SmartBrief Reviews | Glassdoor

SmartBrief Reviews

Updated May 18, 2017
47 reviews

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47 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The culture and location of the office is very appealing to many young adults and its obvious to see why with the beer machine and ping pong tables (in 9 reviews)

  • The work/life balance here is pretty well respected (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Mis-management of entry level employees (in 4 reviews)

  • There was an obvious disconnect between senior management and what was going on in the trenches (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Positive working environment at a growing media company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    More structured training around building leadership skills.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Better than it should be"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

  3. "Fully satisfactory"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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.


  4. "Invaluable career experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Manager in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  5. "Sales"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

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


  6. Helpful (1)

    "SmartBrief...great company, great culture!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  7. "Keep on doing what you are doing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Sales in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

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

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great for new grads, not for long-term employment."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at SmartBrief full-time

    Pros

    Smart people, fun culture, good life/work balance.

    Cons

    Disorganization, incredibly high turn-over rate, compensation not equal to work load.

    Advice to Management

    HR - start doing exit interview to find out how to reduce turn-over rate! Incessant turn-over makes everyone's job harder and less pleasant.


  9. "Best Company That I Ever Worked For"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Account Director in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Account Director in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Amazing place to work, phenomenal culture, flat organization where your ideas get heard and your work contributes directly to a growing company. Right product, right time. Employees genuinely care about one another to the point where it feels like your colleagues are extended family.

    Cons

    Can't really think of any cons. Great benefits and tons of perks. If I had to pick something they could add, offer gym memberships for all employees, but that's far down on my list.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Like being on drugs"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Working at SmartBrief is like being on drugs. It's fun, especially if you're younger. The people are genuinely nice and hang out together, the office is pretty, there's free beer, and the CEO can be quite inspiring, actually. Also, to stay there, all you really need to do is just go along with the program (not so terrible, really, not like they're manufacturing anthrax or something); you don't really need to try very hard. If having an easy, pleasant, work environment is more important to you than making money, it's a good place to be.

    Cons

    Working at SmartBrief is like being on drugs. It's bad for you, especially if you're older, and really, you probably shouldn't do it. Telling other people about your experiences doing it makes them bored, at best, and respect you a little less, at worst. It feels bad to stop doing it, but after a day or two you realize your life is better for it. After I left, I discovered a lot of my more casual acquaintances had thought that I had been working for a non-profit. Must've been the "working for the experience, not the paycheck" vibe that I was giving off. If you prefer making money, building your resume, and accomplishing difficult tasks to having an easy time at work, and you could care less about having free beer at work (not at all a shameless ploy to make recent college grads work for less money, right?), maybe you should look elsewhere.

    SmartBrief is a real businessman's business (not necessarily a "Con", depending on who you are). It is very much a marketing and sales organization. Let's face it, E-mail newsletters for trade associations are boring. This is good if you're a businessman, because you have less competition. But do you really want to just write summaries of others' articles if you want a career in journalism? Do you really want to just work with e-mail and websites if you love technology? This doesn't mean it's a terrible place, it just means that senior management does best what it knows best.

    Advice to Management

    To be honest, watching management in action was one of the highlights of working at SmartBrief for me, because I would probably do some of the same things they do if I were to start my own business. They certainly know how to get good value for the talent they acquire. Also, SmartBrief seems like a solid business. But hey, so is Starbucks; just because I want to be a shareholder doesn't mean I want to work there.

    So, the advice: I think the majority of SmartBrief employees are vaguely dissatisfied, but are comfortable enough that they don't want to bother finding something else. Some like their jobs, but not as many as you seem to think. Maybe more really liked their jobs in the past? Was there a great start-up culture that isn't surviving big business bureaucrats moving into management positions? I'm not sure. I think maybe SmartBrief tries to hire ugly ducklings, and I think maybe, deep down, the CEO thinks everyone has a bit of the ugly duckling inside them. But what if they're mostly just ducks after all? Then you end up with a duck pond, not Swan Lake.


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