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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

Apr 19, 2022

Within the ecosystem of agency new business, marketing, client development and the wider sphere of agency growth, there are certain topics which we will undoubtedly revist again and again. So, not for the first time, and certainly not the last, I wanted to talk about agency positioning. And not for the first time, and I hope not the last, I wanted to talk to Roland Gurney.

Roland joined us on the podcast in January 2020 to help us unpick some agency messaging pitfalls. So many people loved that episode and got in touch with Treacle for help, that it seemed only fitting get together again and take stock of where we are now.

How has the landscape changed in the last two years? Should we be thinking differently about difference? Is niching still the answer?

Listen in as we discuss all this and more. Roland’s recommended read is The Advertising Concept Book: Think Now, Design Later by Pete Barry.