Strategic Development Model

Windward Group’s model for strategic initiative development

  • Flexible & scalable, modular - comprehensive or focused
  • Thus appropriate for a wide range of clients
    • Small to Fortune 100's, early stage to mature
    • Single or multi channel
    • B-to-B or B-to-C, for-profit or not-for-profit

Phase 1: Insight

Knowledge is foundational 

Both internal & external analyses provide the basis for strategic insight. Initiatives which can transform performance derive from comprehensive study. Windward Group brings a number of analytical techniques to a client’s problem, studying it from different angles to thoroughly understand the situation & its potential solutions.

Step One: Internal Analysis WG Diagnostic

WG Diagnostic™ is a proctical approach to analysis of a company's internal capabilities. Windward Group critically analyzes a firm's practices compared to best practices. The key functional areas evaluated in the diagnostic are:

  • Brand Strategy - Brand articulation, strength of brand spirit, unique selling proposition, and on-strategy delivery of all marketing and advertising communications

  • Marketing Strategy - Strategies to increase trial, loyalty and sales per customer including communication, promotion, copy and graphic strategies, in-hands dates, catalog & web architecture

  • Merchandising - Category structure, new product development strategy, assortment and key item strategy, product selection criteria, book architecture, vendor structure, pricing, density, sku strategy, merchandise analysis and metric benchmarking

  • Inventory Management - Buy strategies, initial and final fulfillment, sku management strategies, margin management, sale strategy, overstock and liquidation strategies, all metrics, and appropriate links to merchandising, marketing, Web, sales (telemarketing) and distribution

  • Database/Circulation - House file contact, retention & reactivation strategies, acquisition strategies, database research, statistical modeling, all metrics

  • Internet Strategy - Alignment with overall strategies and traditional channels, correct sales attribution, search engine optimization, email marketing, integrated contact strategy, site usability, web metrics

  • Customer Insight - Knowledge of customers by segments, demographicsm psychographics, knowledge of buying behavior, determining points of business leverage

  • Windward Group utilizes a combination of analytical techniques to ensure a complete understanding of the problem. For instance to understand consumer behaviorm we often employ database research, primary consumer and executive research (focus groups, quantitative surveys, on-on-one interviews, etc.) and extensive internal analysis of core issues (e.g. merchandise selling). This multi-faceted combination provides a powerful view of consumer behavior and robust insight of which levers to pull for transformational impact. 

  • Windward Group's deliverable is a set of strategic and actionable recommendations by functional area, integrated across channels and fused with the overall business strategy, to improve business practice and, thus, business results.

Step 2: External Analysis WG Horizon Finder

We help companies understand how external environments affect performance. This includes understanding the economic, regulatory, and consumer trends as well as the competitive landscape. We utilize public domain documents, new articles, data cards, catalogs, websites, SEC filings, executive interviews and consumer research to compile data. 

  • Many clients utilize our competitive analysis a comprehensive process involving:
  1. Identifying the key competitors in the critical market niches and specifying the learning objectives for each competitor
  2. Defining how the competitor is structured organizationally
  3. Reviewing and evaluating key metrics including:
    • File size
    • Average unit of sale
    • Major business segments and how they contribute to overall business volume
  4. Track growth to understand who is expanding/growing or shrinking and why
  5. Examining key competencies to determine best practices in:
  6. Creative presentations:
    • Circultaion - including database practices and acquistion
    • Merchandise assortment and analysis - including density, book architecture and pricing
    • Operations and fulfillment
    • E-commerce and e-mail marketing approach
  7. Defining their offering and unique selling position and their true competitive advantages
  8. Identifying what these advantages buy for them and how to mitigate them
  9. Defining their weaknesses and identifying how to take advantage of the,
  10. Defining key learnings from competitors
  11. Articulating implications for clients
  • Broad Trends: In addition, we help companies identify broad behavioral trends which affect how their customers interact with the company's brand and how these trends change behavior over time. This is a powerful analysis and helps companies gain relevance and increase brand trial and loyalty.

  • Ultimate Deliverable of combining both internal and external analysis is a strategic vision, a recommended strategic path for the client. For most impact, deliverables are integrated across functions and imminently actionable.

Phase 2: Impact

Strategy without implementation is nothing!

Windward Group develops action plans for all of recommended strategic initiatives. All are:

  • Multiple year

  • Integrated across functions

  • Have ROI projections attached (incremental revenue, cost and contribution)

  • Timeline

  • Define responsibilities

  • Delineate dependencies

  • Define success at completion

Often the action plans include “what if” models. For instance, if we are recommending increased new product development, we will include a model that delineates number of new products, incremental sales, gross margin and marketing contribution by category by year. The client can modify assumptions to quickly see the impact of specific actions on future growth.

We consider resourcing initiatives to be critical. If we believe new positions need to be added, we may include a recommended organization structure with job descriptions. Modifications to existing positions may also be delineated.

We work with the clients’ Senior Leadership, including Finance, to vet the action plans and ROI projections so there is buy in and belief at the end of the project.

Windward Group's goal is positive transformational change for our client.