Q: Hello Matthew! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your website matthewmclaren.com?
I’m a Digital Marketing Professional based in Toronto, Canada. I focus on lead generation throughout all aspects of digital marketing, and I’ve been fortunate to have spent the last year leading the marketing team at Amity – a fast-growing customer success software company.
I initially created a website with the intention to become familiar with WordPress. Fast forward three years, and my website continues to function as an online space where I can experiment with various new website features and plugins. It’s the first place I go to try out new ideas, and also the platform I use to showcase my work.
Q: You bill yourself as a digital marketing enthusiast, advocate, professional, and aficionado. Out of these four, which takes priority for you in your day-to-day work?
Being a digital marketing advocate is not something I take lightly. I think that every business should prioritize creating an online presence, and with so many tools available, it’s become easier than ever. To me, not having one is just a missed opportunity.
Q: As someone with a passion for design, what currently excites you about current web design techniques?
I get really excited when I come across a site that not only looks great, but also takes user experience into account – that aspect is more important than ever. My motto is simple: create products with a good user interface and experience.
Q: Do you have a design pet peeve that you often see that others could do well to avoid?
Stock photos. There is literally nothing that bothers me more than the use of generic stock photos. Marketers can access several online resources for free in order to enhance their blog posts and website. Getting started can be overwhelming, but this blog post is a great first step in choosing better images.
Q: What separates your approach from others within the digital marketing sector?
I’m always thinking about how people are going to interact with my work. Whether I’m designing an email blast or building a website, I am always thinking about how I can streamline a process while making it as easy as possible for the user to understand.
Q: On your Experience page, you proudly showcase your volunteer work. How valuable is it for others to gain experience by volunteering their time to worthy causes?
If you can channel something that you’re passionate about, and ultimately inspire people or make a difference in someone’s life, that’s a really great feeling – and I think everyone should experience that.
Q: How does a background in criminal justice and youth advocacy translate to the work you do today, if at all?
My passion for youth advocacy helped me get my foot in the door of digital marketing. I’ve always had a knack for technology, so in my third year of undergrad I built a tool called Ask An Advocate for a class project. In a nutshell, it was an app for young people to navigate their communities, which helped them learn more about their rights and gain access local resource.
My professor took notice of my passion and introduced me to the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. They were so impressed with the app that they offered me an internship to help build their online presence. That was really my foot in the door and led to many great learning opportunities. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be where I am right now without that opportunity.
Q: What has been your favorite project to work on, and why?
By far my favorite project was the Ask An Advocate app, because this is where I found my passion. I spent countless hours trying to perfect certain features, and there was nothing more motivating than finally getting it right.
Q: Breaking out the crystal ball, what’s next for the world of digital marketing, creative design, and your own career?
I’d say that good design is going to continue to become more about the user’s experience. Good design is no longer just about how something looks – it’s more about how it aligns with your audience’s understanding and your brand.
As for my own career, I’m starting a new role as a Marketing Programs Manager at an enterprise software company called LookBook HQ. This is going to be a unique and challenging experience because I’m going to be targeting the marketers themselves. I’m up for the challenge and looking forward to working with (and learning from) LookBook HQ’s incredible team.