Progressive Grocer

2017 Category Management Handbook

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December 2016 | progressivegrocer.com | 27 Planogram Overload e first issue is that we developed, as an indus- try, an extreme overemphasis on one output of category management, namely, planograms. Over time, the number of resources required to manage this task swelled. Because of the urgency of getting the right products onto the shelf, planogram work crowded out a lot of category management work regarding strategy, reviews and alignment. Planograms became synonymous with category management. is loss of focus on longer- term, strategic goals and alignment was unavoid- able and lamentable. Lack of Internal Focus e second issue is a lack of focus on the practice of category management internally within an organization. We were so focused on driving strategy discus- sion and alignment between a retailer and supplier that we often neglected to focus on driving strat- egy discussions and alignment within the retailer or within the manufacturer. Many organizations still suffer from a lack of alignment among sales, marketing, research and development, category management, and the latest upstarts, shopper mar- keting and e-commerce. While we've made much progress in improving retailer-supplier relation- ships, we now have an equal amount of work to drive alignment within these organizations. Slow Evolution e third issue that, as an industry, we've been slow to evolve as the marketplace and technology around us has evolved. How many of us resisted the emergence of shopper marketing? How many of us today are resisting the emergence of e- commerce? How many of us today are stuck using an antiquated plug-in to access information from Nielsen or IRI? How many "category managers" are stuck developing PowerPoint presentations for their sales reps rather than practicing category management? While a lot of good work has been done by many retailers, suppliers and solution providers, there is still so much waste because of our lack of adoption and our lack of thoughtful application of what's now available to us. By being mindful and thoughtful regarding these three things, we were able to skip over them. Our category management team has gone from having zero presence in the industry to being advi- sors at our major retailers. I'm excited that these issues, and many others, are now addressed in CatMan 2.0, and that as an industry, we can start addressing these things together. Let me mention a few CatMan 2.0 features that I think are worth your investigation, reflection and adoption. Building a Sound Organizational Structure I'm a fairly avid cyclist. When I first got into cycling, it was overwhelming. Like everything else in modern society, there are too many options. As I learned about derailers and cassettes and wireless shifters, what I quickly discovered is that the most important component was the frame. If the frame was solid, you could change out the components anytime. Conversely, if the frame had an issue with it, all of the fancy components would work suboptimally, or not at all. In my opinion, your team, your processes for working with other internal departments, and your support from upper management are all part of your frame. If these areas aren't sound, you'll eventually run into trouble. Here are three specific things in CatMan 2.0 that I think you should consider: Voice of the Shopper e Voice of the Shopper is a consolidated, easy- to-digest document that summarizes the core truths about your brand. is is important for two reasons. One, all of us have mounds and mounds of research and data, most of which we can't access and don't have time to read through. Two, among those of you at your company who have by some chance read through this material, you probably would be hard-pressed to find two that had formed exactly the same opin- ion about what the information meant and what to do about it. How can we possibly drive sound strategy in the categories we compete in if we can't agree on what's important? Whether you call it a Voice of the Shopper or not, you need a process for sum- marizing things like who purchases your product, why they purchase it and where they purchase it, so that everyone can be working from the same core truths. CatMat 2.0 provides you with a framework for this if you need one. Category Platforms Next, you need a means for communicating these all-important category and brand truths to the marketplace. I know that all of you have had that moment with your category managers, store managers and even your own sales team where you wondered how they could not know "that" about your brands or category. ere is a large opportunity to better educate the marketplace on things like what shoppers want, how they behave and what's needed in the While a lot of good work has been done by many retailers, suppliers and solution providers, there is still so much waste because of our lack of adoption and our lack of thoughtful application of what's now available to us. Continued on page 30

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