As marketers dream up new and often visually-intensive digital experiences, they do so with an understanding that, to some extent, they’ll need the support of developers to make their vision a reality. The relationship between these two groups is an interesting dynamic, one that many in business strive to better understand. After all, success is at risk if there’s no alignment or a shared sense of purpose. A 2019 report found, “both marketers (79%) and developers (83%) agree that they need to partner effectively with the other in order to succeed in their role,” which is essential for the mutual respect and effective collaboration needed in business today.
With the interdependence of marketing and dev top of mind, what should one make of the emerging trend of low-code and no-code (LCNC) technology? LCNC tools reduce or eliminate the need for written code, instead relying on visual development mechanics such as drag-and-drop functionality or pre-built connections. Just like AI won’t eliminate the need for humans and human expertise, a company that embraces LCNC tools won’t be reducing its developer talent. Not by a longshot. The technology offers benefits to both sides of the equation, marketing and development, adding up to one meaningful customer experience in the end.
Low-Code/No-Code Tech on the Rise
LCNC platforms “offer the promise of solving business problems and expediting digital transformation initiatives,” according to ZDNet. With no prerequisite for programming language literacy, LCNC tools can speed up time to market and ongoing innovation for a company that introduces them into their workflow. TechRepublic Premium conducted a survey to determine if organizations are embracing this newer category of technology, and how prevalent the tools are in businesses today. It found nearly half (47%) of respondents currently utilize LCNC software. Furthermore, 20% say they plan to begin using LCNC within the next year.
Supporting the idea that LCNC is a trend to watch, Forrester estimates the low-code market will grow by 40% annually, and by 2022 will amount to $21.2 billion in total spending. Gartner also suggests that by 2024, 65% of application development will be low-code.
There are many benefits to using LCNC, including streamlined workflows, faster development time and reduced burden on developers. Let’s dig in a bit further to understand how these tools can improve the process of building online user experiences.
Low-Code/No-Code Fosters the Collaboration that Matters Most
Consumers today crave enjoyable, engaging, visual and sometimes emotional experiences. Marketers can dream up all the beautiful, persuasive and entertaining spaces they want to bring to life online, but they usually can’t execute without their traditionally code-savvy colleagues to make those dreams a reality. The beauty of LCNC tools is they enable sometimes siloed or disparate groups, like marketing and IT, to work more closely together, fostering improved collaboration.
LCNC doesn’t mean developer talent goes by the wayside. Instead, utilizing these tools reduces the burden on developers so that they can, in turn, be more innovative instead of being hands-on supporting super-basic builds. Marketers can strategize and be creative, and their dependencies are diminished on developer resources. Developers are then freed up to focus on the code that really counts, being innovative in other ways.
Platforms that require little to no code allow companies to pair domain knowledge with new tooling to move the business forward. For marketing, the true value is in the rapid iteration and feedback loops from partners in development and IT. This allows them to take advantage of the 80/20 rule, which suggests 80% of the impact is made with 20% of the effort. LCNC could be applied in any number of use cases, but one area is the ability to quickly create email campaigns that map to very specific users, personas, geographies and even product usage. From there, marketers can work with IT and operational teams to involve the integration across the different systems that house this data.
Related Article: How Digital Transformation Is Driving Low-Code/No-Code Growth
LCNC Supports Agile Workflows in Creating New Experiences
There’s an age-old question in business technology: “To buy or to build?” Building something from scratch has obvious time requirements and demands on internal resources. An off-the-shelf solution may come ready to use, but it may not always check every box for desired feature or use case, and it could be clunky to customize. LCNC is a welcome third option for businesses that need to create something quickly. Because LCNC tools offer tailor-made customizations with the simplicity that often comes with an out-of-the-box, vendor-made solution, companies can be agile and create precisely what they need.
Using a tool that requires little to no code significantly increases the speed at which marketing can create, test and deploy a new app or digital experience. The technology allows companies to iterate quickly on new apps, business processes, marketing campaigns or websites, especially through proof-of-concepts.
LCNC tools afford teams the speed and flexibility needed in business workflows today. For example, a use case that highlights this agility is the build of a customized chatbot that allows marketers to understand friction points on their website, providing also the expediency with which to make immediate changes. Another marketing use case for LCNC platforms is the creation of landing pages to launch campaigns even faster. Developers and marketers can design, deploy and automate custom experiences in minutes, not days.
LCNC tools also help to make “hybrid” happen. The future of work implies that teams are not necessarily always going to have IT to enable flexible delivery models. Hybrid work environments won’t thrive with silos. Therefore, LCNC platforms are a way to enable companies to adapt more easily to the new normal of hybrid work models. LCNC tools allow for ideation and build planning for remote workers, fueling distributed real-time interaction and engagement, which is helpful in the absence of in-person meetings.
Automating Media-Related Tasks With LCNC
Whether it’s automatic image moderation for user-generated content (UGC), video resizing for social media channels, or the creation of animated GIF previews from a larger video asset, creating new workflows for digital media can be a time-consuming endeavor. That is, however, in a code-heavy and developer-reliant organization.
When businesses can automate such tasks, they’ll reallocate that time on other actions related to business growth. And in a media-obsessed world, marketers should be excited about the ROI of LCNC.
Sanjay Sarathy is VP developer experience at Cloudinary, a provider of end-to-end digital media management solutions. With more than twenty years experience in leading global marketing programs, his work spans tech startups and established market leaders in SaaS, Big Data, analytics and e-commerce.