16 August 2020

COVID-19, Remote Work, And B2B SaaS Strategic Messaging Changes

I compare the homepages of a dozen B2B SaaS companies between January and today to see how COVID-19 affected their strategic messaging.

The lockdowns due to COVID-19 forced many companies to start doing remote work. Google Trends is one way to visualize the phenomenon.

Telecommuting on Google Trends
Telecommuting on Google Trends

There was a peak in March but the baseline now is a lot higher than before the pandemic.

As I was starting a study on the positioning of project management solutions, something quickly caught my eye: a few of these solutions changed their strategic messaging recently to focus on remote work.

Let's review some of them. To this effect, I compared the landing pages of a dozen companies between January and today.

Remote Work In The Headline

Not all companies decided to go all-in on remote work. Fortunately for the companies who did it, they now have a much more unique messaging.

Basecamp

We can't start this review without Basecamp. They have written a whole book on remote working and have been advocates for a very long time.

But the Basecamp homepage didn't have any mention of remote work in January. In fact, most companies in my review didn't.

Basecamp homepage in January 2020
Basecamp homepage in January 2020

The homepage now has 16 mentions of remote work and their headline reflects the importance they have given to it.

Basecamp homepage in August 2020
Basecamp homepage in August 2020

From everything I reviewed, it was the homepage with the most changes and biggest focus on remote work. Not surprising though!

Asana

Asana, another one of the leaders in the space, also decided to focus a lot more on remote work.

Asana homepage in January 2020
Asana homepage in January 2020

The changes are more subtle than Basecamp though. It's still in the headline but apart from that, there's just one section dedicated to remote work on the homepage.

Asana homepage in August 2020
Asana homepage in August 2020

Clubhouse, Harvestr, and Taskade

As for Clubhouse, Harvestr, and Taskade, they also changed their headlines and also decided to go for a landing page specific to remote work instead of talking more about it on their homepage.

Clubhouse homepage in August 2020
Clubhouse homepage in August 2020
Harvestr homepage in August 2020
Harvestr homepage in August 2020
Taskade homepage in August 2020
Taskade homepage in August 2020

Slack

I extended the scope of the solutions I reviewed because I was curious about Slack. They have been vocal about remote work and it's one of the only companies I reviewed to mention remote work on their homepage before the pandemic.

Although the mentions only appeared in testimonials, and not even in the one that is visible without waiting a few seconds for the slider to activate.

Slack homepage in January 2020
Slack homepage in January 2020

But now, they have changed their homepage to mention remote work in their headline. They also added a guide and a purple banner for a webinar (it's in French because they seem to have some trouble with the language detection...).

Slack homepage in August 2020
Slack homepage in August 2020

Threads, a competitor to Slack, also decided to change their headline but it seems to be the only change mentioning remote work.

Threads homepage in August 2020
Threads homepage in August 2020

Finally, I tried to look at the homepage of Twist, another competitor, but I couldn't find anything from January 2020 on archive.org.

However, Doist, the parent company of Twist, has been promoting remote work heavily for a while and the current homepage of Twist has plenty of references to remote work. But they didn't think it was important enough to put it in the headline.

Just A Dedicated Landing Page

As you can see, the number of companies that decided to change their headline is small. But a lot of these solutions have millions of users and such a change can be risky.

A few other businesses decided to keep their homepage (almost) as it is and do specific landing pages instead: Teamwork, Flow, Monday, and Slite.

Redbooth is the only company I reviewed that already had a landing page about remote work before the lockdowns.

How About The Future?

I love remote work and I have been doing it whenever I could for the last 15 years.

Despite the tragic situation we are currently in, the slow rise of remote work enabled our society to have some tools to deal with the lockdowns.

More and more companies, like Facebook, have decided to extend their remote work policy indefinitely. Therefore, it is logical to see more work management solutions putting remote work front and center in their strategic messaging.

But it's still just a handful of companies. I quickly went through a lot more companies and most haven't changed a thing.

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