Small Spark Theory: a marginal gains approach to new business and marketing
By Lucy Mann
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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
||CleanEP23: The Christmas Cracker||Just in time for Christmas, we bring you a very special episode of Small Spark Theory. Across the series, we have asked all of our contributors to share the best piece of advice they’ve been given in their career,||13 12 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP22: Rethinking Client Experience | Nick Phipps | Rawnet||I’ll admit it, I’m slightly obsessed about the experience that clients and prospects have when they work with (or are considering working with) an agency. Just as customer and user experience is now paramount for consumer brands,||5 11 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP21: The New Business Leader | Jemima Monies | adam&eveDDB||Earlier this summer, Jemima Monies, Head of New Business & PR at adam&eveDDB wrote an article in Campaign about why new business leaders need to fight harder to be heard. She closed the piece with a rallying cry to the industry to “value new busine||11 10 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP20: Agency Revenue Models | Erica Wolfe-Murray | Lola Media||Finding an alternative revenue model to the billable hour, is a topic we touched on with Erica Wolfe-Murray of Lola Media, back in Episode 14, as we explored the subject of an agency’s intellectual assets, and returned to in our episode on pricing cre||2 9 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP19: Planning for exit | Tony Walford | Green Square||Right at the beginning of this podcast series we talked about the importance of setting objectives for growth that in turn, guide the new business & marketing plan and activities. But what if those objectives include a sale or exit?||25 7 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP18: Small Spark Theory Live Part Two||Small Spark Theory Live was recorded in front of a live studio audience at White City Place in May. In Part One, we were joined by agency board advisor Felix Velarde and Joanna Brassett, founder of Studio Into to discuss the challenges faced by agency .||29 6 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP17: Small Spark Theory Live Part One||On a balmy evening in early May, we took to the stage at White City Place to host Small Spark Theory Live along with our friends at YCN. This was an opportunity to bring together some of our previous podcast contributors,||13 6 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP16: Pricing Creativity | Blair Enns||Following the success of the Win Without Pitching Manifesto, Blair Enns’ much anticipated book – Pricing Creativity: A Guide to Profit Beyond the Billable Hour was published earlier this year. I’ll admit,||2 5 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP:15 Social Media | Alex & Claire Blyth | Red Setter||Anyone who has been to one of my talks, listened to Small Spark Theory or worked with me on increasing new business performance will know my feelings on LinkedIn by now. I stand by my well-worn edict “if you do nothing else,||9 4 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP14: Intellectual Assets | Erica Wolfe-Murray | Lola Media||Let’s be honest. These are uncertain times. Even those agenciy owners who are highly proficient in keeping the new business pipeline bubbling, will probably have had a heart-stopping moment or two over the last 18 months.||6 3 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP13: Agency positioning | David C Baker||In previous episodes we’ve touched on the importance (or not) of agency positioning and over the last year it’s a subject that’s been popping up more frequently in my discussions with agencies. So I was delighted to meet David C Baker at a Desi||13 2 2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP12: A client perspective | Katie Pattison | Hammerson plc||In episode 10 we gained some fantastic insight into best pitch practice from Tony Spong at AAR. Tony’s intermediary experience – seeing the process from a client and agency perspective, got us thinking how useful it would be to involve some clients||5 12 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP11: Negotiation | Hilary Gallo||Whether going into battle with procurement to defend agency day rates, or agreeing the scope of a project for the available client budget – our ability to confidently and effectively negotiate can make a tangible difference to our bottom line.||6 11 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP10: The pitch | Tony Spong | AAR||Losing a pitch is just bad news all round. It costs an agency big; in time, money, resource, morale and confidence. So as new business performance improvement goes, there is surely no better place to make tangible impact than in the pitch itself.||7 10 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP9: Culture | Katz Kiely||The people part of our business can so often get overlooked in our efforts to generate new business. Yes, we might think about chemistry once we are faced with a pitch opportunity but beyond that, our thinking tends to get muddled when we consider th||6 9 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP8: Productivity | Robert Kelsey||So far in our Small Spark Theory podcast series we’ve been exploring the ways we can make marginal gains in our agency new business and marketing performance. We’ve discussed the tweaks and improvements, the tips and tricks that can help us perfo||17 8 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP7: Events||Getting in a room together with clients and prospects is undoubtedly the best way to foster good relationships. But creating the opportunity to connect in person, outside of the cut and thrust of delivering day to day project work,||9 7 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP6: Agency Websites||Something interesting happens when you ask an agency leader about their website. Usually a slight shift in their seat, followed by a sigh, a pained expression and a mumble about the site being due for an overhaul.||5 6 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP5: Lead Generation | The Future Factory||Prospecting, cold calling, lead generation. Call it what you will, most agencies recognise the need to supplement the more reliable client and network referrals by investing in generating opportunities with new audiences.||8 5 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP4: Agency Growth Planning | Felix Velarde||For agency leaders, managing the day to day business of client and staff needs whilst staying focused on a clear growth trajectory can seem an insurmountable task. Whether you are looking for a high value exit,||3 4 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP3: Communication and Presentation Skills | Catherine Allison | Master The Art||Sound the new business klaxon! You’ve got an opportunity to meet the prospect of your dreams. That first meeting, the pitch, the first strategy or creative presentation with any new prospect or client is a huge opportunity to dazzle,||6 3 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEP2: PR | Tim Duncan | TDC PR||Raising your agency profile works hand in hand with new business lead generation, but with so many (free) social media channels at our disposal, it’s easy to overlook the impact of a planned and coordinated PR approach.||13 2 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanIntroducing Small Spark Theory™||For many years now I’ve had the opportunity to observe new business performance in a wide variety of agencies and regardless of size, or discipline of agency, the challenges are remarkably similar. There are familiar patterns of success,||24 1 2017||Free||View in iTunes|
Don't miss your weekly fix of Small Spark Theory! And if you haven't started yet, listen now to EP16 Pricing Creativity with Blair Enns. It's a gamechanger!
Great listen. Two keys points for me. First, treat new business as a repeatable process, not a one off event. Secondly, constantly evaluate your own new business process and look to improve each small step, applying the marginal gains principle expressed so well here.
MD, Our Design Agency
Great series Lucy, and very helpful. Some sound advice, great tips, (and helpful reminders!). Loved the delivery too - clear, articulate and authentic. Thank you.