Category Marketing and the Holy Trinity


Changes in consumer, shopper and customer behaviours, channel landscape changes and data availability have created new challenges for brand managers.

Many retailers now have access to better data than suppliers (though whether they have the resources to distil insights is debatable) and better knowledge of what, how and why shoppers buy. This gives retailers an opportunity to be better at RGM than their suppliers.

Leading-edge suppliers know the importance of RGM to drive growth and value creation. This can be done at a relatively tactical level (optimise price and promotions) or a more strategic approach can be utilised driving the companies commercial strategy.

Here are a couple of things RGM is not:

  • Alchemy
  • An emergency service used in times of crisis.

These are the 4 features of great RGM:

  • Plans are based on significant insights –  Category, Consumer (Occasions), Shopper, Channel, Customer, Competitors
  • Choices are made after consideration of all the options available
  • It is an embedded behaviour
  • And a continuous improvement model.

Here are the 6 must-have for an effective RGM:

  • The ability to see the “whole category” and its relationship with the “whole” market
  • The capacity to capture and process a lot of data
  • The ability to analyse and understand the relationship between brands, consumers, shoppers and customers, to qualify the action and seize the opportunities
  • The ability to prioritise and sequence your opportunities, based on your business capabilities
  • The ability to go after your opportunities in an organised and disciplined manner
  • The commitment to building RGM capabilities over the short, medium and long term.

The Holy Trinity

RGM is a thorough appraisal of past activities, deep insights and potential actions. Using the insights generated a business can develop both long and short term initiatives to drive growth (and outperform the category). This analysis can support the brand management of the existing portfolio as well as identifying any white space opportunities.

RGM activities support, develop and embed the full spectrum of brand marketing, focusing on the investment required for the portfolio to be more productive with consumers, shoppers and customers. Here it is key is to understand the whole picture whilst not focusing simply on:

  • Price
  • Promotions
  • Assortment
  • Trade Spend.

Questions to consider include:

How does the shopper shop the category?

When will the products be consumed?

Are all of the needs (shopper, consumer, customer) being met?

Things to consider:

  • What are the Brands positioning within a category context?
  • How can we attract sales from category substitutes?
  • How can we take market share from competitors in the category?
  • Should we partner or build our portfolio with complementary products/services?
  • Do we need to adjust or refine our products to meet the needs of growing consumer segments?
  • Do we need to adjust or refine our pack sizes/formats to align with consumption habits and affordability?
  • Do we need to adjust or refine our primary packaging to facilitate access to more consumption occasions?
  • Do we need to adjust or refine our secondary packaging to deliver greater impact at the Point of Sale, and make it more efficient within retailer operations?
  • Do we need to adjust or refine our pricing to reflect the better brand and pack value to shoppers?
  • Do we need to adjust or refine our promotions so that they have a direct and positive impact on retail sales and consumption?
  • Do we need to develop more effective Point of Sale executions that drive higher sales rates?
  • Do we need to invest in effective RGM support from customers through conditional trade terms?

Good luck and if you need any help let us know. We would love to help.

Who are Big River Solutions?

  1. We are Big River Solutions – At the forefront of creating innovative consumer, shopper and customer marketing solutions, that drive sustainable growth for categories and brands. 
  2. Our focus is on helping our clients grow through connecting their categories and brands to their target consumers, shoppers and customers. Creating Category’s for Growth is our expertise.
  3. We help develop rigorous and commercially integrated strategic and tactical growth plans for categories and brands based on knowledge, insight, vision and a deep understanding of market drivers.
  4. We help convert plans into action through innovation and engagement that drives positive behaviour changes in target consumers, shoppers and customers and delivers expected results.
  5. We help develop and embed commercial capabilities required to gain and sustain competitive advantage through organisation and people.

How can we find out more?

  • Follow Big River Solutions on LinkedIn for content that you will find to be up to date, relevant to you and supply actionable thoughts.
  • Head to our website for details of our proposition, team, customer partners etc.
  • Take a health check. In answering the survey below you will receive an informed appraisal of your category marketing capability.
  • Subscribe to our mailing list