The Magic Numbers

Numbers 13, 666, 2020 were walking down the street. Everyone around them was running for cover. 13 turned to 666 and said

“They’re all running away from you 666 because you scare them”.

666 replies

“No 13, you’re the unluckiest number. They’re running away from you”.

To their left, they heard 2020 cough.

“I think you’ll find people are running away from me”.

13 and 666 looked at each other, smiled, shrugged their shoulders and replied to 2020 in unison

“Yeh, we’ll give you that”

Welcome to Friday fun.

With the return of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ to our TV screens expected for October 24th, we can all practise our two steps, waltz and ‘pivot’ in front of the TV screen looking for a ‘seven’. I hear from a reliable source (namely my imagination) that to honour 2020, the pivot will be a new routine, led by Len as a tribute to all the pivoting business have done this year.

To pivot has now entered the every-day language and it’s far more than a cliché (which itself is a cliché) So how did you Pivot in 2020?

I hope suppliers found the time to review how they can create an environment of commercial excellence to pivot Category Management and Category Development from an operational nice to have into part of strategic policy for core business growth.

The pivot here is to treat Category Marketing as the commercial competency that resides strategically in the Commercial Directors portfolio. Category Development and Category Marketing remain within the operation to drive capability, process and performance for the brand.

Using the Category Marketing approach strategically allows insights to drive category visions across Consumer, Shopper and Customer consumption points. The objective is to create a connected and harmonised value chain that meets the requirements of the five key stakeholders of Category, Brand, Consumer, Shopper and Customer wants, to drive growth.

Many brands will say they already do this. And some might be right. But many execute the exercise without embedding Category at the heart of the business. Why? Because over time, everything category has fallen out of favour.

Shopper activation and price promotion have been the priority for many in recent years. Why? The results are immediate and volume-driven.


  • With footfall in decline
  • Prices on the rise
  • An over-dependence on an algorithm
  • A wide-spread dismissal of category discipline
  • The growth in D2C and home delivery.

Shopper activation and price promotion are becoming less effective for long term brand growth.

In this new economy, how will success be measured?

There have been many books written on this subject, and many great minds have offered very plausible views, but there is still only three effective measure of growth.

  • How many units go through the checkout?
  • How many units are consumed?
  • Is there a repeat purchase?

Next time you see 13, 666 and 2020, check that all the long-term bases are covered because immediate results may not last the test of time.

This is a rough guide to the need to pivot towards Category Management. We are passionate about putting Category Marketing at the heart of CPG businesses. Having this at the heart of your business will drive long term value and mitigate the need to find volume.

For further information and to find out how Big River Solutions can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my colleague, Paul Holden, as we help you navigate through 2021 and beyond