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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

Sep 4, 2023

How much of your agency revenue comes from overseas clients? Did you know that the US is the largest recipient of UK exports, receiving £3.9bn worth of advertising and market research services, – a value that has more than tripled since 2020?

In this episode I chat to Kat Thay, Co-Founder of K&C, Co-President of the

Aug 11, 2023

Understanding how clients are buying agency services is fundamental to how we shape our new business and marketing strategies and processes.

In recent episodes we’ve heard perspectives from procurement expert Tina Fegent and lead generation expert Alex Sibille, so it feels only fitting to add an intermediary point...

Jul 10, 2023

Winning new clients has never been straightforward. But after the upheaval of the last few years, last year in particular we saw an added complication - resource.

And of course that scarcity of talent naturally increased salary expectations, meaning that profit margins on new and existing projects were being squeezed...

Jun 12, 2023

I feel as though we’ve been skirting around the edges of a beast of a topic for some time on this podcast, namely emergent technology and its impact on agencies.

Of course, no single episode is going to unpick the labyrinth of challenges and opportunities for our clients, and in turn the agency community, but as the...

May 4, 2023

In recent episodes, we’ve talked a lot about change and uncertainty, the persistent undercurrents unsettling our new business efforts and impacting our client relationships.

So, it seems a perfect time to speak to someone who has an unrivalled perspective of the agency and client dynamic – Tina Fegent.

From becoming...