Engage Touts Reorganized Product Line

Now operating under the rubric of “marketing software provider” following its high-profile exit from the media business, online marketer Engage is looking to right itself through a new flagship offering.

The new product suite — officially dubbed the “Content Management Solution for Multichannel Marketing” — is the core of the firm’s new focus on delivering tools for online and offline marketers.

To observers, the offering might appear haphazard. Two-thirds of the new Content Management Solution consists of workflow automation products that the Andover, Mass.-based Engage began selling only after last summer when it acquired MediaBridge, formerly known as Cascade.

One component, ContentServer, focuses on digital asset management, while ApprovalServer is principally geared toward proofs, revisions and approvals of online and offline marketing materials.

The third part in the offering consists of PromoManager, the only product aimed purely at Internet marketers, which was unveiled only in July. The software helps marketers deliver targeted promotions on their Web sites.

Clearly, the new Engage is taking some chances by trusting much of its future success to products that it didn’t even have a year ago, in a sector — marketing and content automation — that’s relatively uncharted territory for the company, which began as a Web profiler, and later, moved into the ad network and serving business.

In addition, digital asset management is rife with competition, as is advertising and workflow software.

But by offering an all-in-one marketing management solution, Engage is hoping to make a go of it, despite its new market’s remoteness from its earlier incarnations. The company’s chief clients now include firms like The Wall Street Journal, The Sharper Image and Circuit City, which use the company’s software to manage aspects of their ad and merchandising asset management.

And Engage spokesman Mark Horan said the new product’s ease of setup would bolster its efforts in capturing small and mid-sized businesses. Unlike Engage and Cascade/MediaBridge’s previous efforts to land large clients — who could afford to pay for long-term, customized solutions — the new Content Management Solution is designed to be run almost straight from the box, with little customization. (Engage does market special add-ons for retail and newspaper clients, incorporating either a link to retail tracking systems, or to its AdManager Web ad server.)

“We’re giving them a package that’s tightly integrated, with certain basic things in place, enabling them to get a platform up and running in about a week, so it’s not going to cost much,” he said. “The particular market opportunity here is for mid-sized companies that need to do better job of managing all advertising and promotions, and if they’re beginning to do stuff over the Web, to integrate that stuff with this.”

The products that make up the Content Management Solution can still be sold in parts, but Engage is hoping that clients will buy into the full offering, which it will begin pushing in advance of the fall and winter trade show season. The company also has several upgrades in the works for the system’s components, slated for the next several quarters.

Yet while risky, Engage’s efforts to branch out ultimately could bode well for the firm. Like many of its peers in the online marketing space, the company has been hard hit by the slowing economy and downturns in online advertising spending — so lessened exposure to the turbulent market might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Nevertheless, following several quarters of plummeting revenues and ballooning expenses, Engage also needs to convince its public that the new offering is more than just a clumsy effort at repackaging its remaining product lineup for a wholly new, ostensibly healthier, function.

“It’s more than fluff,” Horan said of the Content Management Solution. “Although there is some repositioning in a sense, it’s really more than that. We’re taking a lot of experience in this field, and putting it into a packaged system.”

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