Category Development Manager: Job Description & Salary

This article looks at the career of category development manager, including job duties, educational requirements, and skills required for the job. Read on to learn these details, in addition to the annual median salary, job growth outlook, and related occupations.

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What Is a Category Development Manager?

Category development managers, also known as retail category managers and marketing managers, work closely with organizations to identify customer trends and influence customer buying behaviors to maximize profit for the organization's product line. Category development managers work with an organization's account managers to identify and grow various brands through selling, training, promoting, installing, and maintaining business innovation initiatives. The category development manager also identifies customer demand and implements strategies and solutions to drive consumer purchases for an organization.

A category development manager is responsible for maximizing profit in a given category of products and/or services and aims to exceed an organization's annual profit goal. Training initiatives, sales, and research are important components of the job. Category development managers research to identify the highest potential customer demographic to increase sales. They create and maintain training programs to maximize product sales and growth. Research involves in-depth studies of customer buying habits and brand loyalty by analyzing data from industry studies, media research, and custom studies of shopper research.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Strong communication and interpersonal skills, proficiency in MS Office, Excel, and other custom database and research methods, strong analytical skills, ability to work independently.
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $77,646
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 10% (for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers)

Sources: *Glassdoor; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A bachelor's degree is usually required for category development managers. Some employers also desire a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing or a related discipline. Additionally, two to seven years of related, relevant job experience is often preferred.

Required Skills

Category development managers require strong analytical skills because they must be able to analyze and interpret industry and consumer data from a number of sources including Nielsen Answers on Demand (AOD), IRI Unify Platform, industry studies, and consumer buying trends. They must be able to create strategies and presentations based on consumer and industry data and trend analysis to identify and target customer groups with the highest potential of profit return for the organization. The ability to prioritize tasks is also a must, as these managers work with multiple product lines simultaneously. Additionally, a category development manager must possess strong computer skills in MS Word, Excel, and other software designed for data interpretation as well as the ability to organize and present the data in a form that is both engaging and understandable.

Career Outlook and Salary

In 2018, Glassdoor reported that the annual average salary for category development managers was $77,646. Job growth for the closely related careers of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers from 2016 to 2026 is expected to be 10%. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this growth rate is slightly faster than the average of all other occupations.

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