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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 5, 2023

Any regular listeners to this podcast will know that I love agencies. I have a deep fascination for the dynamics of what are often small businesses, almost always servicing larger organisations and adapting to the continually shifting sands of markets, consumer behaviour, the economy, competitors – and of course, technology.

In this episode I discuss the challenges of maintaining relevance with the brilliant Mark Wilson, one half of the agency previously known as Wilson Fletcher, newly rebranded as Futurestate Design.

How do you decide when to transform? When to stick and when to twist? How to you find the language to articulate your offer when technology moves so fast that ‘digital’ is no longer helpful.

As always we are giving away a copy of Mark’s recommended read: No Rules Rules by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer. Listen in to find out how to win.

Also mentioned in this episode is Mark’s own book Futurestate Design: How to step out of the past to create a business fit for the future.

Powerful by Patty McCord

This episode is sponsored by E2M, the #1 white label digital agency partner. Visit to enjoy 20% discount on your first month.  

Additional music: "Show Me" by Josh Woodward