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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

Feb 7, 2022

I have a constant fascination with the power of agency marketing. I’m sure it’s my age - having cut my new business teeth in a pre-digital era, but my enthusiasm for the growing array of channels available for anyone to share their message with an audience shows no sign of abating.  

So forgive me for revisiting the subject of profile building once again. Last year I dedicated three episodes to content resourcing, personal branding and LinkedIn profile building and back in episode 25 I chatted to Brandhook’s Pip Stocks who shared her story of successfully building out a thought leadership campaign. 

For this episode, I wanted to showcase another small agency, but with a slightly different challenge - how do you balance the profile of the founder with the profile of the agency?

Dr Kat Arney is a multi award-winning science writer and broadcaster, and founder and Creative Director of First Create The Media. Having started the agency in 2018 after over a decade at Cancer Research UK, Kat continues to publish books, produce numerous podcasts and, given the opportunity, take to the stage to speak about science and society. Join us as we talk about the trials of the accidental agency owner, juggling personal profile projects with billable time and much more. 

Kat’s recommended read is Story Dash: Find, Develop, and Activate Your Most Valuable Business Stories . . . In Just a Few Hours - listen in to find out how to win a copy. 

Also mentioned in this episode:

Rebel Cell - buy signed copies or find it wherever books are sold

Genetics Unzipped podcast