Q&A with Joanie Wang, Director of Marketing at Expensify

Joanie Wang, Director of Marketing at Expensify, is a marketing and communications generalist, interested in human behavior and the psychology behind what incentivizes people to action — whether that is increased civic engagement or purchasing a product. Since joining Expensify in 2014, she has helped grow Expensify into the most recognizable expense management platform in the space through unconventional means, including Expensify’s You Weren’t Born to Do Expenses Super Bowl campaign and ExpensiCon - the industry’s first all-expenses-paid thought leadership conference. She is also passionate about making diversity, equity, and inclusion a core part of Expensify's brand and values and bringing it to life for the entire Expensify community.

Undertaking a gigantic project like this, even when I didn’t necessarily “feel ready”, was probably one of the biggest growth opportunities I’ve ever experienced, and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything else.



MEDIA 7: You have been named as one of the Top Women Leaders in SaaS and one of the accounting industry’s Top 20 Influencers under 40. Could you please elaborate on your journey?
JOANIE WANG:
I’ve always been the type of person who would follow my interests and figure out the details later, so it would have been hard to imagine that when I decided to study International Relations in college, I’d end up in the Fintech SaaS space! After I graduated college, I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I tried my hand at all sorts of roles from luxury travel planning to edit/research for children/teen novels to business development for a leadership development nonprofit. It really helped me figure out what I was good at, what I enjoyed doing, and what kind of leader/support system I wanted to be for those around me. And while that didn’t follow a typical out-of-college career trajectory, I really look back and appreciate the time I spent doing that, because when I started at Expensify 7 years ago, it helped me recognize where I could make an impact as well as the opportunities ripe for picking at an employee-centric company culture that I’d never seen before.

When I started back in 2014, I was hired for writing copy and managing events, but as our strategy evolved, so did my role. In my seven years at Expensify, I’ve had so many incredible opportunities that just would not have been possible at another company – whether that be leading the development of a Super Bowl commercial with the world’s first expensable music video, dreaming up an all-expense-paid partner conference in Maui (then Bora Bora 2 years later), or spearheading our internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program in a way that would help ingrain these principles into our everyday work. Not only that but I’ve had the opportunity to become a mentor in the company to help others be successful as well. At the end of the day, my journey has never been a clean, straight road ahead, but I have loved every moment of it and I am excited for what still lies ahead.


M7: In your tenure you have helped grow Expensify into the most renowned expense management platform around, being the driving force and launching some of the company’s biggest marketing initiatives. What do you think makes ‘Great’ Marketing?
JW:
I think great marketing means being relevant to whoever it is you’re speaking to – that is, you are able to effectively communicate how you solve someone’s problem. At the very heart of it, clear and simple communication is key because if you can’t make your product relevant to someone’s needs, they will not care about your product, no matter how great it is. Once you are confident in your message, then the fun begins - you can begin layering other factors such as creative ways to convey that message, perhaps work in a way to let people use the product, clever copy, experiment with relevant trends/cultural observations, etc. but at the heart of it, none of this matters unless your marketing is relevant to someone’s needs. If you can solve your audience’s problem, then your product becomes something they can’t stop talking about, and they will effectively become your biggest champion. That’s what I think makes great marketing.


If you can solve your audience’s problem, then your product becomes something they can’t stop talking about, and they will effectively become your biggest champion. That’s what I think makes great marketing.



M7: What’s top of the list for what Expensify wants to achieve this year and as you start moving into the next year?
JW:
There’s a lot to be excited about around here, but depending on how the Delta variant goes, we’re really looking forward to getting back into conferences and re-engaging with potential customers and current customers alike directly at live events! Being part of the accounting community has always been super important to us, and we’re excited to get back into it should it be safe to do so.


M7: Expensify recently launched the massively successful Super Bowl ad campaign, could you please shed some light on this experience?
JW:
Yep! In 2019, we decided to launch our first advertising campaign, and we thought what better way to start than with the Super Bowl, a cultural phenomenon in itself, but also the only time when people look forward to and even anticipate the ads. Going into it, no one on our team had ever done a campaign like this before, and we were excited to partner with an ad agency that could help us deliver something truly unique that no one else has ever done before. We know the task ahead of us was going to be huge – expense management is dull after all – but we knew our product would sell itself once someone could use it. Our planning team developed a short list of criteria that we wanted to make sure we had, which were:

1) Celebrated/had a connection to the host city, Atlanta.

2) Embody our values, culture, and the very simple message we wanted to deliver: “You weren’t born to do expenses.”

