88 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 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.

Find our more about Gunpowder Consulting, please visit gunpowderconsulting.com

Follow us on Twitter @gunpowdertweets and join the conversation at #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
    • 4.9 • 92 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 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.

Find our more about Gunpowder Consulting, please visit gunpowderconsulting.com

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

With thanks to Matthew Syed for audio extract permission.
Host - Lucy Mann
Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

    EP87: Why we need to stop 'doing' new business | Lucy Mann

    EP87: Why we need to stop 'doing' new business | Lucy Mann

    Over the recent months, I have observed how agencies have been experiencing the impact of economic uncertainty - including the stalling of client decision-making, frozen budgets, disappearing pipelines, and everything in between.
    In their recent BenchPress report, The Wow Company described last year as 'brutal' for agencies, and as 2024 adds more political uncertainty, there is no sign of any immediate relief.
    So, with this in mind, I wanted to share my thoughts on why 'new business' is such a problem for agencies and suggest some practical steps we can take to alleviate that ever-present feeling of needing to pull a proverbial rabbit out of a hat.
    There's no book recommendation this month; instead, I've compiled a short guide to help you reboot your new business pipeline in five simple steps.
    Download your free guide here.

    • 22 min
    EP86: In-house creative teams. An agency threat or opportunity? | Emma Sexton

    EP86: In-house creative teams. An agency threat or opportunity? | Emma Sexton

    Over recent episodes we’ve referenced many of the macro issues facing brands which have in turn slowed down or stalled new business opportunities for agencies. 
    But there’s an elephant in the room that we’ve yet to address; the growing trend of clients deciding to bring creative resource in-house. 
    In this episode I speak to designer, brand specialist, ex-agency owner and all-round magnificent entrepreneur Emma Sexton. Emma has long championed in-house creative teams having set up the Inside Out Awards over a decade ago. In 2021 this association blossomed into The Inside Out Community, a vibrant member community of in-house creative leaders. 
    Emma shares with us the latest statistics on the growth of in-house creative teams, both nationally and internationally and the key drivers behind this shift. We look at the role of AI and budgetary implications. Most importantly, we look at the opportunities for agencies in the face of a trend that isn’t going away any time soon.
    You can read more about these insights in the recently released report The Future of In-House of Creative Leadership.
    Our book giveaway this month is Emma’s recommendation: Madison Avenue Makeover : The transformation of Huge and the redefinition of the ad agency business. Listen in to find out how to win. 
    You can listen to Emma’s previous conversation with us about new agency models here.

    • 37 min
    EP85: Changing Perception | Steve Garside | TMW

    EP85: Changing Perception | Steve Garside | TMW

    EP85:  Changing perception | Steve Garside | TMW           
    Have you ever felt that your agency is pigeonholed by clients and prospects as being a specialist in just one thing, where in reality you have so much more to offer?
    Of course being seen as a specialist of any kind is a generally a good thing – we have many episodes where we have discussed this at length. But in some cases, over time, the perception of a narrow service specialism can become an inhibitor to growth.
    In this episode I’m joined by Steve Garside, Divisional Head of New Business & Marketing at TMW Unlimited as we discuss the challenge of changing the market perception of an agency know for decades as a CRM specialist.
    Steve takes us through his approach to broadening the agency’s appeal to a wider audience and shares his top tips for anyone looking to get out of troublesome pigeonhole.
    No book competition this time but you can download Steve’s recommended read: New Business: A guide to life on the frontline published by the IPA.

    • 37 min
    EP84: Reposition, rename, rebrand | Rachel Cook | ThreeTenSeven

    EP84: Reposition, rename, rebrand | Rachel Cook | ThreeTenSeven

    Here we are at the beginning of 2024 and it feels fitting for our first episode of the year to celebrate change.
    Last Summer, 40 year old agency Thompson Brand Partners rebranded as ThreeTenSeven - the final iteration of the agency’s repositioning following a management buy-out in 2019.
    At a time when we have seen so much uncertainty, in the economy, our working practices and our client’s changing needs, I was inspired by the confidence of this move, and wanted to find out more.
    In this episode I talk to Managing Director Rachel Cook, about the process the team went through to bring about this change, the implications for the agency’s new business and marketing and that small matter of showcasing diversity in leadership.
    Rachel’s recommended read is How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb, listen in to find out how to win a copy.
    As discussed in this episode we are always delighted to hear from potential guests with stories and expertise to share. If that’s you, please get in touch at lucy@gunpowderconsulting.com
    This episode is sponsored by E2M, the #1 white label digital agency partner. Visit https://www.e2msolutions.com/smallsparktheory/ to enjoy 20% discount on your first month.
     

    • 35 min
    EP83: Winning proposals | Joe Ardeeser | Smart Pricing Table

    EP83: Winning proposals | Joe Ardeeser | Smart Pricing Table

    December 2023 marks seven years of Small Spark Theory. Mindblowing then that’s it’s taken this long for a dedicated episode on the topic of proposals - such a crucial element of the new business process but a perennial pain point all the same. 
    Joe Ardeeser was so determined to find a better solution for turning around compelling proposals for his digital agency that he designed his own software. And so Smart Pricing Table was born. 
    Joe joins me in this episode to discuss the thinking behind the software; the power of packaged services; the proposal as a collaborative tool between agency and prospect and Joe’s love of marginal gains. 
    As always we’ll be giving away a copy of Joe’s recommended read: Good to Great by Jim Collins. Listen in to find out how to win. 
    Also mentioned in this episode:
    10 Rules Every Agency Must Follow For Winning Proposals
    Built to Last by Jim Collins
    Sell Like Crazy by Sabri Suby
    Thanks for listening this year. We’ll be back in 2024 with more conversations and more marginal gains designed to help you attract and win more business. 
    Enjoy the festive season!
    This episode is sponsored by E2M, the #1 white label digital agency partner. Visit https://www.e2msolutions.com/smallsparktheory/ to enjoy 20% discount on your first month.

    • 31 min
    EP82: How to improve performance and reduce stress | David Meikle | HTBAG

    EP82: How to improve performance and reduce stress | David Meikle | HTBAG

    Regular listeners to this podcast will know that we spend a lot of time here talking about relationships. Of course there is much to say in our industry about creativity and marketing and technology innovation, but fundamentally, as agencies we are service businesses and so the process of attracting, winning and retaining clients has as much to do with the the people involved and the relationships we create as it does with the creative or technological outputs. 
    This year I’ve spent a lot of time auditing client relationships on behalf of agencies, so have been paying particular attention to the behaviours and dynamics that define successful working relationships - from early new business conversations all the way through to retained (and referred) business. 
    So I was particularly excited to receive a copy of Tuning Up, the new book by David Meikle, exploring how responsibility and control relate to one another in ALL of our relationships but specifically within the client and agency dynamic. 
    In this episode David joins me to discuss how using his clever Meikle Matrix to help us better understand responsibility and control,  we can improve our performance and reduce stress. 
    Don't forget, we’ll be giving a lucky listener a copy of Tuning Up, listen in to find out how to win. 
    This episode is sponsored by E2M, the #1 white label digital agency partner. Visit https://www.e2msolutions.com/smallsparktheory/ to enjoy 20% discount on your first month.
    Also mentioned in the episode:
    David's previous book: How To Buy A Gorilla
    EP30: Rethinking Procurement
     

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
92 Ratings

92 Ratings

Oliver from TDL ,

Such a helpful podcast

As an ‘accidental agency owner’ myself, I’ve found this podcast a fantastic source of tips and inspiration that really can make a difference. I’ve just got home from a trip to London and binge-listened four in a row!

If you want one to get you into the swing of things then check out Matt Watkinson’s ‘Mastering Uncertainty’. Lucy is a great host and knows exactly when to let the guest go for it!

Keep up the great work and thank you.

wishy14 ,

Always so interesting

Loads of really practical and useful advice. Highly recommend 💥

Mewcy ,

So many insights

My go-to and a must for anyone working in the creative industry. Constantly learning and growing!

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