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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

Oct 9, 2023

I have met many agencies over the years who have had ideas for spinning out their own products. 

The outcomes have been varied. From those who have successfully launched and created additional revenue streams, to those who have continued to scale and ultimately sell their product business. For many though, the constant pull of client projects and the day to day demands of running an agency mean that many brilliant product ideas just never make it out of the agency doors. 

In this episode I speak with Paul Halfpenny, Co-Founder and CTO of digital agency Filter, just as the agency launches PersonalizeWP

We discuss the importance of defining and getting behind the ‘right’ idea for the agency. The challenges of managing resource, securing investment and launching to market all while keeping the agency ticking along with a happy team and clients. 

Paul’s recommended read is Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett. Listen in to find out how to win a copy. 

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

Further reading:

The Marketer's Guide to Personalisation

5 Ways To Use PersonalizeWP To Personalise Your WordPress Website

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