3) Give viewers a reason to pay attention and anticipate our: 30 spots in the week leading up to the big game.

4) Gave viewers an excuse to try out the product.

In addition to our ‘must have’ criteria above, we knew there needed to be a certain level of entertainment value, precisely because this was the Super Bowl, and so we decided to create a music video with a song that you could easily find on a Spotify Hits playlist. To pay tribute to the host city, we wanted to work with an artist from Atlanta, so naturally, we went with a rapper since the city is famous for rap and trap music. And finally, we developed a way for viewers to try our app by making the entire music video, as well as the final: 30 commercial, expensable, which meant that viewers could join in, try the app, and play along to win cool prizes. This way they were able to see how easy it was to expense receipts in their everyday life.

The experience itself was incredible – we immersed ourselves in this project completely for about a year before the big game. There were days that were a huge treat, like being onsite for filming and getting to meet the talent, but there were also days when our team would be sitting in a conference room going back and forth on every single word used in the messaging. Undertaking a gigantic project like this, even when I didn’t necessarily “feel ready”, was probably one of the biggest growth opportunities I’ve ever experienced, and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything else. The growth came not just from learning a whole different skill set in terms of creating, developing, and executing on a multi-pronged campaign that spanned nationwide, but it also helped me hone my skills as a leader, collaborator, and project manager. In the end, we created a campaign we were super proud of – not only that but something our entire company was incredibly proud of, despite differences in musical tastes – and we were so successful that 2 Chainz invited us to be a part of his followup music video as well with another scannable item!


Surround yourself with people who are invested in your growth, and you theirs. That way, when you see an opportunity that helps you achieve a goal – you can go for it!



M7: What marketing channels do you use and which ones do you see as the most promising given your target customers?
JW:
We’ve always built the Expensify app with the end-user in mind, and naturally that means that we’re able to grow our presence by harnessing the power of word-of-mouth and accelerating it. As a result, the channels that work well for us are those that involve engaging with the community – think in-person events, conferences, knowledge sharing, and more. We look for unconventional ways to stay relevant in people’s lives by solving a common pain point that almost everyone has faced in one way or another: getting paid back. Expenses are an IOU loan that the employee extends to their company, and filing an expense report is simply the method of getting paid back. When we engage with our community, we’re able to turn each happy customer into a champion, and that helps us grow.


M7: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?
JW:
Surround yourself with people who are invested in your growth, and you theirs. That way, when you see an opportunity that helps you achieve a goal – you can go for it! Don’t worry about if “you’re ready” or not – chances are you might not ever feel ready when an opportunity presents itself, but as long as you are open to grow and learn as you navigate through the opportunity, you’ll come out at the end more experienced and confident with your own abilities. That kind of exponential personal and professional growth only comes when you and the people around you are all invested in moving each other forward.

ABOUT EXPENSIFY

Expensify has more than 10 million users worldwide. Whether they’re working for themself, managing a team, or closing the books for their clients, Expensify helps their clients ditch the spreadsheet so that they have more time to focus on what really matters. Download the Expensify mobile app or sign up at use.expensify.com today – because you weren’t born to do expenses. If you’re interested in joining our team, check out this link.

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Webull partners with Dow Jones to drive greater financial literacy and empower retail investing decisions

