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, Are you ready to elevate and align your organization through fact-based presentations and storytelling skills? Starting with CatMan foundations will support your success.

The last year has been a blast for our CMKG team, with much of our time spent working with suppliers and distributors in building their organization’s approach to fact-based presentations and storytelling.

I say organization’s approach for a purpose – it’s not just the sales team that has an opportunity to build their skills – it should include category management and marketing teams as well. A fact-based approach can be a catalyst to create organizational alignment and break down silos that are inherent in many companies.

One of our clients referred to it as pressing the “RESET” button to get everyone on the same page.

Sales organizations are realizing that their traditional approach to selling in their latest initiative – whether it’s a new product, a promotion or new idea – isn’t working as well as it has in the past. Marketing and branding develop the initiatives and then set objectives for the sales teams (typically with limited understanding about retailers or their categories or Shoppers), and sales are responsible for achieving the objectives.

A traditional approach is problematic in today’s world of more educated and data savvy retailers who are looking for Shopper solutions that will help grow their overall business and not just brand-focused solutions.

So what can we do? Change the current approach to a more strategic one that includes:

  1. Focusing on the retailer (their strategies, category, and Shopper);
  2. Identifying growth opportunities for the retailer (and their category and Shopper);
  3. Adding value through sharing of relevant category and Shopper insights;
  4. Including action to capitalize on the growth opportunity via the tactics;
  5. Weaving in the Shopper perspective (who are they, how are they changing, why they buy or don’t buy).

All of the above = Category Management

A move to a fact-based presentation and storytelling approach starts with the category management foundations.

Once these foundational category management skills are developed, the opportunity is to teach folks how to incorporate the relevant insights into a strategic, fact-based presentation that has logic and flow.

The truth is, most of us struggle to develop and deliver succinct, persuasive presentations because we lack a properly defined purpose for the presentation, poor PowerPoint skills, ability to create logic and flow, helpful design skills to create the best charts and slides, and/or the judgment on which slides are most relevant slides — to name a few.  

happy learning!

Sue Nicholls, CPSA • President & Founder, CMKG

Build proficiency in developing compelling, fact-based presentations with flow and logic.

Consider our online training that focuses on improving your fact-based presentation and strategic sales understanding:



The Future of Retail

From Trend Watching: You’re obsessed with the future of retail. We’re obsessed with the future of retail. Every CEO, senior executive, CMO and CIO is obsessed. Every trend firm, every consultancy. Everyone. Right?

Read more: The Future of Retail


Differences Between Genders: Male Grocery Shoppers

From The Hartman Group: Long has lived the myth that “Mom” is solely responsible for a household’s grocery shopping. But The Hartman Group’s Food Shopping in America 2017 report is once again proving that men may be increasingly more gatherer than hunter.

Read More

The Center Store Revolution: Innovation Drives Trips and Category Growth

From Catalina: New shopper and trip-based research from Catalina shows that: Center store categories remain strong at 60 annual trips per shopper, per store. This is down just one trip per shopper per year, despite the onslaught of ecommerce and discount retailers.

Read More

Why E-Commerce Shouldn’t Be Your Only Focus

From Nielsen: Today, nearly 30% of Americans buy groceries online. That number is expected to grow to 70% in less than 10 years.

But in planning for the future, we can’t ignore the present. Shoppers today buy according to their current needs: meal planning, health, value and convenience.

And more than ever, consumers are turning to fresh foods in more of those moments. This is why viewing fresh foods in the context of the rest of the FMCG universe is essential.

Read More

What’s the Ideal Soundtrack for Grocery Shopping?

From RetailWire: A new study from the University of South Florida finds that loud music in a restaurant or grocery store leads to more unhealthy food choices, while quieter music leads to heathier ones. Ambient music can influence healthy or unhealthy food buying, according to the researchers, because it directly impacts heart rate and arousal. Softer music has a calming effect, making people more mindful of what people order in a restaurant. Louder environments increase stimulation and stress, leading to less-mindful choices. 

Read More


Estimating Brand Distribution If You Only Have Item Level Data

From Here’s a recent question we received from a CPG Data Insights reader:

“I know that ACV is not additive, but is there a way to calculate total ACV for a Brand when you have 5 UPCs with ACV measure? Can you average the ACV of the 5 UPCs for total Brand ACV?”

Before I answer the question, let me answer another question that some of you may have:  Why would somebody ask this?  

Read More

Nielsen Now Offers Grocers Earlier Access to Market Data

From Progressive Grocer: Nielsen has launched what it calls the “earliest read into the retail and consumer goods marketplace” through its new Friday morning data delivery, with the intent of helping companies identify and move faster on market trends. The new service is provided to reduce the wait time for weekly retail sales performance data, which, industry-wide, often carries through the weekend and into the early days of the following week.

Read More

Deloitte: The Top Destination for Back-to-School Shopping is …

From Chain Store Age (CSA): Consumers prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar when it comes to the second-biggest shopping season of the year. Mass merchant stores remain the No. 1 back-to-school shopping destination, drawing 83% of respondents in Deloitte’s annual “Back-to-School” survey, followed by dollar stores (38%), online-only retailers (36%) and off-price stores (32%). 

Read More

For grocery stores, opportunities lie in HBC and general merchandise 

From Supermarket News: With the grocery channel challenged for growth, the health & beauty care (HBC) and general merchandise (GM) categories offer high development opportunities, attractive shopper demographics and high-ticket value visits, according to the second annual “The Power of GM and HBC in Grocery” report released yesterday by Acosta and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). Combined, more than $80 billion is spent each year on HBC and general merchandise in brick-and-mortar stores, yet shoppers are spending the majority of their money on those categories in other channels.

Read More

Fresh Content from CMKG

Develop your presentation skills for improved business results

4 Ways to Give Your Category Management Presentations a Makeover

Presentations have become the de facto business communication tool. Companies are started, products are launched, audiences are educated—in small or large part because of the quality of presentations. Likewise, ideas, endeavors and even careers can be cut short due to ineffective communication. Out of the millions of presentations delivered each day, only a small percentage are delivered really well. Read more.

Strategic Selling Skills: How to Develop Them & Why You Need Them

Selling is a requirement in any business. In the retail industry, selling takes place both internally and externally for Retailers and Vendors across departments and teams.  Read More


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Want to watch the latest CatMan Member webinar?

Focused topics for continuous knowledge increases and skill upgrades …


CatMan in eCommerce

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.

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October 26, 2018 (11am EST)

Fact-Based Presentations

Presentation skills continue to be an area that we can all improve on, and it’s a topic that we’ve been working on with a lot of clients through live and webinar-based training sessions. 

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, join Sue Nicholls of CMKG for great tips to draw insights and craft better stories through fact-based presentations. Plus, she’ll share a new storyboarding tool that’s brand new. Hope to see you there.

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:

Relaunch our entire set of accredited courses

Our library of accredited 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 and new. UPDATE: 75% of courses have been upgraded. All others will be completed by the end of October 2018.

New Live, In-Person Training

We have developed and launched a unique, customized live training program that can be one or two days long (depending on your priorities), with “Data to Insights” and “Fact-Based Presentations” incorporating an awesome program that is specifically tailored to on-premise teams.

New Learner Experience

For all active students in our Online Training & Resource Center, the new learner experience went live September 5, 2018 including a new look & feel, plus some administrative and leaderboard options for our corporate clients.


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