agile marketing

There’s Nothing Like a Crisis to Test Your Marketing Agility

agile marketingThere’s a lot of talk about agile marketing these days – the ability to use data and teams in real time to run sprints, test concepts and measure impacts. It’s a very cool strategy. And it’s gaining acceptance among marketing executives seeking to take maximum advantage of an increasingly digitized world.

But talking about agile marketing and truly being agile are two different things. And man oh man, this Coronavirus crisis is most definitely separating the wheat from the chaff. Because while some brands have literally gone dark, others are using this time to flex their agile muscles and make hay.

Two of the haymakers I am most intimately familiar with are Atlantic Union Bank in Richmond, VA, and First Impression in Raleigh, NC.

As reported in FORBES on Monday, Atlantic Union Bank (AUB) pulled off the near impossible and turned a truly flawed government program into a classic rescue mission. Most banks, giant and small, understandably floundered with the new SBA PPP loan. But AUB went full agility and successfully launched this new program in four days – a process that traditionally might have taken four months.

In less than two weeks, the bank cranked up its tech capability, supercharged its internal teams, worked flawlessly with vendor partners, accepted 6500 loan applications and obtained $1.4 billion for small businesses. That’s agile.

Unlike AUB, which is a well-established, national stalwart, First Impression is a relatively young video and photography business whose operations were suddenly frozen by the COVID-19 lockdown. Though its size could be perceived as an advantage, the obstacles were monumental. In particular, “social distancing” made it just a bit challenging to shoot video and photography for commercial clients.

However, owner Dominique Sinibaldi quickly realized that one segment of its business – real estate support services – could benefit dramatically from a special technology. This hardware/software solution enables his team to create 3D tours of residential and commercial properties, allowing buyers, sellers and agencies to stay active.

First Impression immediately reached out to its database of property agents and confirmed their interest in the new technology. In just a few days he secured the next generation Matterport 3D Data Platform. Within a week was serving the Raleigh-Durham marketplace with 3D walk-throughs, 4K print quality photos, schematic floor plans, OBJ files, point clouds, videos, and other media. That’s also agile.

I know these agile marketing stories because we were part of the agile team that supported their marketing efforts. And I am as proud of our team as I am of our clients. As the saying goes, we walked the walk… together, albeit at a socially responsible distance.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.