Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

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.

Find our more about Gunpowder Consulting, please visit
Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation #smallsparktheory
Music from Jukedeck - create your own at
Host - Lucy Mann
Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

Jan 11, 2023

How do you feel about the year ahead? Confident? Concerned? Uncertain?

Wherever you are on this spectrum, one thing we must be, is ready

I particularly like the work that Steve Parks does at Convivio because he focuses heavily on the macro issues facing clients and prospects and encourages agency leaders to use this insight to plan, adapt and respond as necessary. We discussed this approach when Steve joined me on the podcast back in episode 57, so I was keen to bring him back to get us in the right frame of mind for our first episode of 2023. 

This is a bumper conversation, full of solid insight and brilliant, practical advice. We discuss some familar themes from last year and identify the potential hurdles and opportunties that lie ahead.

As always we'll be giving away a copy of Steve's recommended read: The Alliance by Reid Hoffman- listen in to find out how to win. 

Also mentioned in this episode:


Anti-fragile: things that gain from disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Further reading

The Agency Radar

High Altitude Thinking

The True Hope of Optimistic Pessimism


The Trussell Trust New Business Trouble Shoot