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Small Spark Theory: a marginal gains approach to new business and marketing

New business is one of those subjects guaranteed to get a reaction from agency owners everywhere. Many will have a nagging feeling they should be doing a bit more, wonder how other agencies manage to land the accounts they covet, have moments of wild inspiration and energy then falter because the day job just, well gets in the way.
Gunpowder’s Lucy Mann has worked in agency new business for over 25 years and has witnessed these scenarios, and many more like them, as an outsourced new business telemarketer, a new business recruitment consultant, in house new business developer, in house head of marketing, and new business mentor across multiple disciplines and agency shapes and sizes.
Regardless of size and discipline, many agencies encounter the same new business challenges, and more and more, the solution is not necessarily an ambitious marketing plan, or expensive sales resource, but instead a forensic application of process and a marginal gains approach to performance improvement.
Gunpowder’s podcast, Small Spark Theory® explores the small changes we can make to our sales and marketing process to achieve better new business results. With contributions from a range of experts, each episode will examine a single element of the process in detail, providing manageable tips for improvement.

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Music from Jukedeck - create your own at
Host - Lucy Mann
Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

Dec 4, 2022

Whichever way we cut it, 2022 has been A LOT.

The last few years have seen so much change; for individuals, businesses and our industry. Many of us are still adapting. Whether we are recalibrating, reinventing, surviving or thriving, we’re doing it all against a backdrop of relentless economic and political turmoil and...

Nov 7, 2022

It’s been a little while since we had a client perspective on this podcast, and given the current economic wobbles, now feels like an excellent time to remedy this.

So I’m delighted to share this conversation with Gareth Turner. Having enjoyed a stellar marketing career with brands such as Johns Smith’s, Bulmers...

Sep 30, 2022

It’s been a while since we talked about new business talent on this podcast. But after a bumpy couple of years, it seems like the right time to shine a spotlight on the superstars in our industry who willingly show up every day to seek out new clients for their agencies.

I wrote about the challenges for new business...

Sep 8, 2022

The theme for this series has always been to explore how we can use a marginal gains thinking to improve agency new business and marketing performance.

That said, I’m conscious that in some episodes, when we do a deep dive into a particular element of new business and marketing mix, our reference to marginal gains may...

Aug 9, 2022

There is no doubt these are troubling times. As the economic storm clouds gather, we are all bracing ourselves for some pain in the months ahead as marketing spends come under pressure.

But what concerns me most is the timing. For most of this year, I’ve witnessed agencies juggling an influx of projects,...