Webull Corporation | January 30, 2024

Webull, a leading online broker for global investors, has launched an initiative to drive financial literacy, announcing its partnership with Dow Jones, a global news and business information services provider and the publisher of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The agreement aims to drive greater levels of financial literacy among retail investors by empowering Webull customers with curated award-winning content from The Wall Street Journal, including news, analysis, and essential insights on managing personal finances. The collaboration provides access to the publication's trusted and reliable journalism to help Webull users make better educated and informed decisions around their financial goals. Webull users will receive a curated round-up of WSJ articles on its news feed within the app. New and renewing Webull customers will also receive a WSJ subscription. "Webull was founded on the principle of democratizing investing and making it more accessible and inclusive - especially for first time investors. In this regard, we've already seen success, with a robust number of our active members being first-time investors," said Anthony Denier, Webull Group President. "Through this partnership with Dow Jones, we want to put the power of the world's leading financial publication straight into the hands of our customers with content that helps investors make better financial decisions with greater confidence." "Financial literacy, powered by trusted and credible journalism, leads to better decisions," said David Martin, Chief Revenue Officer for Business Intelligence at Dow Jones. "We are delighted to work with Webull and look forward to putting the Journal's high-quality and award-winning business news, information and analysis at the fingertips of millions of Webull users on its platform to help elevate their decision making process." Financial literacy has been identified as a key barrier to entry to investing for many people, with research from the World Economic Forum revealing that 40% of non-investors chose not to invest because they do not know how or find it too confusing. In addition, approximately 70% said they would be more likely to invest, or invest more, with expanded financial education. With the trend of retail investors skewing younger, the initiative aims to address knowledge gaps by providing access to actionable and outcome-oriented information to help educate and shape the way new and existing users navigate fast-changing markets in an informed and responsible manner. About Webull Webull is a leading digital investment platform built on next generation global infrastructure. The Webull Group is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida and backed by private equity investors located in the United States, Europe and Asia. Webull serves tens of millions of users from over 180 countries, providing retail investors with 24/7 access to global financial markets. Users can put investment strategies to work by trading global stocks, ETFs, options and fractional shares, through Webull's trading platform, which is currently available in the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and Canada. Webull also offers investment education services, with lessons covering a wide range of topics. About Dow Jones Dow Jones is a global provider of news and business information, delivering content to consumers and organizations around the world across multiple formats, including print, digital, mobile and live events. Dow Jones has produced unrivaled quality content for more than 130 years and today has one of the world's largest news-gathering operations globally. It is home to leading publications and products including the flagship Wall Street Journal, America's largest newspaper by paid circulation; Barron's, MarketWatch, Mansion Global, Financial News, Investor's Business Daily, Factiva, Dow Jones Risk & Compliance, Dow Jones Newswires, OPIS and Chemical Market Analytics.

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Core Banking

Backbase Enters Into an Agreement With Danske Bank to Enhance Its Digital Customer Experience

Backbase | January 12, 2024

Backbase, the global leader in Engagement Banking, has made an agreement with Danske Bank, a leading Nordic bank based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This agreement provides Danske Bank with access to Backbase's Engagement Banking Platform, which will progressively be implemented across our digital channels in the coming years. This will enable Danske Bank to offer its customers a continuously improved digital customer experience, as the enhanced flexibility allows it to tailor its business operations around customer journeys. Frans Woelders, Chief Operating Officer at Danske Bank, highlights: “This engagement is a testament to our customer focus and our commitment to ensuring the best digital banking experience for the future. A new platform that works across the web, mobile apps, and our adviser tools is one of the ambitions in Danske Bank’s Forward ’28 strategy, and the agreement with Backbase is the next step towards achieving that ambition.” Our Engagement Banking Platform plays a pivotal role in achieving Modernization and simplification of the existing IT landscape by reducing the number of silo-ed channel applications. Mobile-first engagement model, establishing a customer-centric approach, seamlessly guiding customers between automated and expert advice. Unified platform, consolidating data, business logic, and workflows into a single, customer-centric platform for efficient journey orchestration, benefiting both customers and bank employees. Agility and freedom, enhancing flexibility to swiftly implement business capabilities and adapt to evolving market dynamics. Christian Bornfeld, Head of Personal Customers and Financial Crime Risk and Prevention at Danske Bank, says: “This platform will allow us to take our interaction with customers through our digital solutions to the next level and to introduce enhancements at greater speed than ever before. It will thus enable us to provide market-leading convenience and personalization for our customers with great insights, increased proactivity, and easy access to assistance and advice.” Jouk Pleiter, Founder and CEO of Backbase, shares, “We are thrilled to announce the engagement with Danske Bank, a visionary collaboration set to redefine the future of banking. Together, we will execute a bank-wide, digital transformation program and elevate Danske Bank's customer experience to new heights.” About Backbase Backbase is on a mission to re-architect banking around the customer. Backbase created the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform – a unified platform with the customer at the center, empowering banks to accelerate their digital transformation. From customer onboarding to servicing, loyalty, and loan origination, our single platform — open and frictionless, with ready-to-go apps — improves every aspect of the customer experience. Built from the ground up with the customer at the heart, our Engagement Banking Platform easily plugs into existing core banking systems and comes pre-integrated with the latest fintechs so financial institutions can innovate at scale. Industry analysts Forrester, Gartner, Celent, Omdia, and IDC continuously recognize Backbase’s category leadership. Over 120 financials around the world have embraced the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform - including AIB, Banorte, Barclays, BIAT, Bank of the Philippine Islands, BDO, Banque Saudi Fransi, BRD, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Discovery Bank, First National Bank, HDFC, Ila Bank, KeyBank, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, Navy Federal Credit Union, OTP Group, PostFinance, Raiffeisen, RBC, Standard Bank, Saudi National Bank, Société Générale, Truist, and TPBank.

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