Windward Group
strategic consulting to multi-channel brands
802-985-3631
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Our Services

Best Practices Gap Analysis – A Diagnostic Review

Based on our extensive industry experience and through our work with a variety of clients, Windward Group understands best practices. We know what is cutting edge in all of the major direct marketing functional areas. One of the ways Windward Group has been particularly effective in helping our clients have positive impact is through Best Practices Gap Analysis. We take what we know to be best practices in key functional areas and compare them to the performance of the client in the functional areas. Usually there are gaps in some or all areas. Windward Group provides insightful recommendations by functional area to show our clients how they can move to “best of class”. This analysis generates quick “wins” that can positively impact client’s bottom line.

Strategic Planning

Windward Group’s core expertise is strategic planning.  We analyze internal and external data and construct three or four strategic initiatives to create transformational change.  Each initiative is supported by a detailed plan of action with specific tactics to be implemented over a multi-year time frame with significant milestones and short term goals.  Finally, we provide financial models to define the expected ROI of implementing the recommended strategies.

For example, a mature brand with low growth asked us to build a vision for significant future growth. Our analysis & recommendations led it to develop new merchandise categories, modify risk tolerance, and create strategies to compete more effectively against category leaders.

Catalog Consulting

A multi-channel brand asked WG to diagnose its direct business for ways to take it to the next level of capability. Our cross channel recommendations were impactful & strategic, reflecting the power of integrating catalog, Internet & retail channels. Our client said, “You made me the hero of the company.”

A mature company, new to direct, asked WG to evaluate its direct business & give an effectiveness report card. Our diagnosis & recommendations called for a strategic, multi-channel communication strategy differentiated by segment.

Circulation Management

A niche publisher acquired a brand with a catalog. New to direct, it hired WG to coach the internal staff in dm best practices, to develop disciplines for merchandising & creative, to incorporate dm principles & develop a contact strategy. It now outsources circulation strategy & execution to WG.

For another mailer, Windward acts as an extension of their marketing department by managing all circulation for both their gift and their fundraising divisions.  Windward plans the circulation strategy, interacts with key vendors in executing the mailings and prepares a summary of performance and going forward recommendations for our client.

Data and Database Analysis

We helped a marketer develop a strategy for managing its customer database. With a service bureau, WG developed a clean, database that can be efficiently updated before each mailing. We applied a highly effective, statistical ranking model to the file. Using the ranking, WG developed & tested a customer contact strategy which proved highly effective in driving sales per customer.

Expert Testimony

A brand asked Windward Group to provide expert testimony for the plaintiff in litigation for copyright infringement against a major US brand. The testimony we provided contributed to a settlement in the client’s favor.

Internet/Web Marketing Consulting

Windward is a recognized leader in Internet/Web marketing, having been involved with e-commerce for almost 20 years. From the inception of the web as a marketing medium, we have identified ways to creatively leverage the Internet to grow sales and profits.  Windward has been an Internet Pioneer in the truest sense of the word.

As an example, we assisted a marketer to develop a robust strategy for maximizing its web business. We analyzed key metrics and developed a strategy including search engine optimization, consistent & relevant e-mail marketing & a catalog launch which drove significant increases in sales & also provided lifts in average unit of sales.

Strategic Merchandising and Creative - A Powerful Alignment

As business leaders, we are expert at making sure merchandising and creative are aligned.  A merchandise line is more than a group of products; a great assortment provides an array of true benefits to the customer.  Likewise creative is more than attractive visuals; great creative sells the products’ benefits in a captivating and enticing way.  We have helped numerous teams work together to create a powerful response-driving body of work which lifts performance and creates value. We are teachers and the benefit continues after we leave.

Net Promoter Score™ and Customer Loyalty Program - Bottom Line Results!

Windward Group is a proud affiliate of Bain & Company’s  Net Promoter Customer Loyalty Program. TM  NPS is a qualitative measure which defines customers as brand Promoters or Detractors.   Promoters shop more frequently, purchase more and concentrate their spending.  Giving them more of what they like lengthens their time as best customers and delivers new customers through referrals. Detractors often have problems with a brand.   Yes, brand detractors can have a high Lifetime Value!  Fixing their complaints retains these customers and can turn them into Promoters.

Windward Group’s Net Promoter Customer Loyalty Program TM identifies initiatives, developed from the customers’ voice, to modify our client’s business model to result in increased customer loyalty and retention by maximizing customer delight and reducing customer irritation.  Why is this important?  Improved profitability and the ability to grow faster than your competitors.

Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld

Maximize Multi-channel Synergies

Windward group understands multi-channel synergies. Aligning catalog, web and retail can create powerful synergies that provide a great impact on our clients’ businesses. We have successfully helped a number of clients understand the interaction of the channels in which they operate. We have also helped them really understand the channels where their advertising dollars are having the most impact. The findings can often be surprising and can generate true synergistic growth.

Merchandising Consulting

A brand asked us to evaluate its merchandising assortment & strategy. Our findings identified over $1 million of unrealized profit, to be achieved by increasing hurdles for product performance, improving product development, identifying categories to grow or prune and creating a marketing strategy for key items.

Positioning

WG assisted a stagnant brand find a viable opening in a competitive category. We combined database research, competitive analysis, focus groups, quantitative surveys, & consumer trend analysis to determine a viable opening. We helped develop merchandising, pricing & brand strategies to make the brand successful.

Product Development and Innovation

A brand asked us to teach it about Asian sourcing. We took merchants to China & introduced them to agents & factories, helped develop relationships & resolve constraints of minimums, quality control, price, quality & commissions to help create a sourcing model.

Strategic Consulting

Strategy isn’t just an intellectual exercise – it works! We consulted with a mature brand whose luster had faded and sales were declining to find the opening in a crowded marketplace. Once found we defined the Unique Selling Proposition and developed an immediate- and longer-term action plan needed to turn the brand’s performance. This multi-functional strategy included work in merchandising, pricing, inventory management, sourcing, creative and marketing. Only a few months into the program, the brand has turned a negative 35% decline into flat performance, and we anticipate positive comps next season. This brand will be a rising star again!

We assisted a division of not-for-profit to set high level marketing strategies. Leaders had conducted SWOT but needed help developing actionable marketing plans. WG enhanced the SWOT and developed key strategies & action plans as a blueprint for divisional growth, assisting leaders to articulate a growth plan for the president.

Strategic Research

Talking with consumers, understanding their needs and wants and finding segments with differentiated expectations is the centerpiece of strategy.  Matching the consumers’ desires with competitive research and the client’s unique strengths is the key to an action plan which will create transformational change.  Our research is unique because our high quality analysis and actionable plans create positive results.  The payback is a slam dunk.