In conversation with Zoe Loveland - Episode 3 - Inspiring the Next CMO series

Updated: May 14

Join Lou in a conversation with Zoe Loveland, an industry senior director in marketing. Discover all about the audiobooks and podcasts Zoe loves, the 'exploding kittens' card game, the importance of surrounding yourself with different generations for inspiration, forging a career path in publishing, mentoring in third world countries and faking it till you make it – balancing family life and a career.

Podcast: Website, iTunes, Podbean, Spotify, Google


Podcast channel: Website, Google Podcast, iTunes, Podbean, Spotify

Transcription (contain Amazon affiliate links):

Hello hello

Right. This is our Inspiring the Next CMO podcast series for Behind the Fluff podcast from The International Bunch. It’s specifically for those in marketing, those interesting in marketing, those in academic publishing, scholarly comms and libraries.

Who are we going to be talking with today?

Zoe Loveland.

Zoe is a senior director in marketing. Zoe talks with us about:

· Audiobooks and exploding kittens – yes you did just hear that right!

· The importance of surrounding yourself with different generations for inspiration

· Forging a path in publishing with a working class background

· Mentoring in third world countries

· Fake it till you make it – balancing family life and a career

Some of you may know that several years ago, Zoe was lucky enough to manage me and we went through some career developing times together, learning how to quickly and easily adapt to very changing times. So why don’t we just jump straight in? Let’s go.

Lou: Welcome everybody to our Behind the Fluff, inspiring the next CMO podcast series. You can find lots of great resources to really raise your game on our website, which is

I am delighted today to have Zoe Loveland with me. Zoe's a senior director of regional marketing EMEA in the industry. And in fact, Zoe and I used to work together some 11 years ago. And Zoe was my boss! We had some fun times and we had some challenging times. But one thing I can say about Zoe is I've always admired Zoe, and Zoe has always been an excellent people manager and a very very supportive manager. And so hello, Zoe.

Zoe: Hello, Lou. Thank you so much for asking me to do this. I loved getting the questions and having a think about, you know, some of the topics that you just don't spend a lot of time thinking about every day. It’s great, thank you.

Lou: My pleasure. Well, I had to have you involved in this. So, now before we get started I have one question for: something we ask everyone to do before we get started with our series of questions is, we have a campaign that we do where we send out a word of the day. So it's #intbunchwordoftheday, and we want to know what's your favourite word and what does it mean?

Zoe: So my favourite word is actually one that you've already had on your International Bunch word of the day, but a couple of months ago, because I checked it out when I was thinking about this, and the word is the word for the wonderful smell after it's been raining. That word is petrichor. So you know when you go out, especially in the summer when it's been really hot and it's been really dry for days and then you have a lovely rain shower and there's that beautiful kind of earthy smell and everything smells like it's coming back to life. That word is petrichor, to describe that, and it's apparently, I found out, it's a Greek word from Petri which means rock and ichor, which was the blood flowing through the veins of the Greek gods. So it's just lovely that there's a word to describe that delicious smell.

Lou: Yasmin does an amazing job of finding some really random words, and I wish some of them we used more in our vocabulary. That is a brilliant word and when you said that, literally I could smell that smell.

Zoe: It is a gorgeous smell. When you're on holiday in a really hot place and there's like a thunderstorm or something. I miss that, but that that beautiful smell you get.

Lou: Oh the good old days when we could go on holiday.

Zoe: To genuinely warm places, yep. Yes so I'm always looking for an opportunity to use petrichor in a sentence; it doesn't come up very often so thank you for allowing me to use that word.

Lou: Well, you know it’s there to be used. I think that actually I should set you a little challenge in the next meeting that you have, you should stick it in.

Zoe: Yes, it's quite challenging in marketing to find the word petrichor in academic marketing, but I'll try.

Lou: Just throw it in. So what is the best thing that you have discovered in the last year?

Zoe: So I think one of the best things that I've discovered in the last year is the Audible app.

Lou: Right there with you on that one.

Zoe: Before the lockdown I'd got really into listening to podcasts going to and from work, and we're going to talk about podcasts I think a bit later, but I was looking for something where if I'm feeling really tired and I don't want to look at stuff, because we're all looking at screens all day every day now with very little break, just something a little bit longer than the kind of one hour podcast. I have listened to so many books on Audible and it's such an amazing immersive experience. I think I've got more out of books that I've listened to, and a deeper understanding of them probably than when I'm just doing normal reading. I've absolutely loved it. It is the contribution of the people who read the books who act; I've read books narrated by Tom Hanks and other people, and yes, I've loved it. It's been really great.

The other thing I've really enjoyed - totally irrelevant - is discovering the card game ‘exploding kittens’.

Lou: Oh, what is that?

Zoe: It's a card game where you basically use tactics to try and get whoever is playing with you to pick up the exploding kitten card, and we've spent hours as a family tricking each other being sneaky. So I highly recommend the exploding kittens, the card game.

