CMKG’s quarterly newsletter dedicated to keeping our CatMan Community up-to-date by providing useful ways to proactively improve your knowledge and skills — today and in the future.

Hello, Continuously CatMan Subscriber

As part of my ongoing work, I have the privilege of engaging with many types and sizes of retailers, manufacturers, and solution providers to develop and facilitate category management training. 

Along the way, I also have the opportunity to learn (yay!) from some absolutely brilliant people and companies. My connection to these uniquely different customers provides a broadened perspective and helps me identify common themes, gaps, and opportunities, including:

Common Gaps & Opportunities 

Establish Clear Purpose for CatMan Work
What goals will category management work help you achieve? 

Identify Expected Outputs from your CatMan Team
What results will your category management work produce?

Identify, Prioritize, and Improve CatMan Inputs
What data, tools, strategy, processes, and people are needed to produce results and where are there opportunities for improvements in each?



These 5 Inputs Connect YOU with your Shopper

Data  |  Tools  |   Strategy  |  Processes  |  People

This newsletter will focus on how to improve these 5 CatMan Inputs, Shopper satisfaction, and ultimately YOUR business results.

happy learning!

Sue Nicholls, CPSA • President & Founder, CMKG

Your NEW Training & Resource Center is Ahead.

The launch is scheduled for this summer. Stay tuned for updates in your messages. 

Stay relevant and in-the-know about connecting with YOUR Shopper.

Dive into our advanced curriculum that will turn CatMan 2.0™ concepts into actionable ideas, best-practices, and innovation in our industry. 

Learn more about CatMan Master’s Training on our website


Innovation and Opportunity at Checkout

From VideoMining: As we all know, the front-end of grocery and convenience stores is changing. From established innovations such as express lanes and self-checkout to new technology like cashier-less checkout (Amazon Go), click and collect and self-scan, retailers are looking for new ways to improve the shopping experience by providing quicker or more convenient options for checkout.

Read more: Innovation and Opportunity at Checkout


The need to lead in data and analytics

From McKinsey: In a new survey, executives say senior-leader involvement and the right organizational structure are critical factors in how successful a company’s analytics efforts are, even more important than its technical capabilities or tools.

Read More

Much of What You Thought You Knew About Gen Z’s Shopping Habits Is Probably Wrong

From ADWEEK: A new survey suggests that Gen Z shoppers are more traditional and more patient than many thought. For retailers who’ve been racking their brains in recent years over how to target millennials, here’s a bit of unsettling news: Gen Z is coming right on their heels. Not only that but, the prevailing wisdom goes, these newly minted consumers (now 23 and younger) want everything right away.

Read More

7 Innovative Retail Partnership Examples

From When retail changes as quickly as it does in today’s market, it’s more important than ever to constantly innovate and look for the next opportunity. One way to do that is through brand partnerships … Check this list of seven innovative retail partnership examples to find inspiration for your next collaboration:

Read More

Private Label Isn’t What It Used to Be

From Private label isn’t what it used to be. Grocers are no longer filling the gaps in their shelves with generic products, they’re making way for exclusive private label brands. Shoppers are going out of their way to pick up an exclusive private label product that can only be found in a specific store. 

Read More


The Battle for Product Placement: The CPG Manufacturer’s Guide to Winning Market Share (PDF)

From Fred Brown at Kalypso: Several weeks ago, my wife sent me to the grocery store for some food staples. In the interest of maintaining family peace, I agreed to the assignment. But there was an ulterior motive to my unusual helpfulness.

Like most men, I enjoy watching classic battles, whether on TV, at the Atlanta Falcon Stadium, or at the grocery store. “Wait,” you respond. “Battles at the grocery store—the home of humanity’s sustenance and friendly (most of the time) attendants?”

In fact, there is a continuous battle among retail suppliers for preferred shelf placement. 

Download PDF

Learn From The Good, The Bad And The Ugly In Product Launches

From Preparing for a brand launch or reintroduction to the market is not for the faint of heart. For more than 25 years, I’ve moderated numerous collaborative strategy sessions with consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers on behalf of our company and have worked with other CPG manufacturers at various stages in their journey. Some have been better prepared than others to start or restart the product-life cycle journey.

Marketers looking to help their clients launch products can learn from those well positioned to introduce their item to the market as well as others who needed to take a step back to improve their chances for success.

