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Jan 14 2015

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Aecore repeats BuildBoxCM marketing fails

Californian cloud construction collaboration software start-up Aecore’s website does the business few favours. It needs improving – and quickly!

As an industry analyst and marketing specialist, I sometimes look critically at how software companies market themselves online. Having worked in the Software-as-a-Service sector serving construction since the late 1990s, and having almost single-handedly delivered the marketing functions for a startup that became one of the UK’s leading providers, I think I know a bit about what works for potential customers and other influencers.

aecore logoSo full marks to California, US-based Aecore for starting to use social media to engage with bloggers – I learned about the company when the founder (name vaguely familiar) started to follow me on Twitter (I don’t autofollow everyone – I will often click on the user’s profile, follow links, perhaps look at recent tweets, before deciding whether to follow back).

AECore websiteHowever, the current Aecore website, while nice to look at, isn’t really marketing the company and its SaaS product particularly well (and I started to recall my critique of a similar startup’s website in October 2011). I can see Aecore:

  • is “cloud-based construction management software for contractors”,
  • allows contractors to share the latest RFI’s, submittals, plans “and more”
  • uses “the cloud” to share folders and documents
  • is an “integrated task management solution” helping prioritise workflow and assign tasks
  • costs from $19/user/month (“Townhouse) up to $99/user/month (“Skyscraper”)

But that’s about as much as you currently learn from the site. While there are small illustrations of parts of the user interface, it is difficult to get a view of the full application or the detail of particular features. There is no information about the company, who founded it and when, their experience, their technological competence. There is no company address, telephone number or email address (though you can follow Aecore on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin). No details are given about hosting (where? service levels?). There are no testimonials or case studies from AECore customers.

OK, it may be early days, maybe this is work in progress and there is a big launch to come (if so, why not say so?). But if I was a Californian contractor looking for a cloud-based solution, there is little to reassure me that this would be right choice. The ‘terms of use‘, for example, insist the customer “shall provide accurate, current and complete information on your legal business name, postal address, email address, and phone number”, yet Aecore doesn’t do the same, and term 8 starts “The core features of Aecore are free to use …” clearly wrong, so the text of the terms of use may have been based on a previous product….

… And it all ckicked into place. Looking at Aecore’s social media output, the founder’s name rang a bell: project engineer Anthony Cirinelli was the founder of BuildBoxCM, the San Jose, CA-based startup I wrote about in 2011. He responded to my blog post then saying lessons would be learned. One or two have been addressed – there are some (partial) screengrabs, and it’s clear who the solution is targeted at: contractors – but otherwise the online presentation of Aecore has some significant information gaps. It needs to be improved, and quickly!

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2015/01/aecore-repeats-buildboxcm-marketing-fails/

1 comment

  1. Pritesh Patel

    Good post Paul, certainly got me looking at it.

    Couple of things I’d like to add:

    1) Nice to see a demo video of the software and the benefits – sometimes, people can’t see what they’re buying and video helps. Maybe they can do a test? Test to see if videos increases sign ups?

    2) It’s a one page website – therefore going to have to work VERY hard from an SEO point of view. Essentially, you’ve got one page to try and target hundreds of potential search terms/phrases. “Construction management software” is already crowded in Google.

    3) I’ve just signed up and had a play. How does it differentiate itself to something like Basecamp or Asana or any other cloud platform? Take away the logo on the platform and it does the same as any other? What makes this different? You can’t just white label another platform and throw the company logo on it can you? And then add the word ‘construction’ on the homepage?

    Food for thought.

    Pritesh

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