37 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

Music from Jukedeck - create your own at http://jukedeck.com.

Host - Lucy Mann

Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

Editor - Clair Urbahn

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

    • Business

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

Music from Jukedeck - create your own at http://jukedeck.com.

Host - Lucy Mann

Producer - Isabelle Jarvis

Editor - Clair Urbahn

    EP36: Agency messaging | Roland Gurney | Treacle Copywriters

    EP36: Agency messaging | Roland Gurney | Treacle Copywriters

    For marketers, brand positioning, proposition, messaging and tone of voice are no less fundamental than a visual identity. However, as we’ve discussed here before, for agencies –  largely SMEs and often without dedicated marketing resource – finding the time to achieve clarity here, let alone implement change, is a challenge. 















    Back in episode 6 we talked about maximising agency websites and touched on positioning copy and about us pages. We dug deeper into agency positioning the following year when we talked to David C. Baker in episode 13. There’s so much more to say about messaging so I was very happy to stumble across the Treacle Copywriters blog (thank you LinkedIn) full of no-nonsense advice for agencies.















    In this episode I talk to Treacle founder Roland Gurney about the common messaging pitfalls and the opportunities for agencies to express their difference.















    We’re giving away a copy of Roland’s recommended read: Cashvertising by Drew E. Whitman. Listen in to find out how to win. 

    • 29 min
    EP35: Agency awards | Stef Brown | On Pointe Marketing

    EP35: Agency awards | Stef Brown | On Pointe Marketing

    Whatever your planning cycle, at this time of year we are naturally drawn to consider our goals for the year ahead and begin shaping our marketing calendars.















    And as agency awards can take up such a considerable amount of time, energy and budget -it seems only right that we apply our marginal gains scrutiny to understand how to maximise our return on investment.















    In this episode, I get together with agency awards expert Stef Brown. Stef has clocked up an enviable win rate over the years, supporting all kinds of agencies to land their most prized gongs.  















    Join us as Stef takes us through her top tips – from prioritising awards schemes, creating winning entries and publicising our wins.















    We’re giving away a copy of Stef’s recommended read: A Smile in the Mind, listen in to find out how to win.  















    If you are looking to take control of your agency new business and marketing planning in 2020, check out the Small Spark Theory Institute at www.smallsparktheory.com 

    • 44 min
    EP34: Northern agency focus Phil Gripton | Waypoint Partners

    EP34: Northern agency focus Phil Gripton | Waypoint Partners

    For a variety of reasons I’ve had the opportunity to travel across the country more than usual this year, speaking on behalf of the Design Business Association in Manchester and Leeds and joining the Agency Collective at events in Bristol and Edinburgh. 















    It’s given me the opportunity to talk to agencies outside of the London bubble and better understand some of the differences and similarities around the perennial challenges and opportunities for growth. 















    So it was a pleasure to get to chat with Phil Gripton for this episode. Phil is a partner at growth advisory firm Waypoint, supporting agencies in the North of England and Scotland. His experience spans three decades of growing, running and selling agencies, as well as buying agency services in a number of client-side roles. 















    Phil shares his top tips for maximising agency performance – from boosting profitability to shaping up for acquisition. 















    We’re giving away a copy of Phil’s recommended read, Invisible Powerby Ken Manning, Robin Charbit, and Sandra Krot – listen in to find out how to win. 

    • 34 min
    Introducing the Small Spark Theory Institute

    Introducing the Small Spark Theory Institute

    Over the last three years we have received so much wonderful feedback from Small Spark Theory listeners, telling us how they have been putting the advice from the podcast into practice and seeing marginal gains improvements in new business performance. 















    In response to this, we have created the Small Spark Theory Institute, providing mentored, online new business and marketing courses. 















    Our first course – a New Business & Marketing Bootcamp, is designed specifically for founders of 2-10 person agencies, who want to build workable strategies and plans whilst optimising their results. Over 60 individual lessons and 4 x one-to-one video calls with me, Lucy Mann, we guide participants through setting objectives and a strategy, creating a workable plan, then optimising performance. 















    Check out the course dates at www.smallsparktheory.com and take advantage of special 15% discount for enrolments before 31st December by using the code PODCAST at the checkout. 

    • 2 min
    EP33: Listening | Catherine Allison | Master the Art

    EP33: Listening | Catherine Allison | Master the Art

    Throughout this series we have been exploring the notion that by focusing on relationships, rather than a smash and grab for revenue, we build a more sustainable new business pipeline.















    So in this episode I wanted to explore one of the most underused skills in building relationships. Listening. 















    Catherine Allison, founder of Master the Art is a trained actress and new business practitioner who works with teams and individuals to help build confidence and gravitas.    















    Catherine joined us back in episode three to talk more broadly about how we can hone our presentation and communication skills. In this episode we got together to talk specifically about listening – the benefits of active listening and some simple steps to make sure we are all making the most of our conversations, either with new business prospects, our existing clients, even out teams.















    As always we have a giveaway for you. Listen in to find out how to win a copy of Catherine’s recommended read: Do Listen by Bobette Buster. 

    • 39 min
    EP32: Benchmarking performance | Peter Czapp | The Wow Company

    EP32: Benchmarking performance | Peter Czapp | The Wow Company

    Almost every agency owner I meet will, sooner or later, ask the question “how does this compare with other agencies?” They could be talking about any number of measures; marketing investment, pitch conversion rate, client retention, or new business resourcing to name just a few. And I understand why this question is important. Running an agency is not just hard work, even with the best laid plans, it can be unpredictable. Clients, budgets, the economy, technology, opportunities, skills, services, resources are all shifting all of the time, and amid all that change, it can be hard to measure success without context.















    One of the resources I will often reference in response to this question is the Benchpress Report published by The Wow Company.  I invited Peter Czapp, co-founder of The Wow Company and The Agency Collective, to join me for this episode of Small Spark Theory to discuss his findings from the current report, and to dig a little deeper into the trends and correlations behind the wealth data collected over 7 years of agency benchmarking. 















    We’ll be sending one lucky listener a copy of Peter’s recommended read, the ever popular With Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns, simply listen in to find out how to win.















    You can find out more about the Benchpress statistics on cash flow, new business, and how agency owners spend their time here and statistics on pricing, profit, and the impact of artificial intelligence on agencies here. You can also access Peter’s webinar sharing the latest benchmarking trends for agencies.

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

PG in HK ,

Really good

Very insightful and very well produced.

PJ Schnapps ,

Great insights

Always love listening to these insights. The benchmarking stats are particularly interesting. Thanks for sharing

Fuchsiaaaa ,

Really good listen

Loved it!

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