Introduction- The whole procedure of supply chain management of goods comprises production to wholesalers to retailers and finally to the customers. So, where does the category manager fit into this entire process of the supply chain, and how does being a category manager bring about a change in the whole process supply chain? What does the job of a category manager entail? What are the hard skills and the soft skills required to be a good category manager? How can you be sure that is something you want to go for as the career option? These are some obligatory questions that arise in our mind regarding a Category Manager. A detailed description of the category manager given below will answer any question that has ever come into your mind regarding a category manager. So, today, we’ll know What Is A Category Manager?
Answer: Category managers work to satisfy the needs of the company and the customer simultaneously, which is difficult to achieve. The category manager makes the impossible seem possible. The word category in the category manager implies that when goods bought by retailers or organizations are to be sold directly to the customer, they are divided into categories according to their characteristics and represented to the customer to explore from the options present to them. The categorized product is with a particular sales value in the market. To maintain and increase the revenue of each Categorized product, category managers are appointed.
It not only increases the income of their Category but also works to profit both the manufactory company or the retailer and the customer by analyzing the demands of the customer and the expectations of the manufacturing company and mutual understanding between the needs of two by strategic approach. For instance, in supermarkets, the category managers are appointed. His Category is baby products, so they will be responsible for ensuring the increase in the revenue of the baby products and for the customer satisfaction acquisition.
The work of the Category Manager does not end there. Category managers use a different approach to increase sales and meet the needs of the customer buying their category products. They are required to deal with various teams to get things executed strategically. They are many challenges at different levels that he has to deal with to ensure consistent profit in the revenue of their Category. Being a category manager comes with many pros and cons. A person needs to have the right skills and determination to become a category manager.
What Are the Objectives of Category Managers?
Target Factors of Category Management and how are those grounds attained?
The marketing mantra of every category manager is the 4 Principles of Category Management that are Product, Placement, Price, and Promo are essential key pointers of any successful marketing strategy.
The fundamental motto of every category manager is to increase the revenue of their category product by increasing the sales of the said category products. Therefore, the objectives of the Category Manager are to focus on the following:
- Product: The 1st P stands for product information; category manager needs to have insight into every product within their Category to meet the customer’s demands and provide satisfaction to every customer. Comparing the stats of sales of the products with the competitor product to understand how a customer feels about the said products and why they feel it is a loss to invest in them. What causes a drawback in the sales of the product?
Category Manager tries their level best to increase the customers’ interest by introducing interesting offers to the customers who are impossible to reject, which are beneficial for both the consumer and manufacturer.
- Placement: The 2nd P stands for where the said product is to be sold, which is a benefactor for the product’s sales and how easily it can reach the targeted consumer. As said by Seth Godin, “Don’t find customers for your product. Find products for your customers”. Products are made for a customer’s needs. It would be pointless if it does not meet the targeted audience, which was kept in mind during the whole manufacturing process. Therefore right placement is something that should be kept in mind by the category manager while marketing.
- Price: The 3rd P stands for the price at which the product is sold to the customer. The product’s price is decided by the manufacturing company keeping in mind the manufacturing cost, importing cost, and many other criteria. It is ensured by the category manager to give offers, discounts, and other beneficial deals to the customer to promote the sales of the product, keeping in mind that this does not cause the loss of the company and does not temper the product luxury provided to the customer.
- Promotion: The 4th P stands for Digital Promotion done to promote the product through advertisements, press releases, social media, web page of the company, and direct marketing. The category manager prepares the promotional strategy of any product before the launch of any product in the market. We live in a digital era, where placement and promotion can be done both online and offline. It is impossible to be digitally unaware of the promotion made for any product.
Target Factors for Category Management
- Types of customer: There are different types of customers to every product, such as the loyal customer who believe in the company name for its quality, for example, Apple has loyal customers, Impulse customers require the product to be of their interest to buy it regardless of its insight, Bargain customer are those who require a good bargain or discount on the original price of the product and the need-based customer are whose who look for the product that can fulfill their needs.
- Average Time spent: The amount of Time spent by customers looking for the product on the company web page or any other promotion sites and Category Manager estimate various outlooks about the product sales and need of the customers.
- Preferred period for the Sales: Some goods are mostly sold on specific holidays, occasions, and seasons and vary according to months. For example, umbrellas are most commonly bought in monsoon seasons, so umbrellas have higher demand in monsoon seasons and have higher sales during that period.
- Brands most preferred: The product sales are constituted by every brand of that product, and sales depend on the customers’ most preferred and trusted brand.
The Category Manager requires the help of various other departments to fulfill customer’s needs and live up to their expectations. They work in collaboration with the:-
- Design Team
- Logistic Team
- Technical Team
- Management Team
- Educational Qualification and Skills required to become a Good Category Manager
- Required Skills
- Understand the needs and requirements of the customer and influence them.
- To be able to persuade the customer is an essential marketing strategy.
- Able to hold responsibility in a difficult situation concerning their categories.
- Have excellent observation skills and can analyze the situation.
- To have a creative mind and exercise a different approach to a problem.
- Communication and interpersonal skill is a must to become a good category manager. This job requires you to carry out conversations with different departments, higher-up seniors, and sometimes directly to the customer.
As far as educational qualifications are concerned, becoming a Category Manager requires a Bachelor’s degree in management or any related field. To become a Category Manager in any influential company and advance your career, you need to have a bachelor’s degree plus experience in the field; you must do a marketing internship and have the necessary management experience. For professional experiences in category management, it is necessary to qualify Certified Professional Category Manager (CPCM) exam. CPCM has a different level of experience for students of nearly around 3-5 years.
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Category Manager
- You are held responsible for every profit and loss of your Category. You can make a direct impact on the outcome of your Category.
- You can directly monitor at a different level to ensure that the quality of the product is not strained and the resources can be put to better use.
- Your hard work can be identified and appreciated.
- Saving can be put to good use shortly.
- You are directly linked to other Departments and get to learn about them.
- There is a lot of pressure on you to ensure consistent profit in the revenue.
- The amount of work of the category manager increases on holidays and special occasions. The product demand is high on those days, and they have to ensure smooth functioning. It comes under 24/7 hr jobs.
- They are held responsible if any team member cannot fulfill their duty, and it affects their job.
Conclusion: The Outcome lies in your hands
Being a Category Manager has its own positive and negative aspects but so do other jobs. This job entails holding a major responsibility in respect of revenue and sales of your Category from the Manufacture of the product until the product reaches the customer. The Average Salary of a Category Manager ranges from $101,012 to $124,480. Still, the pay range varies according to the company’s educational qualification, experience, and performance, from person to person. Being a Category Manager helps a person touch thousands of lives in their way every day, and they work to provide satisfaction to their customers.
- What is the difference between Buyers and Category managers?
Buyers are the people tasked to manage the entire purchasing process. In contrast, category managers overview the entire Category of products and are responsible for its revenue and profit.
- What are few top challenges faced by Category managers?
To carry out operations in Time, ensuring everything works out smoothly requires effort and brainstorming. As a result, there are various breakdowns at different levels that ultimately affect the work of the category manager.
- What makes a successful Category Manager?
Being a Category Manager requires a wide range of skills. Still, the most important one is analyzing skills working out the strategies they estimate an outcome of their Category which ensure their success.
- How can you be sure if you want to become a Category Manager?
If you are good with responsibility, you can work under pressure and ensure a positive outcome. It is something that you feel passionate about and sees yourself doing shortly.