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.
Name: Amy Demers
Title: Project Director, Partner
How long have you worked at Catalyst?
I have been working at Catalyst for eight years.
How long have you worked in digital and what type of clients have you worked on?
I started my career at a full service advertising agency 15 years ago, then switched gears to all things digital in 2007. I have had amazing opportunities to work with major brands across diverse industries. I’ve worked on account teams for great brand name clients.
How did you get your start in digital?
Prior to Catalyst I was a project manager working on integrated campaigns at major ad agencies. A core part of my role was to ensure the efforts of all digital channels were in lock step and creating synergies towards our clients marketing goals and objectives. I saw that search marketing was becoming increasingly important to my clients (both in investment and priority). That said, I set out to learn more about this emerging channel, and came to Catalyst to specialize in the management of these projects. A recruiter called me about an opportunity at Catalyst on my birthday in December 2010. They weren’t hiring right away, but I hung in there and was called back for the job 6 months later. It was worth the wait!
What do you like most about working at Catalyst?
The people! With Beth LeTendre at the helm, the positive energy, resourceful thinking and people-first approach just trickles down in abundance. No egos here. Just lots of very talented, hard-working and innovative people. As a project manager, I am continually challenged to strategically “optimize” support for each team and client. We aren’t about set formula’s or templates here. We are all about testing until we find out what works. The clear winner is whatever provides the best results for our client and allows the talent of our teams to shine through.
What has been your greatest achievement or success in digital?
As the “how the heck do we get this done” ringleader, my greatest success has been in coming up with seamless process to support otherwise complex projects. I really enjoy doing this. Ask anyone here – I love a good process challenge and I have the whiteboard mind maps to prove it!
One of the more impactful projects I’ve been involved with (early on) was finding a way to support search optimization when clients are using agile production methodology in their site builds. Prior to this project, a typical SEO scope assumed waterfall production methodologies – in which case a website is built like a house, laying down the foundation first and progressively elaborating from the ground up (ie. content outline, wireframes, sitemap/AI, copy, images, url mapping, etc.). In the increasingly agile production world, step-by-step optimizations go out the door. Developers work in short sprints, and are more likely to build a site component-by-component so they can apply learnings to the next section (i.e. BOOM – the living room is complete, what room shall we do next? Or should we work on the flooring since it was a challenge in the living room?).
Search optimization is holistic – so when an agile process is employed, we need to embed ourselves into each sprint to allow iterative SEO checkpoints for each sprint, connecting directly with our client’s development teams. We’ve expanded our learnings in workflow software as well to accommodate more agile communication with our clients. For example, we’re integrated into JIRA for several of our client teams, and are using Trello and Smartsheet with others.
In your opinion, what is the most important digital trend or change for 2019?
I wouldn’t dare presume to be the authority on the most important trend, but for those who are project managers in the search and social world, strategic problem solving will be paramount. In other words, every project team needs someone with a holistic, strategic vantage point at the helm. No more check, check, check and it should be all set. We want to observe what the SERPs are doing as intent signals, first party data, automation, etcetera take center stage. We’ll need to test optimizations and adjust accordingly. There will be new ways to define success, measure success and then serve up optimizations. Problem solving will be a team effort, and I’m here to help chart our new course as we uncover it.
If you had to give one recommendation to an advertiser who wants to use search or social marketing to achieve business results, what would it be?
Make sure you select an agency who’s onboarding includes creating a current performance baseline, defining success and then putting a measurement plan in place to track it. All the tactics in your project scope should support what success looks like for your brand/business. I onboard many of our new clients and this is a best practice at Catalyst.
Share a fun fact about yourself
First of all, I’m here to dispel the myth that project managers are all “type A” people who spend all day updating their planner and meticulously filing documents. It is true that I enjoy creating order out of chaos. But that is an art, not always a science – especially when you’re working with people and complex projects.
I love the arts, was a dancer through college, and my passion is working with creative, innovative people. In my free time I volunteer at local art galleries. I’d like to think my problem solving prowess comes from my out-side the box thinking, and, although I no longer dance, every day I choreograph the workflow for our teams.
Why Amy Makes us Proud
“A process reengineering powerhouse, Amy plays a pivotal role in guiding our clients and agency partners through operational challenges that may arise in this ever evolving and complex digital landscape. While it’s hard to choose just one example from a very long list of project accolades, I am constantly amazed by the level of dedication and unwavering support she provides to her team!”– Jennie Raleigh, Sr. Director of Project Management, Catalyst