This is the last in a nine-part series exploring the components of true category management.
You worked hard to get to this point, where you evaluate all your efforts in the previous steps to assess their effectiveness. This is the step where you analyze, measure and review the results from the previous steps. Are they moving you closer to your goal or further away? Assessment should be ongoing and used to help you refocus and make changes if necessary.
Similar to the plane illustration in step three, an airplane traveling from California to Hawaii is off course more than 90 percent of the time due to wind shifts. The pilots continually need to make minor adjustments to keep the plane on course. The same is true for you and your plan.
Running any business would be easy if you could only predict consumer purchase habits and trends, supply and demand, the actions of your competition, the weather, etc. True category management can help you solve these puzzles, thus giving you a competitive advantage.
A pilot files a flight plan before each trip. In the event of a major storm, the pilot will plan to fly around it. In the same manner, a talented category manager can help you predict an increase in cold- and flu-based supplements and medications upon environmental conditions, which may translate to an increased demand for cough drops and vitamin C.
For example, the category manager for a company that specializes in cold and flu remedies should keep a keen eye on category and market trends, seasonal allergies, as well as CDC cold and flu reports. They could then plan incremental promotions to help retailers better support their shoppers. Their careful planning would insure enough available product on hand as well as the merchandising of incremental displays to reach the maximum number of shoppers.
This is exactly what I did for Kleenex earlier in my career with tremendous success, sometimes double-digit growth. The same methodologies and techniques work with any product.
True category management may seam like a daunting undertaking, but it becomes easier and more impactful as you build your proficiency. The canned topline reports might help you learn basic category facts, but they will not help you compete effectively on their own. For this, I encourage that you explore the benefits and the high ROI of category management.
For more free information about category management, you can read and download my articles: newhope360, Natural Foods Merchandiser and Supermarket News have more than 60 of my articles on this topic. I also published the Strategic Solutions And Guide To Grow Your Natural Business, which you can now download for free off my website.
My mission is to level the playing field between natural and mainstream. Again, these resources are all complimentary. Feel free to contact me with any questions.