Lou: I'm definitely going to look that up. That sounds hilarious. I completely agree with you about Audible though. I also have been listening to it a lot in the last year. And I go running and listen to it because I'm terrible at reading. I know you've always been really good at reading, from when we work together. And I just needed something to distract me, and it's amazing and also listening to podcasts. I find I’m running along, trying to breathe, but then I'm chuckling to myself and no one’s got any idea what I'm listening to, but yes, brilliant.

I’m just still laughing in my head about the exploding kittens card game. So who inspires you?

Zoe: This is a really, really tricky one because I don't think there's any one person or any one level which I'm inspired by. Sure, I'm quite often inspired by famous people like just Jacinda Ardern, who's running a country, or Michelle Obama, who I absolutely loved her autobiography and I was really inspired by both her and Jacinda Ardern's ability to be in these extreme positions of leadership that they've never seen themselves in, but still be themselves and still be true to their values and not listen to the critics who wanted them to behave in different ways. So those kinds of people do really inspire me, but I'm also really inspired, just on a day-to-day basis, by a lot of the people that I work with. Particularly my team at the moment. I work with a lot of women who are of a slightly younger generation than me, and I am really inspired by their confidence, their dedication to continuous learning, their resolve and strong sense of self and direction, that I don't feel like I had particularly at their age and where they are in their roles. So I take a lot of inspiration from working with them as well. And being able to help them is one of the most rewarding things I think that I get to do.

Lou: I've worked with your team, from a work capacity in terms of from us to you, because you're one of our clients, and I have to say that I've always been impressed with those of your team that I’ve worked with. They really are rising stars. And actually, I think that they themselves, they get involved with some really interesting projects, but when you speak to them from my perspective - as you being the client and me as the agency side, I'm just really impressed with the calibre of your team and what they're actually doing, and their feedback and how they want things to be done. I think they're really fab too. And I don’t say that because you’re my client!

Zoe: Yes, you have to say that, and I have to say that, no I don’t have to say that because I'm their manager. But actually, I do find that it’s keeping me on my toes. They have knowledge because they've come up through marketing in a different way to me, and I probably talked about this as well, but they have knowledge and experience that I don't have. And they push me to be better all the time, and to learn more because my goal is to make them successful. My success is them being successful, and I listen to them a lot and I've learned such a huge amount from working with them.

Lou: That's really lovely. And I think that when they hear this, they'll really appreciate that as well.

So when you were young, what did you want to be?

Zoe: It’s such a boring cliché for someone working in the publishing industry but a -

Lou: What, a marketer?!

Zoe: No, no. I didn't want to be a marketer, I didn’t even know what that was. I wanted to do something that was oriented in writing and creativity, of course. When I was really young I wanted to be an author, I've always loved books. I've always loved reading. At the time when I was young, before I went to University, I really thought that meant I’d want to be a journalist because journalists are cool and they get to do lots of writing, and it wasn't until I got to University and I joined the student newspaper that like within about three assignments on the student newspaper, I was like, this really isn’t for me; I don't like this at all. But how can I still be involved in the world of the written word and creativity and telling stories? So I think that's how I really ended up in marketing because I love that telling stories piece.

I also really wanted to be, this is going to tell my age now; there used to be a programme on BBC One called The Holiday Programme, and I really wanted to be a presenter on The Holiday Programme because they travelled around to all these exotic resorts and things to encourage people to take holidays abroad. So I really wanted to do that as well. But I love travel too, so I think that's influenced me, even though I didn't end up as a TV presenter on holiday programmes.

Lou: Listen, you could start your own blog. The world is your oyster now.

Zoe: Well, at the moment it's a very small portion of Cambridgeshire as well, but I’m not sure how much of an audience that would get.

Lou: I don't know if you can travel further than we can. In Wales we can only travel five miles. That's quite restrictive.

Zoe: Yes, it's pretty similar here.

Lou: So if you were to have dinner tonight with anybody - alive or dead - anybody in the world, who would it be?

Zoe: So first of all, it would probably be my mum because I really miss seeing my mum, so that would be my number one. But if she wasn't available, I would probably ask the writer and Times columnist Caitlin Moran to join me because I've read all her books. I read her column in the Saturday Times every week. We are the same age roughly and she's so smart and so funny and she's so incisive with her observations. I think we’d just have a real laugh over dinner. I’d like to think she would like me and we'd get along.

Lou: She is funny. She is really funny. I'm listening to her latest book on Audible at the moment, and I listen to her when I run. And I have to say, when I listened to her book, just previous from 2012, I was thinking that some of the things she was saying, I was thinking, hmm, not really quite for me. Some things I found really funny, some things I was thinking not so much. And now listening to her, what was it like nearly 10 years on, and with her latest book –