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Agile marketing: How we helped Beer Hawk FRESH pivot to Beer Hawk NOW! – in 48 hours


May 28, 2020

What is agile marketing? It might not be a question you’ve had to consider until now.

Almost every business has had to adapt, or even completely change, their operations in the weeks of the 2020 lockdown. For some it’s even meant a complete pivot to a new brand proposition. And with that pivot comes the need for agile marketing, ready to switch at a moment’s notice. As Beer Hawk FRESH discovered.

The big pivot: from wholesale to home delivery

In Autumn 2019, Andrew Morgan, Head of Beer Hawk FRESH engaged Hoxby Marketing to look at their marketing strategy. The company’s wholesale distribution of refrigerated craft beer was set to revolutionise the industry – and for Hoxby, the marketing potential was big, varied and exciting.

Fast forward to March 2020. The lockdown of pubs and restaurants meant all our strategic marketing plans were suddenly rendered useless. With no customers, there was nothing to market. But what if there was another way?

Less than two weeks after lockdown started, the Beer Hawk FRESH team pivoted to launch a brand new business, Beer Hawk NOW! – trialling the home delivery of craft beer direct to customers in East London via Slerp. Get it right, and a nationwide roll out beckoned.

Agile marketing needs an agile agency

Unlike traditional agencies, Hoxby Marketing teams are formed by handpicking the right mix of expert freelancers for the client. As we all work remotely, lockdown didn’t change the way we worked.

Our challenge was how to match the client’s tenacity and agility without losing sight of the initial strategic plan for Beer Hawk FRESH.

We had to move from Hoxby’s original strategic vision to a completely new end result as fast as possible, meaning we all had to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.

“No-one could have predicted the extent of the lockdown measures and the impact that was to have on our wholesale business,” said Andrew Morgan. “Agility was our only option and although it’s been a rollercoaster of a journey, it’s one we could only have taken with Hoxby.”

Hoxby Business Director, Simon Marjoram adds, “This tested Hoxby’s own agility and proved the value of our flexible ways of working. As Beer Hawk FRESH pivoted, so did we, offering invaluable knowledge and experience to all parties involved.”

New branding within 48 hours

Impossible, right? Well, no, not if you tackle it with a single focus. To get this done we took a lean approach – no mood boards, multiple concepts or market research.

Instead, one brief, one concept, one execution, approved directly with the client. Entrusting the right people with the right skills to do the job meant we could deliver with confidence. That’s not to say we’ll always work like this, but it’s great to know it’s possible.

Website testing without resource

Normally, you’d stress test a new e-commerce site to within an inch of its life, ensuring that it’s robust and fit for purpose when it goes live. Without the luxury of time, Beer Hawk NOW! and Hoxby had to pivot.

The answer lay in Hoxby’s own community. We set up a test group on Slack (Hoxby’s choice for all internal communications) made up of Hoxbies within the East London trial zone. This quickly-assembled group of testers was able to give valuable feedback on the order process and customer journey.

Social strategy from scratch

Having carefully developed a strategic social media plan for Beer Hawk FRESH, the Hoxby team had to go back to basics. Beer Hawk NOW! needed to get up and running fast, and from a standing start. They needed a quick-win strategy to boost engagement and reach quickly.

To achieve this, our testing was condensed to gain a quick understanding of optimum post timing and hashtags. Video content was produced, edited and published within 24 hours. And relationships with brewery partners were developed quickly to harness the power of shared content.

Test-and-learn marketing

No matter the size or type of your business, agility can only work with a collective mindset that quickly responding to market changes with small experiments over big planned campaigns can augment marketing efforts. You test, you learn, you succeed or fail, you make changes and move forward.

At Beer Hawk FRESH and Hoxby, everyone is looking forward to revisiting the original strategy and vision in the future. But for now, it’s incredibly rewarding to see what people are capable of achieving when the odds seem stacked against them.

“It was vital to work with people who understood our fast-changing business and Hoxby absolutely rose to the challenge,” concludes Andrew Morgan.

An agile marketing team to deliver your brief

Thanks to our community of 1000+ expert freelancers from across the globe, Hoxby can deliver high quality and fast turnaround projects, as and when you need them – whatever the sector, discipline or geography. And we can build bespoke partnership models to give you the flexibility, capacity and expertise you need. Contact us directly at

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