February 8, 2016
Photo By PAULA MULLER
Shannon Downey, who owns Black Cat Digital Marketing.
By MICHELE DURGIN
PEABODY — She has 20 years of marketing and public relations experience under her belt so that when Shannon Downey found herself out of work last July, she quickly thought about how to get back in the saddle.
“My first thought was how can I turn my knowledge into work I want to do, but not be beholden to anyone else? Can I freelance full time? I can’t bring myself to go through the interview process again and again. It’s time for me to work for me,” she said during an interview last Sunday.
Downey spoke with friend, Julie Daigle, who works in the city of Peabody’s business office Daigle encouraged her to reach out to the Peabody Chamber of Commerce and find out the steps involved in opening a business.
She wrote a business plan, took advantage of a free year-long membership in the chamber and set the stage for her firm, Black Cat Digital Marketing, to spring into business.
“Technology and marketing go hand in hand today. Small company owners feel involvement in the World Wide Web is cost prohibitive and that’s just not true. I want to be the consultant who helps these businesses figure out the right strategy for them to find their way in today’s marketing world,” she said.
The New York University educated Downey, a lifelong Peabody resident, set her sights on helping small businesses find their voice and get some attention in the world of marketing and business promotion. She decided to focus part of Black Cat’s services on creating small business websites.
“I drive through Peabody Square everyday and passing all of the small businesses got me thinking about how they were going to be able to stay relevant and competitive in today’s digitally driven business world. I was talking to my manicurist about it and she told me that I had explained the need for a website to her better than anyone else had ever explained it before,” she said.
Downey is confident she has the experience and vision to “help businesses figure out the right marketing strategy for them in the digital age.” Her first-year business goals are accumulating clients, making enough money to support herself, and “enjoying my work.”
Downey’s vision extends beyond entrepreneurship to her involvement with the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Foundation. After her brother, Patrick, died seven years ago, at the age of 39, she vowed to honor his memory and raise awareness and money for the cause.
To date she has helped raise more than $30,000 in her brother’s memory.
Downey can be reached at blackcatdigitalmarketing.com.