Joe Perkins, Founder & MD of Chaptr started to use a marginal gains approach to agency growth in the last twelve months. It has made a huge difference to the agency – going from tough times to exceeding their sales target three times in the last 7 months.

So how did they do it and, more importantly, what is it?

A Marginal Gains Approach to Agency Growth

Joe explains: “It was actually coined by the British cycling team. Their approach to being faster was to get everyone on the team to figure out an incremental improvement they could make. They wanted to bring about tiny little improvements between the whole team.

And the idea was that when you added those up, it would increase to marginal gains. And there would be more than just a 1% increase. But if they all aim for 1%, that might be enough when you’re talking about seconds that win a race. So I remembered the approach from back then, this idea of marginal gains and it resonated with me.”

So how did Joe apply this marginal gains approach to agency growth to Chaptr?

Breaking it Down

“You can break the approach down to lots of different components. You can see as you’re focusing on each one and applying them, which ones are working for you.

Not all the time. It’s not completely transparent, but I found it quite measurable as I’ve been doing it.”

So Joe looked at various touchpoints in the sales process, starting with the agency audit, then website, then proposals. Although it was a time-consuming process, Chaptr were able to find exactly what was working and what wasn’t.

“To get a blueprint for your agency, you have to look back. That means really putting a microscope on everything and looking back at all the inquiries you’ve received since you started. (Or as much as you’ve got data for.) How many proposals you sent out, what the win rate was for those proposals. Were there any patterns for the clients that were buying from you?

And you plot it all on a big spreadsheet. I didn’t like the process, but I like the result, because it did give me great insight.”

And it was this insight that helped him to find such huge success in the last year. Chaptr is the proof that the marginal gains approach to agency growth works.

Joe Perkins, Founder, Chaptr

Joe founded Chaptr to create connections between people, culture and the creative arts through better websites; inspiring millions to think, feel and do.


He is currently building a community within arts and culture to talk about digital transformation and the wonderful opportunities (and challenges) it brings with it.

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