So I was given the freedom to demo and review a powerful Flash development tool called Flimp. If you visit Flimp’s website they describe their product as video marketing, but after playing with the software for a few weekends and talking to others this is only a part of what their service is capable of. In their application, you can do a lot with video. For example, you can include a video on a Flash landing page, in an email or simply embed it on a page. Still, with the power and visual excitement of Flash, video is only a part of the feature set. Flimp appears to be built completely in Flash and is an environment to let any individual build applications in Flash. Their application is hosted in the cloud for optimal serving of files and is a software as a service (SaaS), so there is no software installation needed.
So let me start this review by sharing a little Flash piece that I developed and was able to easily embed in this blog post. You might know my dog Skip? Well here’s a chance to get to know him a little better.
Impressions of the Software
It was fairly intuitive and straightforward to put together a template. Dropping pictures, text, and video onto the template was as simple as drag and drop, and then you are given lots of control into the nit picky details of your work. There were times that it felt like the interface required extra clicks to accomplish things that could be handled in fewer. An example of this is when you go back to edit an existing “flimp” you have to do an extra click to edit instead of being able to click on the preview and get right into the application. Of course being able to constantly develop and update the service is one of the great things about software as a service application!
As I went through the tool to build this demo application I was quite frankly impressed with the feature set. There wasn’t anything that I wanted to build and design that I didn’t easily have the ability to. One negative was that for videos you have to upload a file in the .flv format. Of course with the abundance of converters this isn’t a make or break, but with the rich feature set it was something that stood out as a disappointment.
A Customer Testimonial
Flimp does have quite a few education clients, and after reading through some of their higher education case studies I reached out to a friend who works at Suffolk University, Jessica Krywosa, for a testimonial. Many of you will recognize Jessica from her Integrated Marketing and Communication blog. I knew all I was spending was a few hours on the weekend to get in here and toy around with the software without an actual campaign to test the service, so I wanted a more in-depth assessment. Here is what Jessica had to say about the Flimp service.
What makes Flimp so great is more than the product - its the people. They have been very responsive and collaborative in our work with video email campaigns. If you’re having an issue you can call, email or tweet them and receive a rapid, accurate and friendly response. As they continue to grow, they are very open to product enhancements that we bring up - be it in interface or analytics.
What I’ve worked most with is the analytics. Seeing click throughs by individual emails has been invaluable when determining campaigns - the placement of information, our web traffic and content, even time of day for segmented audiences. All in all, its been a great learning experience as we move forward in creating interactive and dynamic content for all areas of the university.
Flimp wasn’t aware that I reached out to a customer, so feedback like this really says a lot about a company. I know at HubSpot there is a superior level of service and transparency that we strive hard to establish. When a friend asks a friend for their honest assessment and they tell about the passion of the people at the company, it says a lot about that company.
Although I was impressed with the feature set, I didn’t really get to dig into the email marketing and analytics to truly assess those functions. Being someone who has a lot of experience in both email marketing and web analytics I’m a little upset I can’t truly give my expert’s take on those features.
I do still have to warn that just because Flimp takes the programming out of flash doesn’t mean that someone without design skills is going to be able to create masterpieces! I think the people who will really find value in this tool are traditional marketers who are experts in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop or Microsoft Publisher and just can’t wrap their head around Flash. With a little education I strongly believe those individuals will feel right at home in this application and be able to create vibrant web applications as they have created for print. I think that is the true highlight of the software because I know there are a lot of individuals who fit into that mold in colleges and universities around the nation.