SmartBrief Reviews

Updated 1 October, 2014
Updated 1 October, 2014
32 Reviews
3.8
32 Reviews
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SmartBrief President & CEO Rick Stamberger
Rick Stamberger
14 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great first job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Fun people, relaxed environment, great location

    Cons

    Benefits could be better, growth opportunity limited

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Awesome place to grow your career

    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at SmartBrief

    Pros

    - Get hands on experience managing partners, launching products, and coordinating projects at a very early stage in your career.
    - Work with fun people in a great downtown location

    Cons

    - There are downsides to anything. At SmartBrief, the benefits probably could have been improved as the staff matured, and I would have loved a more structured learning & development program. But overall SmartBrief was a fantastic place for me and I would recommend it to a friend.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Felt compelled to write a review for this internship -- Web Developer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Junior Developer in Washington, DC (US)
    Former Employee - Junior Developer in Washington, DC (US)

    I worked at SmartBrief as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    So many pros to be honest. Every other week during the summer we have company wide happy hour events. At 4pm the company gathered and did things like: Sang Karoake, Played Beer Pong, Raffled Prizes, Got Hypnotized by a "professional" hynotist.

    It was a really fun experience and there really are alot of great people working here right now. I can't speak for how it used to be, I saw old reviews on here that trashed the company but honest to goodness this was an incredible intern experience.

    The management style in the Tech department was really hands off and they allowed me to build a web page and helped me with making that happen, It made me want to be better and work harder knowing that gave me the respect and trust of working on my own without micro management. There are so many smart, funny, and friendly people in the Tech department, really no complaints at all.

    Can I say also that the CEO Rick Stamberger really seems like a great guy, we had an intern project we had to pitch to him and he is such an encouraging person and just wants to see you succeed, he doesn't want to pick you apart. It really rubs off and you feel compelled to work harder.

    Cons

    Ok so maybe it was a bit of a double edged sword when I said that the management was hands off, because I didn't receive alot of 'training' per say.

     This was really just due to the fact that the Tech deparment is going through a process of dealing with old legacy code and reforming their code to be more state of the art. Long story short, they are overworked it seems.

    This lead to my supervisor trying to juggle pressing issues with teaching me beginners web development. So really I was left to fend for myself, which I actually really enjoyed but I do wish they had more time for me. All in all not that big of a con and could be remedied by the time a new intern comes around and the Tech team has grown thus disributing the workload more evenly.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep in the direction you are going, expand the Tech department because I feel the projects could get more ambitious and really pay off in the long run.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Positive working environment at a growing media company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC (US)

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    The people are the best thing about SmartBrief. Everyone is enthusiastic about our products and mission. It's gratifying to work with a group of people who all believe in what we're doing. Although there isn't always another position or promotion on the horizon, there are always opportunities to do and learn more. I've held three different jobs at the company, but I've done something different almost every year I've been there. The key is to identify the opportunities you want (beyond just a title) and start working toward them. This is a company that rewards proactive and innovative thinkers if you act on your ideas. The company also offers a a considerable amount of flexibility, depending on what your job is. I particularly benefited from that flexibility when I returned to work after maternity leave (slow transition back, some regular work-from-home days, schedule shift to accommodate my child care, etc).

    Cons

    It's a small-to-medium-sized company, so there isn't always another position to move into when you think you've mastered the one you're in. There aren't necessarily a lot of promotional opportunities. But because the company is always changing, there is always something new to work on. Sometimes you just have to think outside of what you're assigned. That often means working longer hours or really moving outside your comfort zone, but it's almost always worth it to work on something that challenges or engages you. No one is going to tell you what you can do to expand your opportunities for growth in the company -- you need to find it yourself. That's an idea that can be freeing to some people and daunting to others.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More structured training around building leadership skills.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Better than it should be

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC (US)

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    This is an ambitious company, both in the company-wide goals and in the day-to-day life of the employees. People who work here tend to be competitive and highly-motivated, and the management expects people to work hard and smart to succeed. This place is a meritocracy.

    What SmartBrief does (publishing enewsletters for trade associations) is fairly boring, but that doesn't seep into the workplace. The people here are energetic, the opportunities for development and advancement are plentiful, and there are tons of perks (lots of happy hours and parties, trips and events, sports teams, and the ever-publicized free beer machine).

    Cons

    There are a lot of workplaces where you can "coast." This is not one of them. There are metrics on everything, and you are constantly compared both to your colleagues and to yourself (what you did last week, last month, last year).

