Sue Nicholls, CPSA Founder & President CMKG

Category Management is my passion. Since beginning with P&G in the late 1980s, I have dedicated my work life to building and sharing this passion with others through active involvement in the industry, including long-term business relationships with large Retailer and CPG executives, development and influence on Category Management Association certification standards, curriculum, and conference education, thought leadership publishing and presentations at CSP News’ Convenience University, CMA’s Annual Conference and LinkedIn, and as a member of DePaul University’s Center for Sales Leadership Advisory Board, and Western Michigan University’s Food Marketing Advisory Board. Beginning in 2019, our catalogue of accredited training that my team and I have developed is part of the Category Management Association’s strategic education initiative for all member organizations. Always anticipating where the industry is moving and the skills needed to compete and stay relevant, I’ve helped to bridge the gap between data and insights pioneering the way we use storytelling and data visualization to better understand analytics and make effective decisions for the future. Using my years of experience, I coach clients of all experience levels in the Retail, Manufacturer, and Solution Provider industries to help them propel forward achieving both their learning and career goals whether in eCommerce, sales, or marketing and beyond. My specialty lies in leadership and engagement, networking and consulting with individuals and large companies from around the world to better improve and develop our curriculum and accredited training programs, like our leading-edge Master’s Training, utilized by CatMan organizations for strategic education. Through this blog and other channels, I share my years of expertise with our industry and believe that an open and ongoing conversation can improve any team’s capacity to implement business strategies that achieve their strategic priorities.

Recent Posts

Refresh your CatMan Approach with Strategy

Working with many manufacturers and retailers is a great privilege for me, and one that gives me the unique perspective to help identify broader issues and opportunities for our industry.   A recent opportunity that was identified by Tom McDonald (Category Management Association) and I was to improve the connection of what we do in category management to the Shopper.    How do we better connect with Shoppers?  It starts by focusing on the big picture - including defining your department's purpose, and identifying your expected outputs AND inputs.  By delving deeper into your inputs - including data, tools, strategy, processes and people (based on where your biggest gaps are) - you can uncover ways to improve your overall approach. These improved inputs can change your game!  Are you ready?  Although it may be difficult to get out of your comfort zone and start to think about ways to make changes to improve the future for your department, there are three steps that can get you started.
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Improving Your Business Acumen in Category Management

Business acumen is the ability to assess an external market and make effective decisions. You need the skills and tools to think more like an owner of the business and to understand, set and execute business strategy while being able to measure the effectiveness of their business strategy through financial performance – skills that I think many of us can improve upon. Think about what you’re responsible for in your job. How often do you think about or consider the impact of your decisions on other areas in your company?  For example product supply? Or finance? Or your implementation team?
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Managing Change in Retail Category Management

Retail has changed significantly over the past 20 years – new data, technology, tools, analytics, Shoppers, omni-channel … How much have you changed your internal approach to reflect these changes? I recently co-facilitated a “Retail Leaders’ Forum” for retail executives responsible for category management, with Tom McDonald of the Category Management Association. We talked about the importance for this audience to evaluate their current catman approach in 3 areas.
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5 Ways to Maximize ROI on Category Assessments

We spend a lot of time analyzing our business, but we need to ask whether we are looking at the entire picture or just scratching the surface.  Are you looking for the big opportunities? Developing next year’s category plan? Identifying weaknesses when business is soft? Determining the next big innovation? Evaluating the post results from an initiative? Or analyzing a specific tactic? Identifying the question will help you achieve your goals.
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What’s YOUR training plan this year?

If you’ve made cuts to next year’s training budget or plan to, there’s still time to avoid: Productivity losses, Missed opportunities, and Strategic misfires … All for a fraction of the cost of Data, Technology, and Shopper Insights. Here’s how …
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Navigating Your CatMan Priorities is Easier Than You Might Think

Our industry is changing. Has your organization responded? Are you stuck in a holding pattern or waiting for a signal? This blog will help you to get started in leading the journey for your organization.
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Category Strategy and Scorecards

The direction you need to achieve your goals. You’ve completed a category review or category assessment, ultimately identifying your biggest areas of opportunity to help you achieve your target goals and objectives in the category. Now what? 
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Why CatMan Needs More Critical Thinkers

We’re all searching for better ways to tap into Shopper insights data to address the “why” in category management — why aren’t we finding it?
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CatMan for Manufacturers is essential to all — not just those who know about it.

on Mar 15, 2017 7:26:51 AM By | Sue Nicholls, CPSA Founder & President CMKG | 0 Comments | Supplier Solutions
Today, many Manufacturers are spending more dollars than ever before on data, technology and Shopper understanding. While the complexity of the data and technology increases, resources are being cut, requiring us to do more with less. 
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Limited Data is a Fact of CatMan Life for Many. Here’s why …

Note: This content is part of our new eBook on Category Management with Limited Data. Feel free to read and share.
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