True category management is the great equalizer between companies of all sizes. In 2013, it's time to invest in and develop strong category management strategies.
Most companies in the natural channel don't fully understand how category management principles can help them grow sustainable sales and compete head-to-head with any Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company.
Category management is far more than pulling canned reports, keeping store shelves full or populating templates. True category management involves adopting advanced strategies to help target core consumers by satisfying their wants and needs better than the competition. It grows the category at the retail level in addition to the brand level and enables small natural brands and retailers to compete head-to-head with the largest mainstream retailers and brands on the planet.
A comparison might be the difference between a major league baseball team and a high school rec-league. My mission is to level the playing field between natural and conventional with my articles.
Strategies to grow your natural brand
Leverage your category management capabilities at retail.
Manufacturers need to apply their product and consumer expertise to help support the retailers that sell their products. Manufacturers and retailers need toform a cohesive collaborative relationship to help each other grow and remain competitive. This is done by adopting a category captain/category advisor role at retail. Retailers will value and appreciate a manufacturer's/brand's expertise and possibly reward them with better shelf placement and incremental promotion opportunities. The goal is to increase foot traffic at retail and to increase consumer shopping basket size.
Adopt KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) which are micro strategies that help build your brand consistently across all channels. These strategies include pricing, promotion, distribution, merchandising, etc. Your KPIs should measure your strategies against your competitor.
Take an active role in helping your broker manage and grow your business.
Develop scorecards to hold them accountable for your success and growth.
Commit to developing your category management, sales management, trade marketing management teams by teaching them the best practices to help grow your business sustainably.
Develop a strategy to set measures and manage your goals in 2013. Scorecarding allows you to break goals into small manageable bite-size chunks.
Adopt strategic merchandising strategies to support your growth.
Sometimes the best overall strategy includes multiple strategies for different categories. Each strategy addresses a different need/goal whether it's turf defending, increasing foot traffic image or creating.
Know your customer.
Natural consumers don't simply want to be sold. They are perhaps the most loyal consumers any retailer can hope to have. They are typically the most committed, best educated (they read labels) and most dedicated shoppers in any channel.
Duplication is the sincerest form of flattery.
Adopt the best strategies used by leaders in our industry and improve on them. This will help you develop a sustainable competitive advantage and grow sales in 2013.