Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

EP22: Rethinking Client Experience | Nick Phipps | Rawnet

November 5th, 2018

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, of course the the same rules apply for B2B. There will always be other agencies who can deliver a comparable service for a comparable price, but it is the experience of working with an agency which will influence selection, keep clients coming back for more and generate referrals. But hang on a minute – isn’t that where chemistry comes in? Well yes it is, but chemistry isn’t scalable, or reliable for that matter. What I’m really talking about is the end to end experience and the processes we can put in place to truly delight clients and prospects, beyond the delivery of great work.

 

And yet rarely do we take the opportunity to truly put ourselves in our clients or prospects shoes, to understand just how user friendly we really are. Our reporting, meetings, emails, websites, project management processes and more are all fertile ground for identifying marginal gains.  

 

This is an episode I’ve been wanting to make for a while so I was delighted when Nick Phipps got in touch from Rawnet. In true, “physician heal thyself” style, Rawnet are in the process of applying the customer centric principles and strategies they use for their clients’ businesses, to their own agency. We got together to chat about how it’s working out.

 

And we have another competition for you. You can win a copy of Nick’s recommended read:  The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences by Matt Watkinson – just listen in for more details.

 

EP20: Agency Revenue Models | Erica Wolfe-Murray | Lola Media

September 2nd, 2018

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 creativity with Blair Enns.

 

And as we head into what is arguably the most important three months of the year for agency new business, we are delighted to welcome Erica back to Small Spark Theory, for a dedicated episode on agency revenue models. Based on her experience across multiple industries, Erica takes us through how we can think more creatively about what we sell and and how we sell it, and how to create multiple, and more importantly, scalable revenue streams.

 

All this and more is available in Erica’s brand new book, Simple Tips, Smart Ideas: Easy to Use Advice for Business Growth, which will be available from January 2019, and get this… you can win a copy too! Listen to this episode to find out how.

 

We’ve been getting a lot of love for Small Spark Theory over recent months, which is heartening indeed. If you’ve been listening in and enjoying what you hear, please do leave a review on iTunes, it’s really quick to do and would make our day.

EP17: Small Spark Theory Live Part One

June 13th, 2018

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, some new guests and an invited audience of agency founders, leaders, and new business practitioners.

 

In this, the first of two episodes recorded on the night, we hear from Felix Velarde – back by popular demand following our growth planning discussion in episode 4 last year – together with Joanna Brassett, founder of Studio INTO. Since 2011, Joanna has been building a global design research and innovation business and over the past 5 years has been implementing Gunpowder’s Small Spark Theory philosophy. Felix and Joanna joined me to explore the challenges facing agency leaders at various stages of growth, from prioritising new business and marketing activity, getting to grips with cold outreach, when to delegate and when to hire.

 

Special thanks to our co-hosts YCN, the super team at White City Place, photographer David Townhill and to Ugly Drinks, Propercorn and ABInBev for providing our drinks and snacks on the night.

 

EP16: Pricing Creativity | Blair Enns

May 2nd, 2018

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, I was worried how this transformative approach to pricing would fit into this series, where we explore how we can implement small changes to our sales and marketing toolkit and processes, but rest assured, as Blair explains in this episode, there are changes you can make today that will reap tangible rewards.

 

I know I say this every time but this is one episode you really won’t want to miss!

 

You can hear more about mastering the value conversation in Blair’s discussion with David C Baker in this episode of 2Bobs.

 

Blair and David will be reprising their new business summit for one time only this summer for the DBA. You can find details of tickets here, but be quick, this is likely to sell out fast!

 

We have a phenomenal prize for one lucky listener, tune in to find out how to win.

 

Also mentioned in this episode Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

 

 

EP:15 Social Media | Alex & Claire Blyth | Red Setter

April 9th, 2018

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, get to grips with LinkedIn” and will continue to do so, until such time as the platform implodes, or is superseded.

 

But what about the rest of the social media maze? Making the connection between social channels and new business results is troublesome for many and even when we think we should get involved, it’s easy to then lose momentum and enthusiasm.

 

Late last year the team at PR & new business agency Red Setter examined the social media presence of 200 agencies and interviewed 50 agency leaders and a range of experts to understand the barriers, benefits and secrets to winning at social media.

 

I invited Red Setter founders Alex and Claire Blyth into the Pod to find out about the results of their study, and get some top tips for our listeners.

