“Category” has traditionally been the language of context for Sales and Customer Marketing teams. It has been used as the currency to create an agenda against which to engage customers in a Category Management agenda, typically delivering POP changes. Category Management better exists within a Category Marketing context to maximise growth.
Category strategy should be at the heartland of Consumer Marketing
Categories, and the portfolios of brands within them, develop and grow if they achieve targeted consumer behaviour changes against opportunities identified as Growth Drivers. Marketing functions change behaviours. For a category led organisation the commercial planning process starts with consumer and shopper growth opportunities, Growth Drivers, not with their brands themselves. The portfolio is then subsequently discussed against the opportunities and decisions taken as to which brand is best suited to tackle each Growth Driver.
The innovation, renovation and activation efforts are set-up to deliver against the consumer and shopper growth opportunities, using whichever brand is best placed to go after the opportunity. Brand plans start with a review of the Growth Drivers and how each brand has delivered against the identified behaviour changes to realise growth.
There is complete clarity on where the barriers to purchase occur across the entire consumer/shopper journey. Shopper is seen as a core capability and Marketing have skin in the Shopper plan. Marketing spend is allocated according to wherever the barriers to growth along the consumer/shopper journey exist. This might mean most of their budget is spent against ‘Shopper Marketing’, i.e. building the relevance of their brands to shopper missions across multiple channels, rather than addressing typical awareness or consideration issues.
Going beyond the brand to bring solutions that strengthen the consumer and their relationship with the category will lead to brand share
We understand that it’s counterintuitive to think about the category when it’s the brand that pays salaries but it’s crucial if you want to walk away with your growth bonus. Category strategy is more than a sales thing. It’s a valuable currency for Consumer Marketing – with category mindshare comes brand market share.