10 episodes

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 30 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.





For more about Gunpowder Consulting, please visit www.gunpowderconsulting.com or for details of our online, mentored, new business courses, please visit www.smallsparktheory.com





Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation #smallsparktheory


With thanks to Matthew Syed for audio extract permission.


Host - Lucy Mann


Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

Small Spark Theory: a marginal gains approach to new business and marketing Lucy Mann

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 78 Ratings

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 30 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.





For more about Gunpowder Consulting, please visit www.gunpowderconsulting.com or for details of our online, mentored, new business courses, please visit www.smallsparktheory.com





Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation #smallsparktheory


With thanks to Matthew Syed for audio extract permission.


Host - Lucy Mann


Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

    EP64: The Agency Growth Challenge | Daniel de la Cruz | Polymensa

    EP64: The Agency Growth Challenge | Daniel de la Cruz | Polymensa

    Whether your agency has a fast track growth plan or a more modest desire to maintain the status quo, there are innumerable challenges that can derail even the best laid plans. Client insecurity or overexposure, floundering new business pipelines or skills shortages not to mention the wider economic backdrop, can all create pinch-points for agency […]

    • 47 min
    EP63: Agency positioning 2022 | Roland Gurney | Treacle

    EP63: Agency positioning 2022 | Roland Gurney | Treacle

    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 […]

    • 35 min
    EP62: Mastering thought leadership | Mark Wellings | Grist

    EP62: Mastering thought leadership | Mark Wellings | Grist

    Thought leadership – in its various forms, is a topic we have covered in a number of episodes over the years. Done well, it can be a game-changer for agency marketing, sparking and re-igniting meaningful prospect and client conversations. However, there are a number common hurdles I tend to encounter when speaking with agency founders […]

    • 38 min
    EP61: Small agency, big profile | Dr Kat Arney | First Create The Media

    EP61: Small agency, big profile | Dr Kat Arney | First Create The Media

    I have a constant fascination with the power of agency marketing. I’m sure it’s my age – having cut my new business teeth in a pre-digital era, but my enthusiasm for the growing array of channels available for anyone to share their message with an audience shows no sign of abating.  























    So forgive me for revisiting the subject of profile building once again. Last year I dedicated three episodes to content resourcing, personal branding and LinkedIn profile building and back in episode 25 I chatted to Brandhook’s Pip Stocks who shared her story of successfully building out a thought leadership campaign. 























    For this episode, I wanted to showcase another small agency, but with a slightly different challenge – how do you balance the profile of the founder with the profile of the agency?























    Dr Kat Arney is a multi award-winning science writer and broadcaster, and founder and Creative Director of First Create The Media. Having started the agency in 2018 after over a decade at Cancer Research UK, Kat continues to publish books, produce numerous podcasts and, given the opportunity, take to the stage to speak about science and society. Join us as we talk about the trials of the accidental agency owner, juggling personal profile projects with billable time and much more. 























    Kat’s recommended read is Story Dash: Find, Develop, and Activate Your Most Valuable Business Stories . . . In Just a Few Hours – listen in to find out how to win a copy. 























    Also mentioned in this episode:











    Rebel Cell – buy signed copies https://www.rebelcellbook.com/ or find it wherever books are sold











    Genetics Unzipped podcast https://geneticsunzipped.com/











    Ingenious https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000h0fy/episodes/player 

    • 39 min
    EP60: What can we expect in 2022? | Rory Spence | The Wow Company

    EP60: What can we expect in 2022? | Rory Spence | The Wow Company

    So here we are in 2022.























    I’m not really one for resolutions, but there is something about a new year that makes me want to clear the decks, remove distractions and create a renewed sense of focus. A new notebook and a tidy Dropbox tend to help but I find data the most useful tool. Whether that’s marketing data, new business pipeline analysis or attributing the source of new client wins, good data removes emotion and really allows us to identify marginal gains.























    With this in mind I wanted our first episode of the year to focus on agency performance data – and who better to talk to than The Wow Company.























    This year, Wow launches the 10th annual BenchPress report, the largest survey of independent agencies in the UK, so I invited Rory Spence to join me to pick through a decade of statistics and uncover the insights that can give us confidence – or caution – for the year ahead.























    Spoiler alert – you might need to increase your prices!























    Whatever your agency plans are for this year I hope you are feeling refreshed, energised and inspired. Let’s make 2022 one to remember.























    You can find all the previous BenchPress reports here and contribute to the 2022 report here.























    Rory’s recommended read is I’m an Agency Owner, Get Me Out of Here by Jonathan Leafe.

    • 37 min
    EP59: Can we still win without pitching? | Blair Enns

    EP59: Can we still win without pitching? | Blair Enns

    There has been much written on the subject of agency new business, but I’m not sure there has been a book which has resonated so deeply with agency founders and new business practitioners alike, as the Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns.























    So as we come to the end of another extraordinary year and the final episode of 2021, I wanted to chat with Blair about his reflections on the Manifesto, over a decade from its publication and his outlook for the year ahead.























    Do the proclamations set out in the book still apply in these altered economic times? And can we still gain traction with the value pricing approach in Pricing Creativity?























    Join us as we explore the challenges and opportunities ahead, and tackle a few listener questions!























    This episode marks the 5-year anniversary of Small Spark Theory. So a heartfelt thank you from me to all of the listeners and guests who have been along for the ride so far. We’ll be back in the New Year with more guests and more marginal gains. In the meantime wishing you all a wonderful festive break.  























    Also mentioned in this episode























    Icelandverse























    Four Regrets You’re About to Have























    Win Without Pitching

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
78 Ratings

78 Ratings

kstdle ,

Great guests and helpful tips

Awesome podcast. Would recommend!

KC_FD ,

Grow your agency with this podcast!

A fantastic podcast to help small business owners grow their client base. A brilliant range of business topics and issues are discussed in a friendly and informative manner.

The willingness of the guests to pass on and share their knowledge and expertise is heartwarming. I want to keep Small Spark Theory as my little secret. It is one of the best business development tools out there.

KateClayton ,

Brilliant!

Fantastic advice and brilliant insights.
A must listen for anyone working in agency New Business and Marketing!

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