Category Strategy and Scorecards

Posted by Sue Nicholls, CPSA Founder & President CMKG | Jun 27, 2017 10:21:00 AM

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? 

The tendency to jump from the category assessment and opportunity identification to fixing the tactics and finalizing the category plan is common. But this approach can lead to failure of the entire category plan.

Both Retailers and Manufacturers need category strategies and scorecards tied in with their business to help them better plan and measure success to achieve their overall goals.

Incorporating strategies and a strategically developed category scorecard provides a bridge between opportunity identification and implementation.

Don’t Skip Assigning Category Strategies

Assigning category strategies is often a step that is not well understood and can ironically get skipped in category management. Lack of category strategies results in a lack of direction for the category – and you can’t possibly choose the right tactics to create action in the category without well defined strategies. 

Remember, your strategies should be derived from the biggest opportunities identified in the category assessment.

Two Category Strategies once your Assessment is complete:

Increase $ Spent by Premium Shopper

The assessment highlighted an underdevelopment in this highly loyal Shopper group. The strategy is to load shoppers by encouraging multiple items per trip and trading them up to the premium segment.

Increase Loyalty of Pet Owners

Shoppers of pet products at the Retailer are leaking $ at a high rate relative to similar categories. The opportunity is to improve loyalty of pet owners through improved assortment offerings and emphasis on more premium products.

What else?

Strategies may also be more traditional (CatMan 1.0) like increasing store traffic (or traffic builder) through aggressive promotions, display and price.

Get your scorecards ready!

Once you’ve assigned category strategies, you can create a scorecard that monitors your progress toward accomplishing your strategic objectives. At its highest level, think of a scorecard as a strategic planning document that links activities to the category strategies. 

What should a Category Scorecard DO?

  • Monitor progress to ensure that you’re going to accomplish the strategic objectives in the category plan.
  • Include regular reviews of the business that includes key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Measurement of how your organization is doing against pre-defined goals or targets.

What can’t a Category Scorecard DO?

  • Your category scorecard is NOT the same as corporate monthly reports that measure overall business results.
Learn what you need to create a Category Scorecard that helps meet your organization’s goals with our CatMan Scorecard for Retailers or CatMan Scorecard for Manufacturers.

Remember to ask these important questions when it comes to Category Scorecards and Strategies —

What’s happening in the category? 

Where are my opportunities? 

How can I implement successfully?


Topics: Category Management (CatMan), Executive Solutions, Supplier Solutions, Space Mgmt

Written by 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.