPRO Software was established in 2002 when co-founder Stephen Bradshaw, an electrical contractor, began working on a solution for managing his growing business with co-founder Vaughan McKillop. The technology company is now a leading provider of job management software solutions to trade contractors performing service, project and maintenance work, serving 4,000 businesses and 90,000+ users worldwide.