Category manager

Description

Category managers define the sales programme for specific product groups. They research market demands and newly supplied products.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to category manager:

product category manager
FMCG category manager
indirect category manager
merchandising category specialist
pricing and marketing manager
category development manager
product category specialist
assistant category manager
on-line category manager
graduate category manager
vendor management manager
g.m. category manager
general merchandise category manager
planning and inventory control manager
senior category manager

Minimum qualifications

Bachelor’s degree is generally required to work as category manager. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Category manager is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Category manager career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to category manager.

promotion manager
sales manager
chief marketing officer
marketing manager
marketeer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of category manager. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of category manager with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of category manager.

Pricing strategies: The techniques, theories, and commonly accepted strategies regarding pricing of goods. The relation between pricing strategies and outcomes in the market such as profitability maximisation, deterrence of newcomers, or increase of market share.
Store design layout: Fundamentals in layout and store design in order to achieve an optimal product placement.
Corporate social responsibility: The handling or managing of business processes in a responsible and ethical manner considering the economic responsibility towards shareholders as equally important as the responsibility towards environmental and social stakeholders.
Market participants: The businesses, relations and opportunities of different participants in the market.
Cost management: The process of planning, monitoring and adjusting the expenses and revenues of a business in order to achieve cost efficiency and capability.
Market research: The processes, techniques, and purposes comprised in the first step for developing marketing strategies such as the collection of information about customers and the definition of segments and targets.
Channel marketing: The strategies and practices, including channel sales, that involve distributing products directly and indirectly through partners in order to bring the products to the end consumer.
Conflict management: The practices concerning the resolution of conflicts or disputes in an organisation or institution. It encompasses reducing the negative aspects of a conflict and increasing the positive outcomes of it by learning from the errors made.
Content marketing strategy: The process of creation and share of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.
Marketing mix: Principle of marketing that describes the four fundamental elements in marketing strategies which are the product, the place, the price and the promotion.
Market pricing: Price volatility according to market and price elasticity, and the factors which influence pricing trends and changes in the market in the long and short term.
Company policies: The set of rules that govern the activity of a company.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of category manager.

