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Busting the Category Management Myths


Adam Baker - Client Capability Manager, Bord Bia

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In a rapidly changing marketplace, the constant is the need for suppliers, retailers, customers and business to business partners to deliver profitable growth. Category Management enables business growth by putting shoppers and consumers at the centre of any sales development initiatives. It creates a win-win situation for both, delivering on sales growth, enhance retailer-supplier relationships and ultimately better consumption and usage experiences.

For companies that are inexperienced with the principles of Category Management there are myths and inaccuracies that may act as a barrier to develop these capabilities. This article will bust these myths and show how successful category planning can contribute to your business growth.

1: You must be a category partner/ captain to propose a category strategy: According to IGD, only 10% of customers engaged with category management engage exclusively with category partners or captains. Customers are looking to grow their categories - you don’t have to have the largest market share, the biggest budget, or employ Category Managers to have this conversation. If you can develop a structured rationale for category growth, you will be listened to regardless of your market position.

2: It’s only for retail: Category management focuses on customer and shopper needs, how the category is involving, what the key drivers for future growth are and the role your business or product plays in that growth. These fundamentals are the same, regardless of sector and customer focus. By focusing on the category – and how to grow shoppers, patrons, or customers you can develop a winning formula.

3: It’s all about the planograms. Traditionally – store layout, planogram design and range availability was the key and central point of point of a retail focused category plan. Now, it is more than that and is focused on behaviour shift in consumers or shoppers. Success is convincing shoppers, patrons or partners to choose more of your product. This is now about the right range, the right communication and the right offer.

4: It’s data lead: No, it’s insight lead. Interpretation of available data is a big part of understanding and determining shopper and customer behaviour but the focus should be on generating insight lead actionable growth drivers. A preconception of the importance of data in category management is undervaluing the experience of suppliers and customers and information available when accessing trends, behaviours and case studies.

Bord Bia has developed a best practice approach to the category management process which incorporates the key capabilities of: assessing category performance, developing category strategies and implementing these plans. To access this framework please contact or talk to your Sector Manager about this new Category Management support.




Bord Bia Category Management Guidebook

IDG – Category Management 2020 Growing Collaboration

ECR – Category Management: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow