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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

Jun 12, 2023

I feel as though we’ve been skirting around the edges of a beast of a topic for some time on this podcast, namely emergent technology and its impact on agencies.

Of course, no single episode is going to unpick the labyrinth of challenges and opportunities for our clients, and in turn the agency community, but as the chat about AI continues to rumble in the daily news cycle, it’s feels like the right time to talk to someone who really understands that intersection of technology, people and brands.

Warren Hutchinson is Founder of Else, an experience design, innovation and strategy consultancy and Chair of the Design Business Association. He’s spent 25 years helping businesses as they navigate a point of change.

In this episode, we discuss cutting though the hype and the noise, the power of kinaesthetic learning and its role in our positioning as experts and the importance of not having all the answers.

Warren’s recommended read is Scary Smart by Mo Gowdat. Listen in to find out how to win a copy.

Also mentioned in the episode:

Diary of a CEO E252 Emergency Episode with Mo Gowdat



The Conversation

The Hustle

If you are a DBA Member you can join Warren discussing these topics in Glasgow on 15 June – find out more here

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