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New ASP Focuses on 'the Message'

Salespeople have customer relationship management (CRM) and sales force automation (SFA)applications to help them through the day, but what automated tools are available to help the weary public relations or communications professional?

As of the today, they have Messagewave, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup company and Web-based service (of the same name) born of the single notion to improve the process of creating, managing and distributing corporate messages.

"Companies often assume that a spokesperson's lack of presentation skills is to blame for poor message resonance," said Steve Bennett, co-founder and managing member of Messagewave. "While presentation skills can certainly have a major impact on the outcome of an interview, an overlooked problem is that spokespeople typically don't have all the information they need to make a compelling case to the outside world."

Available today, Messagewave comes in two ASP-delivered versions — one for communications departments within an enterprise and one for public relations agencies with multiple clients. The goal of Messagewave to help companies develop a clear message, gather supporting evidence and distribute the information to the people who need it.

Featuring 14 content areas, Messagewave acts as a hybrid of sorts between a content management system and an e-learning platform. The software is designed to provide a framework for constructing messages and also serves as central repository for messages, customer/partner/competitor information, supporting market data and what Messagewave call interview "assists." Administrative features allow companies to control which content areas specific users may access and which users can create and approve new content.

"Unlike most content management/collaboration system vendors that offer a generic solution that must be tailored, Messagewave recognizes that delivering corporate communications content is a special case," said Guy Creese, research director at Aberdeen Group. "The company weaves a variety of elements together to make message distillation, dissemination and improvement a way of life for enterprises."

The monthly subscription fee is $99 for 10 concurrent users. Companies can also test the product via a 60-day free trial. Future versions of the software, Messagewave announced, will also be sold as a packaged product that a company can host locally on a corporate intranet.


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