 

You can download their report: The Guide to Agency Growth through Social Media here.

 

As always we have a competition! We’re giving away a copy of Alex’s recommended read, The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. Listen in to find out how to win.

EP14: Intellectual Assets | Erica Wolfe-Murray | Lola Media

March 6th, 2018

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. An unexpected decision by a client, the surprising cancellation of a new project after the green light has already been given, or as one observer recently described to me – client paralysis.

 

So far in the Small Spark Theory we’ve been examining all the parts of the sales and marketing process to understand where we can make marginal gains.

 

But understanding not only how we sell but, what we sell, has never been more important.

 

In this month’s episode, we chat to Erica Wolfe-Murray, of Lola Media. With a unique mix of experiences from finance and the creative sector, Erica is an established thought leader on the subject of business growth through creative use of IP.

 

This is our first eye-opening episode from Erica who’ll be joining us later in the year to discuss revenue models.

 

As always we’ve got a competition and will be giving away a copy of Erica’s recommended read: A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin. Listen in to find out how to win.

 

EP13: Agency positioning | David C Baker

February 13th, 2018

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 Design Business Association event late last year. David is an author, speaker and leading thinker on agency positioning. Over the last 25 years he has advised hundreds of creative businesses across the world to help them make sense of what comes next.

 

I managed to persuade David to join me on Small Spark Theory to chat about his latest book, why positioning matters, and how to get started.

 

We’ve got a signed copy The Business of Expertise: How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight into Impact & Wealth, to give away to a lucky listener, simply join in the conversation at @gunpowdertweets #smallsparktheory.

 

You can hear more from David at 2Bobs, his fortnightly podcast with Blair Enns and read more at www.ReCourses.com

 

Also recommended in this episode are:

 

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott

A Beautiful Mind

 

To find out more about New Business Roundtables at YCN contact Nick Defty.

 

EP12: A client perspective | Katie Pattison | Hammerson plc

December 5th, 2017

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 in our future episodes.

 

So, we finish the year with the first of our client perspective episodes. Katie Pattison has been managing marketing budgets at FTSE100 businesses for 25 years, during which time she has hired agencies of all shapes, sizes, and disciplines.

 

In this interview, Katie shares her experience of agency new business approaches, lasting agency relationships, and her top tips or gaining and retaining clients.

 

As always, we’ll be giving away a copy of Katie’s recommended read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Listen in to find out how to win.

 

We’ve loved producing Small Spark Theory this year and have been overwhelmed by your feedback. We’ll be back in the New Year, chatting with more clients and experts and will be unveiling details of a very special Small Spark Theory event. For more details, sign up for our newsletter here or for more information on improving your agency new businesses effectiveness, please get in touch here.

 

Have a wonderful festive break and see you in 2018.

 

EP4: Agency Growth Planning | Felix Velarde

April 3rd, 2017

 

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, attempting to break through the turnover ceilings of one, two five or ten million or simply want to avoid the boom and bust revenue rollercoaster, this podcast episode is for you.

 

Agency growth expert Felix Velarde has founded, grown and sold agencies many times over and now works as a consultant and mentor focusing on strategy-driven growth and agency scaling. In this episode we discuss the need for differentiation, building superstar teams, and power of planning and process.

 

This month’s book recommendation is The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive by Patrick M. Lencioni – as always we’ll be giving away a copy – tune in to find out how to win.

 

You can read more about Felix here.

 


 

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Introducing Small Spark Theory™

January 24th, 2017

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, ebbs and flows of revenue, euphoric wins and debilitating disappointments.

 

And I’ve become fascinated with those patterns, the formulas for success, the reasons for failure and a little obsessed about how we can become more effective in our marketing and new business endeavours.

 

Increasingly, the solution is not necessarily an ambitious marketing plan, an expensive sales resource or brilliant marketing idea (although that never hurts) but instead a forensic application of process and a marginal gains approach to performance improvement.

 

This brand new podcast series, Small Spark Theory™, explores the small changes we can make to our sales and marketing process to achieve better new business results. In this, the first episode, we set the scene for the using marginal gains and think about how to get some solid foundations for growth in place. Oh, and there’s a little competition too. What more could you want?!

 

With thanks to Matthew Syed for audio extract permission. Matthew’s book, Black Box Thinking is available here.

 

 

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