Cobalt

  www.cobalt.com
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Cobalt Reviews

Updated Jul 21, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.6 279 reviews

85% Approve of the CEO

Cobalt President and CEO John W. P. Holt

John W. P. Holt

(218 ratings)

71% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work-life balance is here is you are willing to sacrifice any career advancement(in 45 reviews)

  • They allow some positions to work from home on a part time of full time basis(in 23 reviews)


Cons
  • Preference is given to employees who have no work/life balance(in 8 reviews)

  • Low pay, clueless upper management, many people in jobs above their ability level(in 13 reviews)

279 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
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    learned a lot

    Account Advocate (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    Prosdesk share
    great culture
    great managers
    freedom to manage our accounts
    relationship focus
    ability to take ownership, develop relationships, do your own creative, website design. SEO, Social Media

    ConsToo many accounts to manage fully making new requirements unrealistic. Position has changed. Compensation lacking. Constant fear of escalations.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLess meetings. Excessive work load given the new responsibilities. More conversations with AA's individually.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Some Great People To Work With, But The Company Is Totally Clueless.

    Account Advocate (Former Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsTeaming, peer support, flexible schedule. My team and the teams around me were awesome. But many of those people left when I did.

    ConsCompensation, promotion, upper management, huge technology issues. People are promoted based on networking, not results or ability. There are too many people in management positions that are massively under qualified; this has led to mismanagement of talent and poor business decisions. Also, the majority of the clients do not want Cobalt's services. They are forced into it by their OEM. And the clients let you know how they feel about being forced to work with Cobalt.

    Advice to Senior ManagementUpper management does not listen to suggestions or care for advice; there is no point leaving advice for them.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Dealer Services is the largest department, but can be hard to grow out of as other departments look down on personnel.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsThe company culture is relaxed and many people are like family. Especially, in Dealer Services. Many Account Managers, Digital Ad Analysts, SEO Specialists, Tech Support, Social Media, Email Marketing, and Reputation Management Account Managers enjoy the option to work from home part-time or full as it provides the flexibility to have a somewhat balanced lifestyle between work and family. Many other competitive digital ad companies like Amazon and Microsoft often pick-up a couple specialists here and there and pay them a lot, lot more and new dot.coms pay even more aggressive salaries up to $80,000 - $90,000+ for these specialists for the same exact work, but other Cobaltians see that they're sacrificing their family for the overpaid and over worked (50-60 hrs/wk) salary in some cases depending on the department they got hired in if it's at Microsoft or Amazon so the new dot.coms are often a better balance alternative. Unless, MS and Amazon jobs offer remote options as well, which some departments are starting to do to lower overhead costs, still offer the same services/products to their customers, and pay staff higher salaries to keep them happy in their roles. Many Cobalt specialists know this knowledge directly as they keep in touch and the internet advertising industry in Seattle is very niche. Share the pie that everyone put work into growing. Lower level management/supervisors are understanding and work with their team members to toggle that balance. It is this option that keeps most of the services personnel here working much lower salaries than other companies for the same work and knowing that if they left for other companies that are actively trying to recruit Cobalt services personnel that they would get anywhere between $15,000 - $25,000+ more for the same job managing digital ads, marketing consultation, and account management for other industries. People also get attached to their longtime customers and wait until a better opportunity comes to leave the company. So, it's sad to say that the option to work remote is the main reason that many stay...for their families knowing they're selling themselves too short and penny pinching to cover the cost of having a family. Many people in services have young families or starting and they realize the heavy glass door for a promotion is very, very limited and many times none so they look elsewhere for better pay for the same work and remote options. Many new job opportunities for a promotion, NOT A LATERAL move gets bombarded with internal applicants in services trying to move up and change their role for something different than what they have done for years and years. If you're lucky, you may get to job shadow or meet the potential team your interviewing for and often that's just window dressing to make you happy as often times, service specialists gets quarantined in their department. It is a good opportunity to start here for digital ad experience, but there is limited growth if you want to grow within the company as the glass door is thick between the dealer services division and other departments within the company.

