100 learnings based on 250 category vision projects (in random order)

  1. Start with the consumer
  2. Start with the retailer
  3. Start with the shopper
  4. Start with the trends
  5. So start with trends and insights based on consumer, shopper and retailer: at the same time!
  6. Clarify what the real insights are
  7. Insights can be about consumption and/or purchase
  8. Combine data from different sources
  9. Google is your best friend for additional information
  10. Follow your target group on social media, you are not the consumer/shopper
  11. Combine consumer and shopper research results into one
  12. Purchase frequency does not equal consumption frequency (and you can learn a lot from that)
  13. The cook is not always the consumer
  14. The shopper is not always the consumer
  15. Your category is not the only one bought during a shopping trip
  16. Needs, motivations and occasions are often very big drivers
  17. If you have an insight that no one wants to believe, you are often in the right place
  18. Sometimes you need more time and different ways of convincing your stakeholders of that specific insight
  19. Calculate what your vision will bring in turnover/profit
  20. Find out about the needs of your contact person at the retailer’s
  21. Immerse yourself in the formula (regulations) of your customer
  22. Think category, not brand
  23. Find a good balance between solo work and co-creating in a group
  24. Determine in time what you don’t know and research it as soon as possible
  25. Make it concrete
  26. Take your time
  27. Growth drivers are always about penetration x frequency x volume x value
  28. Growth drivers are always about inspiration, activation, education and optimization
  29. So go a step deeper to formulate really appealing growth drivers
  30. Preferably focus on penetration or frequency or volume (and not all at once)
  31. Make sure the growth drivers are aligned with your category (and would not apply to others)
  32. You don’t necessarily have to formulate growth drivers to determine good growth strategies
  33. Growth strategies can be based on target groups
  34. Growth strategies can be based on occasions
  35. Growth strategies can be based on adjacent categories
  36. Growth strategies can always be quantified (as impossible as it may seem)
  37. You don’t always need a consumer/shopper decision tree
  38. It’s not just about the shelf
  39. Please stop using those cliches
  40. You don’t always need a category vision
  41. Don’t forget your category definition
    Consider the role of the category for the retailer
  42. Make sure your category vision can land with your retailer
  43. Come up with a communication plan for your category vision
  44. Create a short version of your category vision
  45. It is perfectly fine to use market research from 10 years ago
  46. Make sure you validate outdated facts in a smart survey
  47. Set KPIs to monitor the progress of your category vision
  48. Let outsiders look at your category vision
  49. Let someone with experience think along
  50. Most trade marketers make a category plan less than ten times in their career
  51. Be inspired by completely different categories
  52. Evaluate and adjust, both internally and with the retailer
  53. Identify the core issue in your category
  54. A core issue arises from consumer behaviour
  55. Steady decline in usage is an example of a core issue
  56. Unfamiliarity with the category is an example of a core issue
  57. A major shift to other occasions is an example of a core issue
  58. Needing the category very infrequently is an example of a core issue
  59. An incorrect price house is not a core issue (it’s a result of one)
  60. Low-profit promotions are not a core issue
  61. Make sure your tactics align with your growth strategies
  62. This could imply that your entire promotional strategy needs to be changed
  63. Be fair about your own position in the category
  64. Don’t be afraid to withdraw an NPD if it really doesn’t fit the vision
  65. A consumer decision tree is quite different from a shopper decision tree
  66. Not every market research agency knows that
  67. Make sure you know which research method is needed to determine the tree
  68. A decision tree often has very little to do with deciding
  69. Involve your marketing and sales colleagues
  70. There is no optimal shelf layout for the category
  71. The optimal shelf layout depends on what you want to achieve
  72. Two competitors can therefore make a different shelf proposal
  73. What matters most to the retailer is what your vision will deliver to them
  74. You are not the consumer and you are not the shopper either
  75. Think in advance what you want to achieve when you create a category vision
  76. Practice your presentation before doing it at the retailer (several times)
  77. Take the development of the population into account (see Bureaus of Statistics)
  78. Respect your competitor’s position
  79. Take care of the retailer
  80. Let the retailer think along, but don’t ask for too much time
  81. Grab at least your fair share of broadcasting time
  82. Create a promotion plan for the entire category, including your competitors
  83. Be realistic in what time frame you can achieve things
  84. Test out highly innovative retail concepts first
  85. Visualize your ideas
  86. Take into account the retailer’s boundary conditions
  87. Make sure it’s easy to understand
  88. Put the core message and core supporter on your slide
  89. Provide all additional information “under water” in PPT or a separate FAQ document
  90. Take into account your role in the category (challenger or market leader)
  91. Tactics: assortment, shelf and promotions deliver 80% of the result.
  92. All tactics should be perfectly aligned
  93. Many NPDs ask for a different promotional strategy
  94. Make sure each growth strategy has one clear KPI
  95. Speak in simple language: people buy about once a month instead of 11,3 times a year.
  96. If you have good hypotheses in advance, you will get sharper insights
  97. Often visit stores (and don’t limit the visits to your own shelf)
  98. If necessary look way beyond your own category vision/segment
  99. Develop your category vision with me, it’s a lot of fun, and it will deliver growth!