Integrate strategic foundation in daily performance: Reflect on the strategic foundation of companies, meaning their mission, vision, and values in order to integrate this foundation in the performance of the job position.
Plan marketing strategy: Determine the objective of the marketing strategy whether it is for establishing image, implementing a pricing strategy, or raising awareness of the product. Establish approaches of marketing actions to ensure that goals are achieved efficiently and over a long term.
Perform multiple tasks at the same time: Execute multiple tasks at the same time, being aware of key priorities.
Identify suppliers: Determine potential suppliers for further negotiation. Take into consideration aspects such as product quality, sustainability, local sourcing, seasonality and coverage of the area. Evaluate the likelihood of obtaining beneficial contracts and agreements with them.
Ensure customer focus: Attitude that puts customers at the centre of the business in all cases.
Study sales levels of products: Collect and analyse sales levels of products and services in order to use this information for determining the quantities to be produced in the following batches, customer feedback, price trends, and the efficiency of sales methods.
Perform risk analysis: Identify and assess factors that may jeopardise the success of a project or threaten the organisation’s functioning. Implement procedures to avoid or minimise their impact.
Manage budgets: Plan, monitor and report on the budget.
Maintain relationship with suppliers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with suppliers and service providers in order to establish a positive, profitable and enduring collaboration, co-operation and contract negotiation.
Evaluate marketing content: Revise, assess, align, and approve marketing material and content defined in the marketing plan. Evaluate written word, images, print or video advertisements, public speeches, and statements in accordance with the marketing objectives.
Manage profitability: Review on a regular basis sales and profit performance.
Create annual marketing budget: Make the calculation of both the income and expenditures that are expected to be paid over the coming year concerning the marketing related activities such as advertising, selling and delivering products to people.
Apply strategic thinking: Apply generation and effective application of business insights and possible opportunities, in order to achieve competitive business advantage on a long-term basis.
Negotiate sales contracts: Come to an agreement between commercial partners with a focus on terms and conditions, specifications, delivery time, price etc.
Analyse consumer buying trends: Analyse buying habits or currently prevalent customer behaviour.
Define measurable marketing objectives: Outline the measurable performance indicators of the marketing plan such as market share, customer value, brand awareness, and sales revenues. Follow up on the progress of these indicators during the development of the marketing plan.
Track key performance indicators: Identify the quantifiable measures that a company or industry uses to gauge or compare performance in terms of meeting their operational and strategic goals, using preset performance indicators.
Coordinate marketing plan actions: Manage the overview of the marketing actions such as the marketing planning, internal financial resource granting, advertising materials, implementation, control, and communication efforts.
Analyse internal factors of companies: Research and understand various internal factors that influence the operation of companies such as its culture, strategic foundation, products, prices, and available resources.
Select optimal distribution channel: Choose the best possible distribution channel for the customer.
Plan marketing campaign: Develop a method to promote a product through different channels, such as television, radio, print and online platforms, social media with the aim to communicate and deliver value to customers.
Impart business plans to collaborators: Diffuse, present, and communicate business plans and strategies to managers, employees making sure that objectives, actions, and important messages are properly conveyed.
Integrate marketing strategies with the global strategy: Integrate the marketing strategy and its elements such as the market definition, competitors, price strategy, and communication with the general guidelines of the global strategy of the company.
Manage inventory: Control product inventory in balance of availability and storage costs.
Collaborate in the development of marketing strategies: Work together with a group of professionals to develop marketing strategies performing market analysis and financial viability while staying aligned with the company’s goals.
Show entrepreneurial spirit: demonstrate a proactive attitude and determination to achieve success in business
Analyse customer service surveys: Analyse results from surveys completed by passengers/customer; analyse results to identify trends and draw conclusions.
Perform project management: Manage and plan various resources, such as human resources, budget, deadline, results, and quality necessary for a specific project, and monitor the project’s progress in order to achieve a specific goal within a set time and budget.
Analyse external factors of companies: Perform research and analysis of the external factor pertaining to companies such as consumers, position in the market, competitors, and political situation.
Perform product planning: Identify and articulate market requirements that define a product’s feature set. Product planning serves as the basis for decisions about price, distribution and promotion.
Identify potential markets for companies: Observe and analyse market research findings in order to determine promising and profitable markets. Consider the firm’s specific advantage and match it with markets where such value proposition is missing.
Align efforts towards business development: Synchronise the efforts, plans, strategies, and actions carried out in departments of companies towards the growth of business and its turnover. Keep business development as the ultimate outcome of any effort of the company.
Develop product design: Convert market requirements into product design and development.
Perform market research: Gather, assess and represent data about target market and customers in order to facilitate strategic development and feasibility studies. Identify market trends.
Analyse work-related written reports: Read and comprehend job-related reports, analyse the content of reports and apply findings to daily work operations.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of category manager. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Brand marketing techniques: The methods and systems used in researching and establishing a brand identity for marketing purposes.
Employment law: The law which mediates the relationship between employees and employers. It concerns employees’ rights at work which are binding by the work contract.
Teamwork principles: The cooperation between people characterised by a unified commitment to achieving a given goal, participating equally, maintaining open communication, facilitating effective usage of ideas etc.
Communication principles: The set of commonly shared principles in regards with communication such as active listening, establish rapport, adjusting the register, and respecting the intervention of others.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of category manager. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
Abide by business ethical code of conducts: Conform and follow the ethical code of conducts promoted by companies and businesses at large. Ensure that operations and activities do comply with the code of conduct and ethical operations the supply chain throughout.
Inspect data: Analyse, transform and model data in order to discover useful information and to support decision-making.
Ensure cross-department cooperation: Guarantee communication and cooperation with all the entities and teams in a given organisation, according to the company strategy.
Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
Report accounts of the professional activity: Recount events and facts which happened in professional contexts in a trustworthy manner.

ISCO group and title

1221 – Sales and marketing managers

 

 


 

 

References
  1. Category manager – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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