Skip to main content

Category Management for the Digital Age

The grocery industry has seen dramatic developments during the past quarter-century, so it’s only natural that the category management process undergoes an update to make it relevant for these fast-paced times.

Under the leadership of the Category Management Association, a blue ribbon industry committee of 25 thought-leading companies has completely updated CatMan 1.0.

As exclusive webinar Tuesday summarized the new process, data, analytics and success models that comprise this modernized version of the highly successful CatMan 1.0 process.

Panelists included Gordon Wade, CMA’s managing partner and director of best practices; Traci Gregorski, SVP of marketing at MarketTrack; Craig Hodnett, principal at IRI; and Jimmy Brooks, head of sales information systems for McKee Foods Corp. The discussion was moderated by PG Editor-in-Chief Jim Dudlicek.

The complete webinar is archived for viewing at; click here and register to obtain access to the full presentation.

CatMan 2.0 constitutes reams of data, case studies, standards and best practices available to CMA members on the association’s website. Partnered with CMA, PG will continue to review the platform in upcoming print issues and online events.

“Everything has changed, most importantly the shopper,” Wade declared in nothing the evolution of retailing, communication, technology and shopper insights that have transpired since the original standards, groundbreaking for their time, were introduced. They are more sophisticated, with much for information.”

In fact, whereas the original standards largely ignored shopper insights, they are an integral part of CatMan 2.0. “It’s not solely about creating a planogram or assortment,” Wade said. “It’s about creating a comprehensive plan for a category.”

CatMan 2.0 includes more data (which didn’t exist two decades ago), better analytics, shopper centricity and digital delivery.

Brooks stressed the importance of internal alignment of goals and standards among a company’s stakeholders, delineating the steps of how to drive alignment: a definite owner, a unifying process, a clear strategy, a focused plan and shopper marketing.

The voice of the shopper, he said, “Is what everybody needs to be working from … the most important truths about the shopper.”

Further, mobile technology must be considered foremost when creating a category management strategy, Brooks asserted.

Hodnett said while CatMan 1.0 considered only brick-and-mortar retailing, CatMan 2.0 covers the full spectrum of consumers’ path to purchase: online sales, brick and click, social commerce, brand sites and mobile.

Brand marketers must consider all type of data and their applications: static data (such as proprietary research), dynamic data (e.g. point of sale) and tools that enable observations and insights.

Strategic use of data will allow brand marketers to adjust their strategies in terms of seconds and minutes rather than days and weeks by leveraging these insights, Hodnett noted. “In CatMan 1.0, we couldn’t get in people’s minds,” he said. “Today, it’s all about that.”

It’s what Gregorski described as “the new normal,” as competition continues to grow and points of consumer influence become increasingly diverse, weakening once-reliable shopper loyalty. “Shoppers are much more fickle and have a hyper tendency to switch,” she said, citing statistics showing that 80 percent of shoppers are willing to switch stores or brands.

CatMan 2.0 standards will help brand marketers create the optimum shopping experience for all types of shoppers, from physical to digital. “You can’t rely on one means or another – you have to use it all to reach all audiences,” Gregorski said. CatMan 2.0, she added, offers the “potential to reach people along different points in the buying cycle and increase your value proposition.”

Wade concluded: “For the first time in 20 years, you have all the data you need in one place at one time.”




This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds