Bill Haenel

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Posted by Bill Haenel on 03-May-05

Recently, I've been requested by a prospective client to create a new website, one with a "splash page". Specifically, the request was that I create the splash page using Macromedia's Flash.

This is not un unusual or uncommon request. Almost always, when starting a new site with a client, they suggest that they'd like to see such a thing. And almost always, I refer to my library of information alluding to the ineffectiveness of this strategy.

This time, I went looking for new proof. After not too much Googling, I found it. An article on MarketingSherpa summarizes the results of a survey in which visitors were asked to rate and comment on various sites' features and functions.

After reading the article, I clicked on to a subsequent piece on Macromedia's response to the survery results. According to MarketingSherpa, Jared Spool of Macromedia's User Inerface Engineering department, said this about the big Flash Splash:

"When we have clients who are thinking about Flash
splash pages, we tell them to go to their local supermarket and
bring a mime with them. Have the mime stand in front of the
supermarket, and, as each customer tries to enter, do a little
show that lasts two minutes, welcoming them to the supermarket
and trying to explain the bread is on aisle six and milk is on
sale today.

"Then stand back and count how many people watch the mime, how
many people get past the mime as quickly as possible, and how
many people punch the mime out.

"That should give you a good idea as to how well their splash
page will be received. That's the crux of it."

When I combined this nice analogy with the information in the survey results summary, I was tickled to have found such powerful ammunition against Flash splash pages.

OK. So now I have a question.If so many people hate them, why do so many people want them?

Think  about it. If everyone so unanimously agrres that Flash splash = bad, how come so many website owners, when envisioning their new website in its most perfect form, draw clear pictures in their mind of "the big Flash"? They really like the Flash thing!

My assessment is this: When you have a product or service, or a website, and you think to yourself, "How can I make this thing look cool?", you are thinking completely unlike a visitor, whose question is, "How can I find out whether I want to buy this thing or not, make my purchase, and have it shipped before Mother's Day?"

Marketing at its simplest is about synchronizing needs with resources. Match the customer's needs with your product or service. Better yet, Impress upon your customer that they do indeed need your product. Create the need.

If your customer needs a Flash movie, by all means, buy an Email list, write a message to everyone on that list about your great Flash movies, then send it to them and tell them where they can find your website. And on the first page, be sure to place your finest Flash movie.

However, if your customer needs some information or a bottle of hair tonic, please do yourself the favor and give them a one-click way to find the product and send you their money.

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