With the complementary experience gained from scaling early stage SaaS startups to leading an S-1 filing for a now- $2B publicly traded company with more than 2,500 employees; the foundational best practices remain intact, yet our unique perspective emerges.
We are fearless, we move fast, and we have the ability to quickly acclimate to a new ecosystem.
But most importantly, we believe in building relationships. We are committed to authenticity and earning the trust necessary to effectively partner and drive toward the same revenue goals.
Our team of strategic thinkers, creatives, designers, developers, and marketers work to clarify your message, champion your values, and capture the attention of your audience.
We effectively leverage this rare combination to deliver strategic vision and flawless execution.
MEET THE TEAM
Kara Brown has spent more than a decade building a marketing skill set specific for the B2B software market. She has worked for startups and large firms, and her expertise ranges from PR to enterprise data management.
In 2006, Brown was one of the first employees of Echo Global Logistics [NYSE:ECHO]. A one-woman marketing department, she managed all brand, image, and marketing initiatives for the company. In 2009, Brown worked with sales and IT leadership to develop and launch www.myfreight.com, Echo’s self-serve LTL website. She was also responsible for driving traffic to this new revenue stream.
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In late 2008, Brown to took on the role of Investor Relations. On October 9, 2009, Echo held a successful IPO and Brown was the company’s first Director of Investor Relations, at 26.
From there Brown was recruited by OHL (Ozburn-Hessey Logistics), at the time a $2B Nashville based global supply chain provider with clients like Apple, Starbucks, Samsung, Sony, and Remington.
PE firm Welsh Carson was preparing the company for an IPO exit and Brown was to lead IR when the time came. In the spring of 2011, Brown weathered a major communications crisis with almost no market exposure. In 2015, OHL was bought by GEODIS.
In 2012, Brown set up a consulting practice, SmithBrown Marketing where she was the outsourced CMO for six transportation and transportation technology companies. She executed all things marketing, including lead sourcing, scoring, marketing automation, CRM implementation and management, tradeshow execution, collateral development, PR, website development and management, search engine optimization, and social media engagement. She uses her skill set, expertise in logistics and relationships to execute well-designed marketing strategies for her clients, usually on a very limited budget.
In 2015, Brown took the risk on a trash startup in Atlanta, Rubicon Global. Brown built a five person marketing team from scratch, delivered an entirely new revenue stream with more than $100k in revenue, and built a new website with a 400% improved conversion rate.
Brown is now back to consulting in Atlanta after falling in love with the weather. She is an Ironman athlete and is wrapped up her MBA from Dominican University in the Spring, 2017.
Jenna Wessinger brings a broad skill set to SmithBrown from her years as an IT management consultant at a global consulting firm, to her time as an account director for one of Atlanta's premier advertising and marketing agencies, to her knowledge of social media and content marketing as the founder of her successful personal blog.
In 2008, Wessinger began her career with Capgemini US as a business analyst in the Telecom sector working on of the largest US telco companies. Over the next 7 years, she managed many teams in numerous client verticals including enterprise provisioning, operation systems support, supply chain, and automated sales platforms. Her roles in these verticals ranged from lead business analyst, to program manager, to deployment manger for projects totaling more than $20 million in revenue.
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Wessinger enjoyed her role at Capgemini, but felt she was missing a creative outlet. In 2014, she created a personal lifestyle blog, Just a Touch Too Much. The blog has turned into a successful business in its own right boasting 15,000 followers at the time of this writing. It allows Wessinger the opportunity to round out her skill set by teaching herself content and social media marketing.
Next, Wessinger took on the role of lead managing consultant for a project involving the nation's top credit reporting agency and a large-scale discovery project to combine the company's disparate international business processes into 1 single lead-to-cash business process flow with alignment to a new CRM system.
In the Fall of 2015, with a desire to challenge herself in a new field, Wessinger moved from the IT consulting world to the life of a marketer and advertiser when she joined Sagepath, as an Account Director. Given her experience with global enterprise businesses, Wessinger's focus at the agency was on larger accounts, both in project size and in revenue. While at Sagepath, Wessinger created an omni-channel marketing plan that could be leveraged across all other clients, giving the company it's first PaaS offering. Wessinger also lead several national and global rebranding efforts, and helpedstart the company's burgeoning SEO practice.
In 2017, shortly after meeting Kara Smith Brown, Wessinger accepted the position as Director of Strategy with SmithBrown Marketing. SmithBrown was quickly gaining steam and growing exponentially, and Wessinger came on to help steer and direct client initiatives, build out the company's growing service offerings, and help transition SmithBrown into an Atlanta powerhouse.
Liz Piontkowski is an experienced marketer who has developed a varied skill set while working as a project manager and interning at a variety of marketing agencies.
Piontkowski began her career in the non-profit sector where she strengthened her data analytics skills and helped to create an advanced database of 50 sub-chapters that better showcased the viability and effectiveness of the nonprofit she worked for. After her time at the nonprofit she spent time in London where she worked for an events organization. In that role, she leveraged SalesForce and WordPress to promote future events, reach a broader audience, and analyze the output, resulting in an increase in membership by 10%.
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In the summer of 2015, Piontkowski joined the marketing team at a large German metals company. In this role she was able to leverage previous experience and build an email program that specifically targeted prospective hires. Additionally, she took part in building out their full-scale project plan for their six month long fall 2015 brand transition in North America.
Next Piontkowski joined a creative agency where she partnered with a social media manager to support and manage client needs and deliverables. During her time with the agency she wrote content calendars, assisted with brand building, managed strategy sessions, and worked with seven different B2B and B2C clients.
In June 2016, after graduating from Wake Forest, Piontkowski moved to Atlanta and began working at an email marketing agency in Buckhead. She managed client projects end to end for national marketing campaigns and automated nurture programs. She helped to grow her client’s businesses by leveraging data analytics to increase open and click through rates 10-20%.
As the newest member of the SmithBrown team, Piontkowski has been able to leverage her vast skill set across numerous clients with a focus on her strong project management skills and knowledge of email marketing and marketing automation platforms.
Laura Rabushka brings more than six years of PR and communications experience to the SmithBrown Marketing team. Before joining the company in early 2018, Rabushka paved her way from intern to Director of Communications at an Atlanta-based digital marketing agency. While there, she garnered extensive experience in digital PR, content marketing and social media marketing for clients ranging from Fortune 500 B2Bs to startups in the B2C space. She played a critical role in helping the agency shift to the next phase of digital - one that focused on helping brands make meaningful connections with their audiences through empathy, effective communication and digital intelligence gathering. She also helped define the agency’s PR process which quickly became a core offering provided to its clients.
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After five years in at this agency, Rabushka joined a traditional marketing firm with a focus on cause-related, lifestyle and entertainment brands. As the Senior Manager of Marketing and Media there, she oversaw all media relations for the agency and its clients and served as the intermediary between media, brands and their audiences. Rabushka helped execute holistic, multi-channel marketing campaigns for clients in a variety of industries, including food and beverage, employment law, education, finance and museums and attractions. She also oversaw ongoing PR and communications strategies for the agency’s clients, including helping execute social, crisis communications and content marketing initiatives.
After being introduced to Kara Brown in early 2018, Rabushka was excited to accept a position at the company as Director of PR and Accounts. She is inspired by the team’s commitment to success and passionate about its core mission – to empower females to be and own who they are, despite social stigmas in a male-dominated industry. Rabushka looks forward to growing with the ladies at SmithBrown and helping the company execute high-impact marketing strategies for its clients.