Limited Data is a Fact of CatMan Life for Many. Here’s why …

Posted by Sue Nicholls, CPSA Founder & President CMKG | Feb 1, 2017 8:55:29 AM

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 5.43.04 PM-264069-edited.pngNote: This content is part of our new eBook on Category Management with Limited DataFeel free to read and share.

Based on the fact that MOST organizations have limited data in one way or another, all approaches to catman work aren't the same. Therefore, not all category management can be created equal (makes sense, right?). A great way to think about this is through a tiered approach.


  • In Tier 1, there is limited data, lower levels of collaboration between Retailers and Manufacturers, inexperience and limited skills with Category Management.
  • Tier 2 builds on Tier 1, with more access to data, and increased collaboration.
  • Tier 3 is the most advanced category management, with a robust data set, extensive resources, and high levels of collaboration between the Retailer and the Vendor.

Different Retailers, different Manufacturers, and different categories may appear in different parts of the continuum based on a combination of these requirements. The outputs from being in a Tier 1 environment due to limited data will be fact-based and strategic, but not to the same level of sophistication as companies who have access to a full suite of data.

In net, you CAN do category management on limited data (most likely in Tier 1, based on the above continuum). It's a matter of understanding your limitations based on the data gaps that you have (we talk about this in the next chapter of this e-book), and establishing realistic expectations for the outputs associated with a more basic approach.


  1. Download our complimentary Category Management Continuum document, which visually explains how there are different tiers of category management, and the requirements behind each of these tiers.
  2. Learn more about Category Management through our complimentary, accredited course on Category Management Overview (via a webinar recording).
  3. Take the first step and get category management training on limited data that helps move your organization forward.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 5.43.04 PM-264069-edited.pngNote: This content is part of our new eBook on Category Management with Limited DataFeel free to read and share.

Topics: Category Management (CatMan), CatMan with Limited Data, Convenience / C-Store, Individual Solutions

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.