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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 1, 2023

December 2023 marks seven years of Small Spark Theory. Mindblowing then that’s it’s taken this long for a dedicated episode on the topic of proposals - such a crucial element of the new business process but a perennial pain point all the same. 

Joe Ardeeser was so determined to find a better solution for turning...

Nov 3, 2023

Regular listeners to this podcast will know that we spend a lot of time here talking about relationships. Of course there is much to say in our industry about creativity and marketing and technology innovation, but fundamentally, as agencies we are service businesses and so the process of attracting, winning...

Oct 9, 2023

I have met many agencies over the years who have had ideas for spinning out their own products. 

The outcomes have been varied. From those who have successfully launched and created additional revenue streams, to those who have continued to scale and ultimately sell their product business. For many though, the constant...

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...