How to Become a Category Manager

A category manager is primarily in charge of a business unit of a particular category which ranges from powdered juice to canned tuna to toothpastes to lipsticks to dish washing soap. Here is the basic job description of a category manager:

• Concentrates on his or her brand’s profitability goals and market strategies.

• Negotiates with the suppliers signsnews to achieve the brand’s sales goals and quota.

• Takes into consideration the suggestions of the suppliers to further develop the products.

• Works on promotional activities and advertisement to encourage consumers to support the brand.

• The industry also provides a set of category management process to help both the managers and suppliers:

1. Specify the category. For example, what products are included or excluded in the category

2. Identify the role of the category in relation to the retailer

3. Consider and gauge the current performance

4. Lay down specific goals and objectives for the category

5. Formulate a comprehensive strategy

6. Set up specific tactics

7. Implementation

8. Review

• The Category Manager is also responsible for consumer insights, space management and marketing.

To meet the above-mentioned requirements, it is important that you possess the following competencies to become a category manager:

• A Business degree is highly preferred by the prospective employers.

• A good mathematical aptitude to draw out plans and assess accurately the market needs of his or her particular brand.

• A good communication skill is a must. It is important for the category manager to relay his or her point to the suppliers, manufacturers and consumers. This will also help him clinch the deals which will be beneficial to his or her product.

• Additionally, a good negotiation skill is also a must which will work to the advantage of the brand, dealer and the client.

• He should be flexible to the demands and the changes in the company’s as well as to the industry’s policy and demands. This will help the manager work well with the company and eventually meeting its target goals.

• He should also be updated with the recent trends and innovation in the category management sector. It is important to attend and have the necessary certification as may be offered by local category management associations to enhance one’s competency and knowledge.

• It is also important that the would-be Category Manager do his or her own research work for his or her targeted job. This is because, in the US alone, qualifications vary from one state to another. Further, this research will help the prospective applicant to know the competency, skill and knowledge required for the job opportunity.

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