    You won't be able to impress your friends and family with where you work, because none of them have ever heard of SmartBrief. You won't be able to brag about what you do all day, because it's universally hard to explain to outsiders.

    This doesn't seem like a company that you can grow old at. It's a small company, with a finite number of available positions, so it's hard to get promoted beyond a certain level. Even when positions are available, they tend to recruit senior-level candidates from the outside. SmartBrief loses good employees to better offers fairly often.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's obvious that there has been an effort to make improvements, especially around communicating changes and internal information, and in providing training. Don't rest on your laurels. Continue to push these efforts. There is no excuse for a company this small to do a poor job in communication, education, or integrating/orienting the workforce.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Fully satisfactory

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at SmartBrief part-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    SmartBrief has fantastic company culture. Senior management is brilliant and coworkers are friendly, entertaining and make the office an enjoyable place.

    Cons

    There are not many opportunities for career growth.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Invaluable career experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Washington, DC (US)
    Current Employee - Manager in Washington, DC (US)

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    A great culture that encourages collaboration and professional development. A great place to start for entry level positions and mid level management.

    Cons

    Getting promoted beyond the mid level management is not impossible but extremely difficult. The common turnover deals with entry level positions with a few management positions. VPs and Senior Managers tend to get hired from the outside. I'd advise a new employee to consider their time at SmartBrief to have the shelf life of 2 years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Open up the communication about larger goals that transcend beyond the quarterly check ins. Many managers lack true leadership to expose and guide to the larger goals at hand.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Sales

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time

    Pros

    This is the best time ever to be selling digital advertising and SmartBrief is great in the sense that you get an unprecedented amount of responsibility so early on in your career-- if you work hard, it will pay off and there is uncapped commission which really is rare these days. We are working among some extremely talented people and everyone should take advantage of their willingness to be a mentor-- especially recent grads- you'll learn a lot.

    The office environment is great- everyone really gets along and recently SmartBrief started a softball team so it's a great way to spend more time with people in other departments. This summer each department has been hosting their own happy hour for the rest of the company, which has been a lot of fun.

    It's disappointing to see so many complaints about HR- it seems like some people forget that as we expand into a larger organization, we also have to go through some learning curves. In the past year HR has brought on an incredible talent team, and it is amazing to watch the change in how we go about bringing on new talent, as well as developing the talent already here at SmartBrief. Whether you take advantage of it, that is up to you.

    Cons

    There is low pay for entry level positions until you get promoted into an AE role and can start making commission- but if you bust your ass for a year then it's totally worth it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start being harder on people who don't make their quotas-- there should be no excuse, since they set them.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    SmartBrief...great company, great culture!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY (US)

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    SmartBrief delivers and excellent product for B2B advertisers that yield results. In the crowded B2B world, email is king and SmartBrief has that figured out.

    Professionally, the company has 2 high quality modern offices--DC/NY, with a great culture and a real understanding of work/life balance. Nobody is looking over your shoulder. There is an inherent trust that we are all adults and we are all self-motivated and that we want to do a good job. So if you have to stay home to meet the cable guy, that's ok. Do your job, get online and work as if you were in the office. No problem.

    Cons

    The organization is a bit too flat. It is great for young people, but hard to grow the more senior you are in title/experience. When you've gotten all you can out of the organization you need to look outside for the next opportunity. I have seen excellent talent walk out the door due to limited opportunities.

    As with many a small company, the growth opportunities are limited so you have to be prepared to check your ambitions at the door.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Move people around. Foster talent, spread the wealth, but don't be afraid to make unpopular decisions. Ask the hard questions. Stay engaged.

    Unfortunately, SmartBrief suffers from a lack of decisiveness. For a small company decisions are not made quickly and employees suffer as a result. Further, there seems to be a small committee of a few who make all of the decisions without proper checks and balances.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Keep on doing what you are doing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales in Washington, DC (US)
    Current Employee - Sales in Washington, DC (US)

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    SmartBrief is a great company that is moving from a start-up atmosphere to a maturing organization. I see lots of growth and development opportunities for myself and others in the future.

    Cons

    Management has been too patient with poor performers. I am writing because some recent reviews here are totally unfair. I recgonize the people who wrote some of them; they were poor performers who were dragging down the rest of us and are now anonymously griping about a really good company and raising issues that don't exist. Why don't you take a look in the mirror instead of lying?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get rid of the dead wood faster. We're behind you.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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