How marketing metrics are like calories

What do nutrition and marketing metrics have in common? Read on to find out how you can improve your brand health in the long-term.

Have you ever found yourself standing in a supermarket aisle, comparing two similar products, and decided to go for the one with lower calories? After all, that’s what’s important when you read the label. If the other product has more calories, it’s unhealthier than the item with the lower calories.


What we should be focusing on are not the calories, but the ingredients and macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs) of these products. Let’s break this down and compare two different types of cereal:

Given that Cereal A has fewer calories, the average person whose aim is to be healthier will probably chose this option. But look closer. Though Cereal B is higher in calories, it has almost half the amount of sugars! Of course, there are other nutritional values that we should look at (protein, salt etc.), but this just goes to show that calories alone shouldn’t be the only measure of nutrition.The approach we take to calories has a lot in common to how we approach marketing metrics. We imagine that the option which requires the lowest investment and lets you see quick results is the best option.

If these cereals were marketing metrics…

Numbers are great in the short-term and will tell you how many people have interacted with your asset. Clearly, ease of measurement is dictating the way marketer’s judge success. But what those numbers won’t tell you, is whether those people are aware of your brand, engaged, and whether these people are the right people in the first place. The exact same process can be applied to calories. They are easy to read and measure – but not necessarily the key measurement to consider when it comes to making long-term healthier choices.

Knowing your aim – and accepting that brand health is now a big part of the buyer’s journey – will help ensure your teams know how to drive sales. It’s easy to measure digital metrics, however, long-term metrics linked to business objectives are key for future business profitability.