Catalyst Employee Spotlight: John Karl

You can have the best data and most sophisticated tools, but it doesn’t mean anything without great people. Fortunately, at Catalyst, we have no shortage of great people. From Search Associates to Search Directors, and from Project Managers to Managing Partners, each member of the Catalyst team is committed to maximizing client business results and making Catalyst a world-class agency. Read our Employee Spotlight series to meet some of the team members responsible for making Catalyst an all-star agency partner and a great place to work.


John Karl, Catalyst

Name: John Karl

Title: Client Development Director

How long have you worked at Catalyst: I have been at Catalyst for seven years.

How long have you worked in the industry and what type of clients have you worked on? 

I’ve been working in a business development (sales/marketing) capacity for over 20 years.  My career started in search with a company called NewsBank and has come full circle when I started working in consulting and eventually for Catalyst in search marketing.  Over the years I’ve worked to develop performance marketing opportunities for clients across all industries including finance, travel, automotive, technology, manufacturing, higher education, and more.

How did you get your start in performance marketing?

My first exposure to digital and performance marketing came on the brand side when I worked with CP Kelco as the Global Business Intelligence Manager, though at that point it was somewhat periphery.

Joining Catalyst in 2014 was when I become immersed in all things digital media.  During my first couple of years, I worked closely with Mediacom, Mindshare, Maxus and MEC (in the days prior to Wavemaker), developing new search and social opportunities on behalf on GroupM and Catalyst.  After that my position shifted to develop new business opportunities for the Catalyst direct brand.

What do you like most about working at Catalyst?

Personally, I have really appreciated the opportunity to further develop professionally.  In new business, we always have the chance to work on something new, attend conferences, workshops, and attend relevant industry events.  Another bonus is that I have the chance to work and collaborate with so many different Catalyst employees.  I’m always amazed by the knowledge sharing, quality, and general willingness of our teams to jump in and support new business development opportunities.

What has been your greatest achievement at Catalyst?

In my role, any new business win is a great achievement, and we’ll keep them coming!

In your opinion, what is the most important industry trend or change for 2022?

I speak with brands and partners on a daily basis, and forthcoming trends are always up for discussion.  Looking toward 2022 brands and advertisers will need to embrace a hybrid approach to meetings, conferences, and reaching new audiences through both in-person and virtual events.

For brands, it is going to be critical to own your audiences, develop meaningful content, and further humanize messaging to better resonate with consumers.  While we will be emerging from the pandemic, it will not be a light switch, but rather a transition.  Growth in ecommerce and online grocery will continue, while industries like travel and hospitality will continue to recover.

If you had to give one recommendation to an advertiser who wants to use performance marketing to achieve business results, what would it be?

Be transparent with your agency partners on exactly what goals are in place and set hard benchmarks to ensure performance is tracking as expected.  However, do not simply rely solely on the plan to achieve the anticipated results.  Embrace a spirit of experimentation and allocate budget to an on-going test and learn regimen.  This will enable brands to identify new opportunities, test new platforms, scale those that are successful, and provide a greater ROAS.

Share a fun fact about yourself

As a kid I loved the Muppets, and still believe Jim Henson was a creative genius.  Over time, through gifts, I have somehow amassed a small collection of Muppet art.  Some of my favorites are ‘The Last Cookie’ – a take with Cookie Monster in ‘The Last Supper’ by da Vinci; and Beaker featured in ‘The Scream’ by Munch.

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