    ConsThe company has lost sight of how they got large and became a leader in the digital advertising space of the automotive industry by overlooking the value of the people who work Dealer Services that work with the dealerships directly managing and influencing the client's marketing mix. There is so much support for sales that the President's Club, which is top producers, is very common. The enterprise, oem, marketing, development, and related operations departments are all paid much more for their work and salaries, bonuses, and raises are very competitive with other companies. So, there is very low turnover in other departments, except Dealer Services...backwards. Yet, the people who hold up and the backbone of Cobalt in Dealer Services get shafted with low salaries between $35,000 - $60,000. What a range. You have people who have experience starting at $40,000+ with less than 1% raise each year and no bonus. Then you have people with BA's and MBA's making between $50,000 - barely $60,000 and that includes bonuses and up to a 1% annual raise. Then you have college graduates starting at over $60,000. With the new Quarterly Business Reviews and all the added work, all the specialist roles are starting to work between 45 - 50+ hours/week to get the work done and often you do not log all the hours you worked as they cap many specialists on over time and salary limitations. At that rate, many experience, tenure specialists start to leave and once that decision is made, it's not long before they get a much better paying job elsewhere. You have Digital Ad Specialist making between $50,000 - $80,000 and everyone is doing the same work. You have an experienced account manager who makes $50,000 teaching a new college graduate who is making $60,000+ depending on the product they manage. Now, Cobalt is looking to phase out the experience specialists with more college graduates to start them off at the low end of the pay grade and as a result the client gets account managers who do not know how to consult and do not know how to do their job well and need the undervalued experience specialists to help them out. Recent graduates eventually leave for better paying jobs and the turnover for new people is every 6 months and they don't even make it past the 1st year. Yet, the experience tenure employees get overlooked for promotions and gets less than 1% raise each year. Many experience account managers in all the products want out of their role as they grow out of it, but then they hit the BIG, SNOBBY glass door of other non-services departments who undervalue and look down on the services personnel. Very few move to other roles in marketing and enterprise and other roles and those are the only few examples that gives others hope that there is a possibility for a promotion and not a lateral move to another department, which is a slap in the face after all that service. Then, those who get promoted to other departments gets paid much more and everyone sees how undervalued in pay scale all the account managers are in and just shake their heads. People get tired of it and just give up and leave. Everyone is the services department thinks the salary pay scale is the biggest joke and many keeps getting the door closed on them when they try for other jobs within the company out of Dealer Services, but the common sentiment is that other departments have their nose in the air as they think the specialists is less valuable and not capable of doing their jobs. Yet, unless the enterprise, marketing, operations positions is developing code and writing the programs, then whatever tools they're using...i.e. Photoshop, power point, excel, internet sites, internal company software/portals, then their jobs can be taught and tools can be taught how to use it by any of the experience service specialists within Dealer Services. This is why slowly more and more highly qualified, low paid and undervalued specialists leave Cobalt for other companies that will pay them $20,000+ more for the same exact work and not all of them are brutal slave workers and family friendly as well. Once many of the experience service specialist leave as they can't hold off any longer for better pay and promotions, then it's only a matter of time before the turnover starts rolling in with this company as customers leave when they're feed up with bad service from unqualified consultants. Without these specialists, this company would not be successful no matter the oem contracts or enterprise opportunities as it all comes down to managing the dealership accounts and all the specialists that work for the dealer. The few people who get promoted are carrots management dangles for others to waste their time. The Director of Dealer Services have made some head way in changing management who raised their noses at the service personnel who apply for other roles within and out of the department that some movement have started to happen, but it took many, many years to get even that carrot to hang as others bite their tongue and try to push against the heavy glass door. All the other departments REALLY work for the specialists providing them what they need to deliver great service, which is the product, to the customer. Not the other way. They need to value each other and promote amongst all departments equally. If you asked many departments outside of Dealer Services and Marketing how many of their staff have anyone from DS, then many would say none. That shows you that DS is a great way to get started at Cobalt, but also an end to your career if you want to move around the company and learn new roles that many are equally qualified for.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCobalt is only as good as the loyal, hardworking specialists they have managing the products in Dealer Services, without DS specialists who are so qualified that other companies clammer to get some of their employees and incentivize them much greater salaries, then this company would be nothing but another dot.com turnover like many others that started with good intentions and ended up stinking and no customers would touch them with a 20 feet stick. Promote a lot, LOT more within, train your staff to be promotable, promote all people equally as the people with experience and tenure with the company and products are ALL equally qualified. ALL of them, don't cherry pick and pin team members against each other making competing rivalries within the team, pay fairly and competitively for ALL roles no matter the department so it's competitive for the industry and competing companies who sit and wait on specialists leaving won't look so enticing. So you keep the qualified people happy in their roles and show they're all promotable in this company as it continues to grow globally/nationally and sales keep growing so all specialists get a handsome piece of the pie. Right now and as is, the staff in Dealer Services get the scraps for pay and still is the strongest backbone for the company as other departments get handsome bonuses, salary increases, and promotable every couple years. What a joke. Otherwise, the product, which is the quality of the people who manage the digital products will be worth nothing as good specialist leave for a promotion and the low quality new staff who don't care about the product, customers, and growing with the company leave in a revolving glass door when they realize you can get in, but the growth is narrow to none and you could be wasting your time. Most of the company reviews on the glassdoor.com website that are brutally honest are from account managers/specialists in Dealer Services. My advice is to pay attention to your employee's concerns, because once they give up on the company in mass scale then this company will dwindle back to a start-up dot.com.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Stay Away No Matter What They Tell You!!!

