• Sean Raw

Category Marketing in six steps

Category Marketing is an integrated approach to consumer, shopper and customer marketing that results in aligned brand, channel, customer, service and supply management plans. A practitioner would recognise this as a detailed and complex set of outputs that are critical to their business performance.


The 6 Steps of Category marketing break the process down into the KEY management objectives as a means to focus the multifunctional team on the same objectives, and ensure all contribute to an integrated solution.


The 6 Steps

Step 1 - Hindsight (What has happened)

In this step, the team consider all the relevant "history" of the Category with the view to understanding "WHAT has happened" so as to identify the key trends and issues that exist. The output is typically consolidated and presented as a "Category Review"


Step 2 - Insight (Why it happened)

Knowing what happened makes you knowledgeable - knowing "Why" gives you the opportunity to take advantage of trends and resolve issues - this is what unlocks the power of knowledge.


Insight is based on a detailed and accurate understanding of the underlying causal factors that affect market behaviour and attitudes - no one "function" can be relied upon to capture the insights that drive behaviour and attitudes on consumers, shoppers, customers, competitors and even your own business - it is best achieved through a collaborative cross functional effort


Step 3 - Foresight

Once the team understands what and why, they are in a position to translate this into what "could" and "should" be done to achieve the company's goals. It is in this step that the team produces their "Vision" (for the Category, the business in the Category, their brand in the Category etc) and "Plans" (Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Tactics) . Through collaboration and team work, the Commercial Category plan is created by cascading its objectives, strategies and tactics from the "Company" vision and mission, through the Consumer, Shopper, Customer and Supply Chain planning processes. Each contributing plan answers the requirements of the 16P Framework from their "market value chain" point of view


Step 4 - Create

This is the first step in translating plans into action - the step at which the "activities" and "innovations" required and defined by the commercial plan are developed to the point of being ready to activate. (Goto Market). Close collaboration ensures that, by design, your consumer activities are supported by appropriate shopper activity, which in turn are supported by appropriate customer activity. This cohesion by design principle produces a more powerful proposition, reinforced at all key touch and decision points.


Step 5 - Activate

In activation, timing is everything - this step focuses the team on execution of their plans in a timely manner - ensuring access to products when the market is stimulated to seek them out.


Step 6 - Drive

As all practitioners know, "activation" is only the beginning. During the "Drive" phase the team routinely monitor, understand and respond to market dynamics and competitive activity to drive performance of their "activations" to the level needed to drive expected results and measures of efficiency.


It is this detailed understanding and recording of the operational data of the category and brands, coupled with consumer, shopper, customer and competitor insights that fuels the development of the company's collective knowledge - and feeds the source of the Category Marketing process - Hindsight.


If you want to step change the effectiveness and efficiency of your commercial team by employing the principles of Category Marketing in your business, we would be delighted to help........




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