Read More

52% of Promotions Go to Customers Who Would Pay Full Price: Study

From A recent Revionics-commissioned study, "Indiscriminate Promotions Cost Retailers," has found that 52 percent of weekly or monthly promotions go to customers who would actually pay full price.

The study, conducted by Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Consulting, probed into the emotional psyche of U.S., U.K., French, German and Brazilian shoppers to learn what types of retail promotions are meaningful and impactful.

Read More

Leveraging Convenience, Wellness Helps Supermarkets Better Sell Health and Beauty Care 

From Supermarkets have long been bringing up the rear in the health, beauty and wellness (HBW) race. Experts say that in an increasingly splintered and competitive market, the grocery channel has an opportunity to leverage its convenience and food/wellness positioning to boost its profile in this category.

Laura Mahecha, industry manager for health care at Kline & Co., a Parsippany, N.J.-based consulting group, notes that the supermarket channel’s share of total HBC has shrunk to around 19 percent.

Read More

Fresh Content from CMKG

It’s Important to Assess and Improve Your Business Sense

Improving Your Business Acumen in Category Management

Business acumen is the ability to assess an external market and make effective decisions. You need the skills and tools to think more like an owner of the business and to understand, set and execute business strategy while being able to measure the effectiveness of your business strategy through financial performance – skills that I think many of us can improve upon. Read more.

Identifying Growth Opportunities In Your Business

An opportunity is any project or investment that will create growth for your business.  Read More


Get thought leadership in your inbox —

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Want to watch the latest CatMan Member webinar?

Focused topics for continuous knowledge increases and skill upgrades …


Identify Business Opportunities through Improved Shopper Focus

Previous 2018 webinars have been, “Improving Your Business Acumen in Category Management”, and “Ways to Identify Growth.” All 2018 and more than 15 additional webinar recordings are available in your online Training & Resource Center.


How can you watch?

This webinar and previous skill-building webinars are available in our online Training & Resource Center as recordings for all paid subscription, Premium CatMan Members.

You can watch the latest recording by signing up for our Free-Level Membership, where you’ll also be able to check out other training resources.

Sign up now

September 13, 2018 (11am EST)

CatMan in eCommerce

As online sales continue to grow, there’s an opportunity to find ways to take category management into the eCommerce space. We hope you’ll join us …

REQUEST a one-time guest pass to attend the webinar. 
Already received a guest pass? Upgrade to a CatMan Premium Membership to attend live or watch the recording.

At our upcoming webinar, Sue Nicholls from CMKG and Tom McDonald from the Category Management Association will explore ways to extend CatMan into your eCommerce business.

Six times a year, CMKG presents and hosts these highly-rated and popular educational webinars for our students enrolled in courses and programs. Individuals or teams not currently enrolled can attend live webinars or watch the recordings by becoming CatMan Members of our Training and Resource Center. In addition to webinars, CatMan Members also have a wealth of resources at their fingertips, including on-the-job resources, articles, and news items we hand select for people in retail, manufacturing, and solution provider organizations. 
What’s coming in 2018? Topics are chosen and communicated 2 months in advanced of webinars dates and will be announced in this newsletter.

Want to attend our webinars and get access to on-the-job resources and more?

You have several options for CatMan Membership on a monthly, bi-annual, or annual subscription:


What’s Up & Coming?

We are excited to announce some new training development that we’ve been working on, including:

refreshed & re-launched courses

Our entire library of accredited category management courses has a new, refreshed look, new tools, and more resources and content! This is a huge undertaking that takes a vast amount of resources and time – but we are always upgrading and enhancing to keep training relevant.

new training! beer, wine & spirits

Training developed specifically for Beer, Wine & Spirits will launch later this summer and will fill a big void. Stay tuned for details.

upgraded learner experience

All active students and premium CatMan members will see a new look and functionality in the coming months!

Seasonal Tips & Advice

Business planning season is coming up shortly

Did you know that CMKG can help you prepare for live workshops and training sessions on these and many more topics? Check out these articles while you prepare for this busy time:

4 Steps to Uncover Strategic Business Insights and Opportunities

Improve Collaboration and Joint Business Planning Results in 3 Steps

Strategic Collaboration - Are You Really Prepared?


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