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsThe office in Seattle has a great view of Puget Sound and the downtown area. They also provided a free Orca pass, but that's pretty standard in downtown Seattle.

    ConsThe office culture at Cobalt is awful. Upper and middle management are more concerned about protecting their jobs than delivering innovative products to market. As stated in previous reviews, Cobalt is a terrible place to work. Seattle has much better employment options. Stay Away.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAt this point, I don't think anything can be done. Even the founder and CEO is jumping ship soon. Never a good sign when the Executive Team starts to leave.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Rising tides raise all ships

    Product Marketing Manager (Former Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsFast moving business in growing digital advertising industry. Innovative company in a great location in SoDo. Decent pay and positive work/life balance.

    ConsPoor leadership with little to no vision. Customer takes a back seat to revenue, no commitment to anything but revenue.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWipe the slate. Focus on solving real customer problems...what benefit does Cobalt deliver to dealers outside OEM mandates? The company will never win until they start listening to the people who actually drive their business.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Cobalt is where I finally found the job I was looking for my whole career.

    Business Intelligence Analyst (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsI work with some amazing people at Cobalt. They are smart, and very good at what they do. Politics are at a minimum. You can't get away from them, but they don't hamper progress. The managers I encounter look out for their people. They support us and make sure we have the tools we need to do our job. They embrace people here. If you are honest and do your job, you will do well here.

    ConsCobalt as a part of ADP no longer has that start-up vibe as far as culture; for example there are no giant parties (but there are some good ones). Still some of this is actually good.
    Some of the things that you would expect they would have down-pat they do not, but I am stretching to come up with this Con.

    Advice to Senior ManagementA more consistent and intuitive review system would be nice.
    There is a great work/life balance. I think the balance between making the "new and innovative" and "supporting the existing/infrastructure" is pretty good, but there are still some frustrations when the established tools/processes/products break.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    One great company

    Engagement Manager (Current Employee)

    ProsCutting edge technology. Great developers and progressive thinking

    ConsWork in silos. Not good for career development

    Advice to Senior ManagementThe culture is laid back, need more cross training.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    A couple of the best reasons to work at Cobalt is the Culture and the Managers.

    Digital Advertising Analyst (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsThey have excellent benefits compared to all the other companies I have worked for. I can only speak from experience in the Digital Advertising department but from my experience Cobalt really cares for their employees. I also have noticed that if you have the drive to succeed, you will.

    ConsPromotions take longer at this company than I have seen at other companies I have worked for. That being said I have never worked for such a large company in the past so the competition is fierce here due to the great talent.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    My experience has been positive.

    Account Advocate (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsCobalt offers a great work life balance.
     My manager is very positive and does not micromanage me at all, she is very trusting.
    They have a gym on the first floor so I am able to work out everyday.
    I am looking into moving to another position within the company and my manager is helping me in the process.

    ConsThe work can feel a little redundant at times.
    It's a big company so sometime I feel we are just judged on the numbers we produce and not quality of work

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Cobalt is LOST and Account Advocates have no hope!

    Account Advocate (Current Employee) Seattle, WA

    ProsOnly Pro is being able to work from home! I get more done not dealing with the very POOR managers.

    ConsPoor Advocate Managers
    Poor Guidance
    No career path
    If you are not one of the "PETS" to one of the POOR managers you will not go anywhere
    My only thought is WHEN will HR get involved? Account Advocates need assistance.
    I have to say that about 8 months ago or so they let go a bunch of Team Managers; that was a miss because they let some of the real managers go. At least there was a true sense of management. Now with the ones left we have to deal with 4 managers have affairs with each other and we are all suppose to ignore it. Interesting is that at lunch time there are at least 2+ hour lunches by these "couples" and they don't think anyone notices

    Advice to Senior ManagementRead above and get a clue.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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