Trends Shaking Up Category Management

3 Trends Shaking Up Category Management

Effective, strategic category management is vital!

Category management is essentially the primary platform from which CPG brand owners interact with retailers. It provides the language, process framework and the metrics. All these elements help to communicate the strategic and tactical recommendations to the retailer.

However, there are some trends that brand owners need to heed. Trends that demand more resources for the category function. Trends that, if not acted upon, may very well choke the growth of your brand.

Here are 3 trends shaking up the category management world at the moment

Trend 1: Power of the retailer

The retailer’s power is gaining momentum. Minute by minute. Shopper by shopper. Why? Because the retailer is in control of the shopper’s moment of truth at the shelf. A simple and unassailable fact.

However, as the retailer’s power is growing, traditional brand building tools are losing their power and brand equity is in free fall.

Category managementWhat you can do

Remember that the retailer thinks and works at the category level. They are concerned about growing CATEGORIES rather than brands. Keep this in mind when delivering a presentation. Do not talk to growing a BRAND. When you do, you lose the attention of the category manager who is your customer.  

They want to hear about how to grow the category or its margins. You need to be able to provide them with valuable insights.

Trend 2: Shopping around

Shoppers are no longer merely blindly buying brands due to historic use. No! Now previously brand loyal shoppers are actively searching the internet for the better deal they think is out in cyberspace. Making it increasingly important to market to the shopper on the path to purchase and more importantly, in-store.

What you can do

You need to get strategic about your shopper! The shopper goes to the shop to purchase something to satisfy a want or a need. They include ”detergent”  or ”bread” on a shopping list rather than “Tide” or “Wonder”. In other words, the category is the answer to the shopper’s need.

So, to win with your shopper, you too must think CATEGORY need satisfaction.

Trend 3: Big data crucial for category management success

It is crucial to harness ‘big data”, particularly for insights gained through shopper loyalty card data, social media and shopping-related apps.

However, CPG marketers face a problem. We do not yet have the digital tools to facilitate the sorting of these interactions so that humans discover insight.

(Read our post on how important insights are to the industry)

Category managementWhat you can do

You need to organize all of your data around what it is you are trying to determine. In other words, the shopper need or the category. By doing so, you can uncover :

  • Unmet needs which are the basis for new product development
  • The emotional factors driving a need (insight)
  • The benefits that marketers need to offer
  • The location of key communication touch points

Once you understand the factors driving attitudes, marketers can begin to influence behaviors through product or positioning breakthroughs, or new communication approaches.

Learning Evolution offers a mix of comprehensive and accredited online courses. These will help with much-needed skills on how to interpret data and analytics as well as develop actionable insights for customers and products.

We have what you need to keep up with the trends, so drop us an email on for more information.

Read our popular category management training post, Top THREE Reasons why Category Management Training is Important

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(Source: CMA’s Category Management Mastery: The key to growth!)