Your article “Turned on by Category Management” (MW April 7) begs the question whether category management will lead to the death of the classic brand management career path as we know it. As someone who has crossed over from the client to the agency side, I feel that there are many parallels between the organisational changes that are happening to both marketing and advertising.
The development of holistic marketers who look at the whole consumer and trade picture can only be positive, just as an integrated or through-the-line philosophy for advertising agencies makes synergistic sense. Neither category management nor through-the-line approaches are purist in the true sense of the word, but then there are few virgins about these days.
The contribution that strategic planning has to play in this non-purist world as brand custodians and the voice of the consumer, will become more vital in protecting and nurturing the fragile equities of their brand charges over time.
Is category management here to stay? Well, trends tend to be cyclical, so no doubt there will be some messy divorces between manufacturer and retailers in the years to come. But for my money, the replacement of the four P’s by the three C’s (consumer, category and customer) is a safe bet.
Senior account planner
J Walter Thompson Manchester