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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

Jul 3, 2017

Getting in a room together with clients and prospects is undoubtedly the best way to foster good relationships. But creating the opportunity to connect in person, outside of the cut and thrust of delivering day to day project work, or a credentials or a pitch scenario, can be a challenge. 

Hosting an event, which either showcases thought leadership to your existing clients, or allows you to demonstrate your expertise to a wider audience can be prove to be a highly effective weapon in your new business and marketing arsenal.

But where to start? Will people turn up? And what will we say when they do? 

In this episode of Small Spark Theory, we explore how to make the most from agency events and avoid some of the most common mistakes (a clue, it’s all in the planning)! 

As always, we’ve got a competition for you and will be giving away a copy of Adam Grant’s Give & Take. So listen in to find out how to win.

If you feel inspired to host your own event here are some of the tried and tested London venues we like:


The central events team at Firmdale manage event spaces for all of the hotels in the group including Ham Yard, Charlotte Street, Haymarket and Soho Hotel. Plenty of fabulous rooms for private dinners, screenings or larger scale events.

Swan at the Globe

With wonderful views across the river to St Pauls, the Swan can cater for meetings, private dining or larger events.

J&A Café

Lovely Clerkenwell space available for private hire for evening events

Jones Family Project

Great location near Old Street, interesting space options and a dangerous cocktail list.

Forge & Co

Shoreditch co-working space can cater for a range of events.

Riding House Café

The Stables private dining room is a hidden gem for private dining group of up to 14 people.

Vinyl Factory Soho

A bigger space for a larger scale event with a central location

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #smallsparktheory