Grow Your Business: Adopt Catman 2.0

Everything is changing! It's more difficult to grow your business today than ever before. A recent analysis by the sales and marketing company Acosta revealed that promotion lifts are in a steady downward slide. This means that the money manufacturers and retailers are spending to build business is less effective. ROIs are dropping in almost every category.

A normal reaction is to review your category management approach to understand how you can grow the business. Category Management 1.0 was one of the most successful business processes developed in the 20th century. But it is more than 20 years old and badly needs to be upgraded so that it may help you build your business.

The good news is that the Category Management Association, in conjunction with 20 other leading CPG community members (retailers, manufacturers and solution providers), has completely modernized the process. Why should you care? Because it's tough to grow your business and CatMan 2.0 can help you. Here's how:

  • Your vendors will be better prepared to help you
  • They will be equipped with all the new data, analytics and tools
  • Your vendors will be urged to focus on shopper insights that grow the business
  • They will know how to build better category business plans

Retailers such as Walmart, Sam's Club, Walgreens, 7-Eleven and Ahold USA were among a committee of 20 retailers, manufacturers and solution providers that identified weaknesses in CatMan 1.0 and recommended changes in every part of its process. In fact, CatMan 2.0 contains new steps that were not included in CatMan 1.0.

Among these new steps is an internal alignment step for manufacturers and retailers. This step specifies what these two trading partners need to develop internally in order to be effective trading partners who can build businesses by meeting shopper needs more efficiently. In the case of manufacturers, this new internal alignment step makes four important demands on the manufacturers. Specifically:

  • Manufacturers are urged to organize a Voice of the Shopper that puts all of their insights in one repository where account executives and shopper marketers may easily access them and bring them to retailers.
  • CatMan 2.0 mandates manufacturers create a best practice category management platform that pulls together all of their new data on category structure, shopper need states and category trends, so they may share them with retail trading partners.
  • Of critical importance to retailers are success models in assortment, pricing, shelf merchandising and promotion. In this instance, success model means tactical approaches that have proven their success time and time again. These need to be identified by the manufacturer and rapidly deployed to their retail trading partners.

A second major improvement in CatMan 2.0 is the mandate of the development of shopper insights by manufacturers. This important aspect of 21st century category management was totally ignored in CatMan 1.0. This new category management approach includes requiring the methodology for identifying insights, the process for developing the insight into a powerful shopper marketing campaign as well as the process for collaborating with retailers so that the shopper marketing program is optimized where it counts, on the floor of the store.

Yet another improvement in CatMan 2.0 is the identification of new research tools, most of them digitally enabled. These new research tools are producing whole new classes of data never before available. Understanding this new data and how it can be used to improve the declining effectiveness and efficiency of marketing dollars is addressed in CatMan 2.0.

For more information on CatMan 2.0, please visit the Category Management Association website: