Navigating Your CatMan Priorities is Easier Than You Might Think

Posted by Sue Nicholls, CPSA Founder & President CMKG | Jul 18, 2017 8:49:00 AM

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.

Ready, set, go?

There are so many different areas of opportunity to focus on that it’s difficult to know where to start and what your biggest areas of opportunity even are.

The following will get you on a path to identify your biggest areas of opportunity, assess your current approach and ultimately provide access to resources to help you get prepared in your journey.

First, identify your future plans for category management as a Retailer or Manufacturer

  AS A RETAILER, Which best describes your approach?   
  • We use category management internally to drive category growth, but don’t work with Manufacturers and are not looking for further development beyond tactical work associated with traditional category management.
  • We want to engage in category management that is collaborative with our Manufacturer partners, but not in a fully vetted category captain arrangement.
  • We want to engage in a fully vetted category captain catman program that maximizes a collaborative approach with our Manufacturer partners, including implementation of strategic category plans through execution in stores.
  AS A MANUFACTURER, Which best describes your approach?   
  • We use category management internally and externally to drive brand and category growth, but are not looking for further development beyond tactical work associated with traditional category management.
  • We want to win a large percentage of category captain roles in our most important categories and with our most important Retailers, being seen as one of the leading CatMan teams in the industry for our categories. We want to build collaborative relationships with our most important Retail partners.
  • We want to be influencers of CatMan strategy in our most important categories and our most important Retailers, adding value to Retailers in specific parts of the CatMan process. We want strong relationships with our key Retail partners.

Second, assess your current approach to category management

It’s critical to complete a self diagnosis of your current CatMan Positioning, taking into account these 3 components of category management: PEOPLE, DATA, TOOLS.


  • How many RESOURCES are available to support category management for my organization?
  • What degree of INTERNAL ALIGNMENT exists across my organization?
  • How is category management TRAINING utilized and what is its effectiveness?


  • How much SHOPPER DATA & RESEARCH has been purchased for use by my organization?
  • How robust is our current suite of category management DATA?
  • How do we manage DATA INTEGRATION across key sources?


  • What EXTRACTION TOOLS are available to our teams to complete analytics?
  • What internal CatMan standards, best practices, and PROCESSES exist within our organization?
  • How effective are our PRESENTATIONS of data and identification of insights, both internally and externally?

Next Stop?

Get a Complimentary CatMan GPS Assessment from CMKG

By completing an assessment of where you’re currently at across these different category management components (PEOPLE, DATA, TOOLS), you can start to focus on where your biggest areas of opportunity are relative to what you’ve identified as your future plans for category management.

Get CatMan GPS Guidance

Topics: Retailer Solutions, Executive Solutions, Supplier 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.