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What Does a Category Manager Do?

A Category Manager strategically oversees a product line to boost its profitability and popularity. They analyze market trends, devise sales strategies, and collaborate with marketing teams to enhance product visibility. But how do they use data to make these decisions? Let's delve deeper into their role.
L.K. Blackburn
L.K. Blackburn

A category manager is hired by a company to focus on the management of a particular category of products. Manging a product involves buying the resources needed to produce it, handling the company's current inventory levels of the product, and working with the sales and marketing team to promote the product and set prices. The job involves analyzing profit margins, compiling and presenting data to management and other departments, and promoting products to customers.

Many different people and roles are involved in the output of a particular product from its creation to it being in the hands of a consumer. Public relations, advertising, inventory specialists, marketing, and retail employees all play a part in a product's success. It is the job of the category manager to coordinate all of these roles, making them all work towards the success of the product and the company.

Woman posing
Woman posing

The category manager is responsible for contacting and managing both buyers and vendors of products. Inventory and securing production supplies are his or her responsibility. Prices are determined in part by his or her analysis of sales trends, competitors, and buying habitats. Data of sales is compiled and presented to management, along with recommendations for changes and improvement of the product.

Awareness of sales trends and future buying needs is a critical responsibility of category managers. For example, a certain product may have seasonal trends or experience increased interest resulting from media exposure. Promotion of a product, including store displays, packaging, and advertisement, are other areas overseen by a category manager. Managers work with the marketing department to split test packages and commercials to boost profits and increase the customer base. They also keep a keen eye on their competition, watching them for what works and what does not, making sure their own product stays on top of new trends and advancements.

Most category managers work a standard 40 hour work week, although they may frequently work additional hours to meet deadlines and handle their workload. Travel may happen often because the managers need to work with suppliers and customers in person. Customer service and people skills are used throughout a category manager's day to day responsibilities.

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Discussion Comments


How about --- is a category manager really necessary? Does it do more harm than good? Is it really possible given the 'distant' nature of this process to really deliver the value?


Telesyst, a category product manager generally has a degree in business, sales or marketing.

Since most employers require these managers to have a degree, those with advanced degrees, like an MBA, will have an advantage over candidates with just bachelors degrees or extensive marketing or retail work experience.


Is it necessary to have a college degree to get a job as a category manager?

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