Fatal Misdiagnosis

I want to tell you a story that proves how context can mislead people to make the wrong decisions. (true in life as it is in marketing your business)

This story is important because I hear from too many people who mistakenly conclude that their Facebook ads aren’t working. 

Here’s what happened…

The nurse was working in the neonatal intensive-care unit, where newborns with serious health problems are treated and monitored. She’d been watching one baby in particular for several hours, and she didn’t like what she was seeing. His color, a key indicator of potential problems, had been fluctuating – wavering between a healthy shade of pink and a duller, more troublesome hue. 

Suddenly, within a matter of seconds, the baby turned a deep blue-black. The nurse’s stomach fell. Others in the ICU yelled for an X-ray technician and a doctor. 

The gathering medical team immediately assumed that the baby’s lung had collapsed, a common problem for babies on ventilators. The team prepared for the typical response to a collapsed lung, which involves piercing the chest and inserting a tube to suck the air from around the collapsed lung, allowing it to reinflate. 

But the nurse thought it was a heart problem. As soon as she saw the baby’s color – that awful blue-black- she suspected a pneumopericardium, a condition in which air fills the sac surrounding the heart pressing inward and preventing the heart from beating. The nurse was terrified because the last time she witnessed a pneumopericardium the baby died before the problem could even be diagnosed. 

The nurse tried to stop the frantic preparations to treat the lung. “It’s the heart!” she said. 

But in response the other medical personnel pointed to the heart monitor, which showed that the baby’s heart was fine; his heart was bouncing along steadily, at the normal newborn rate of 130 beats per minute. 

The nurse, still insistent, pushed their hands away and screamed for quiet as she lowered a stethoscope to check for a heartbeat. 

There was no sound – the heart was not beating. 

She started doing compressions on the baby’s chest. The chief neonatologist burst into the room and the nurse slapped a syringe in his hand. “It’s a pneumopericardium,” she said. “Stick the heart.” 

The X-ray technician, who was finally receiving results from his scan, confirmed the nurse’s diagnosis. The neonatologist guided the syringe into the heart and slowly released the air that had been strangling the baby’s heart. The baby’s life was saved. His color slowly returned to normal. 

Later, the group realized why the heart monitor misled them. It is designed to measure electrical activity, not actual heartbeats. The baby’s heart nerves were firing-  telling the heart to beat at the appropriate rate – but the air in the sac around the heart prevented the heart from actually beating. Only when the nurse used the stethoscope- so she could hear whether the heart was pumping correctly- did it become clear that his heart had stopped. 

Not only is this a powerful story about the importance of sticking to your guns, but it also warns us about relying too much on machines, past experiences, or industry metrics. 

Lots of people make this same deadly mistake with their Facebook ads. They run a campaign for a few months, don’t see many sales from the campaign, and then determine that the campaign didn’t work. Or worse, that Facebook ads don’t work at all. 

But closer examination often reveals that many pieces of the campaign were, in fact, quite successful. 

This is precisely what happened recently with a new client. He didn’t see as many new clients as he was hoping for after the first month. But drilling down into the data, I was able to point to all of the signs that we were on the right track. 

In his case, the click-through-rate was more than twice as high as normal, the cost-per-click was nearly 60% less than industry average, and the social engagement was well above average. All signs that the campaign actually was working to reach and engage potential clients in a very cost-effective way. 

The issue, we uncovered, was not the Facebook ad campaign…but the landing page that people were directed to after they clicked on the ad. 

Just like the medical team in the story above, when you rely exclusively on specific data points, without looking comprehensively at the entire situation, you are liable to make a fatal mistake. 

Remember that as you run your next Facebook ad campaign. 

And if you want to accelerate your success…and avoid a lot of stress, headaches, and money down the drain…then give me a ring. I’d love to help. 

Receive a $150 ad credit with your first ad campaign with us! Good from today until July 31st, 2021