Mar 15, 2022

The Rise of No Code in MarTech

Dan Allen

Dan Allen

The Rise of No Code in MarTech

Love them or hate them, the marketing world is rife with buzzwords, with new ones emerging and being popularized each year. 2019, for example, brought us 'Experiential Marketing' and 'Gamification', 2020 focused on 'Omni-Channel', and 2021 saw the advent of 'Clicks-and-Mortar' and 'Humaning' (we can thank Mondelez International for this one). Beyond a brief mention here, let’s never talk about 'Phygital' again.

So, what do we have to look forward to in 2022? Marketers and those working in the industry will be hard pressed to avoid the rise of No Code, but what is it? Why does it exist? And most importantly, how is it going to help us as marketing technology professionals? 

Read next: Understanding MarTech in a Customer-Centric World

What is No Code?

No Code is not a term reserved solely for use in the Marketing Technology space. Rather, it refers to any platform, technology, or service which enables the business user to undertake activities which formally would have required specialist experts such as an IT team or engineers. Put simply, it's putting control into the hands of the business user, such as the marketer, without them needing to have the technical knowledge previously required to undertake the task.

Scott Brinker has coined the phrase 'Citizen Creators' as 'users without prior in-depth knowledge'. These are the optimum candidates for No Code platforms.

No Code

Source: Martech 2030 Trend #1: “No Code” Citizen Creators

At this point, it is worth emphasizing that No Code and its far older sibling Low Code have been around for a fair time now, particularly outside of the MarTech space. Those of you familiar with drag and drop email editors and visual workflow tools may already have been using No Code or Low Code platforms - perhaps without the need for a buzzword.

Where Has the Code Gone?

No Code is commonly only code-free from the users' perspective. There is still plenty of code in the background, but the interface has been built to allow a non-technical user to interact with it–often visually–and the code is generated automatically in the background.

Think of a drag and drop data visualization and segment creation tool. A user would drag on the data items they're interested in seeing, set some criteria (e.g. only contacts who have interacted within the last three months and have spent more than £500) and would then click 'Go'. In the background, the platform is generating code (usually SQL) to interrogate a specifically designed and exposed database and return the results. The code is still there, but the user didn't need to write it to achieve the result.

Similarly, a landing page, web form, or email creative is full of code, HTML, and JavaScript, which is all generated automatically when a user drags and arranges content in the visual editor.

This capability exists because the platform has been built to allow it. The ability for the tool to automatically generate the code based on user input has been engineered into the technology by the team developing the solution. The data used in the visualization and segmentation example has been manually engineered and exposed to the tool to enable the drag and drop functionality. Similarly, the content would have been built by a creative team and loaded into the tool for use by the marketer.

I've been using this kind of MarTech for ages, so why is No Code such a big thing in 2022?

The answer, predominantly, is artificial intelligence (AI). While the responsibility for the rise of No Code cannot be entirely attributed to AI, the evolution of artificial intelligence and machine learning over the last couple of years, as well as its more wide-reaching availability, has significantly enhanced the No Code capability. A big area of MarTech where this is clearly visible is content generation.

Historically, a creative expert would be required to design and build each image, banner, and button to be used in marketing creatives. It is now possible for a marketer to simply type in plain language to an AI content generation platform and tell it what they want. The platform will then generate not one but many variants of the requested content in the blink of an eye.

Similarly, audience selection and segmentation can now be achieved painlessly using plain language, either typed or spoken. Whilst the data must exist somewhere, it doesn't necessarily need to be structured or prepared for an AI platform to interrogate it and return a result to the marketer. Not only that, but AI has the capability of offering segmentation recommendations and suggestions based on the subject or product being marketed. The marketer simply tells the platform the purpose of the campaign and the technology will identify, recommend, and build the segment. 

Without a doubt, data platforms (integration, analysis, insight, and segmentation) are leading the way in the Low Code and No Code MarTech space, but we are also seeing a rise in marketing automation, app development, and content design. It’s expected that all of these areas are going to expand significantly through 2022 and into the future, with marketing automation being the front runner of the year.

What does this mean for marketers and the wider marketing teams?

Exciting times are ahead for marketers. The rise of No Code will continue to empower marketing users, enabling them to interrogate and segment data to better understand their customers and prospects and build and optimize customer automation journeys and visually inspiring content. It will also enable them to analyze marketing success and rapidly optimize campaigning, improving their KPI delivery overall. All of this will happen more quickly and more simply than before.

As an example, No Code platform ActiveCampaign has enabled Cancer Wellness Support to increase memberships by 30% and save 300 person hours per month. Similarly, Quorum saves 40 hours per week using No Code automation platform and are experiencing 1.5x leads generated since the implementation. 

With the right MarTech in place and the right people in control, marketing teams will experience a level of autonomy never seen before, with less dependence on highly specialized experts to support them every step of the way.

Does this mean the end for engineers, designers, and other experts?

Not at all. In fact, it means that engineers, data scientists, content creators, and other technology experts are likely to be given the opportunity to work on tasks and projects more akin to their concentrations. The rise of No Code will free up our experts’ time to deliver the more complex use cases which No Code platforms simply can’t yet achieve. It will lead to even more effective, clever use of marketing technology and result in improvements to customer experience. This, in turn, will lead to higher revenue generated through omni-channel marketing automation.

Is No Code the future for marketing teams?

Absolutely. Low Code and No Code platforms are on the rise across the sector, particularly in the areas of app and website creation, automation, analytics, segmentation, and content creation. As these platforms evolve, demand for such functionality will increase and those more traditional or resistant platforms will be playing catch up to retain market hold. 

There is no doubt that No Code platforms increase ease, pace, and, in a lot of cases, quality of marketing. Airstream, for example, has generated 78% more leads with a 44% decrease in costs by using Hub Spot’s No Code platform. 

However, No Code is not going to replace our expert developers and engineers in their entirety and this is unlikely to happen in the near future.

No Code is going to improve marketing in two key ways: 

  1. Putting ownership in the hands of marketers, resulting in quicker, easier marketing

  2. Freeing up experts to develop even better marketing content, analytical models, and strategy

How Can Credera Help?

Our Modern Marketing Transformation practice at Credera is comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience across all facets of marketing and technology. As a global boutique, Credera is delivering MarTech solutions and consultancy to clients across the globe.

If you are looking to find out how our team can support you further, please get in touch.

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