Why Low Code is Important for MarketersApril 5, 2017 9:49 am ·
It’s Friday afternoon and you get a call from management — they’ve set up a meeting for you to present an overview on last quarter’s online marketing results… in an hour. You feel a wave of stress as you call your team to ensure all individual performance data is merged from the four different analytics systems into your master tracking spreadsheet. If only you could create a desktop application to merge all these resources together. Then, pulling reports would be a piece of cake. Gathering and analyzing data wouldn’t take you hours. And you could seamlessly toggle from one dashboard to another, never missing information again.
Many of today’s marketers face similar dilemmas when it comes to reporting and analyzing data. From web traffic and sales performance hosted in separate systems to conversion rates calculated across multiple data sets to social media engagement rates, the mind reels at the many ways marketers need to collect data to properly inform and shape their campaigns. Studies have shown that marketers spend, on average, 3.55 hours a week collecting, organizing, and analyzing data.
Creating a merged platform that houses everything a tech marketer needs in one place has traditionally been a pipe dream for lean marketing teams. The amount of coding and development it would take to personalize and combine cloud-based systems wouldn’t only cost time, but money, dragging developers away from production-oriented tasks that propel company progress. Marketers usually can’t take on this project themselves, unless they have extensive coding experience to craft the program they’re envisioning. Not to mention the time it would take to go back in and change the program if and when further customizations need to be made. With only a handful of individuals on staff able to customize these apps through coding, companies are either bogged down by heavy, ill-working processes or stalled by wait times until problems can be addressed.
Thankfully, technology companies saw this need for eliminating steps and consolidating processes and they did something about it. Enter low-code platforms — tools built to seamlessly integrate various cloud-based operating systems. These low-code applications minimize the need for coding knowledge in order to make adjustments to cloud-based apps and dashboards. This opens up customization capabilities for non-development teams to make constant iterations to their departmental processes. Design a new process for tracking leads in your cloud platform and don’t like the way the information visually feeds onto the screen? No problem. With a low-code tool, you can either drag and drop components to different locations or follow simple, visual guides to improve the layout. Once a process has been designed, teams can track efficiency and make changes along the way. Many low-code tools are even offered in the app stores of the corresponding enterprise software platform, allowing for easy install and even easier implementation.
Now, the dream of streamlining company processes and dashboards can become a reality. And most companies offering this solution have created an iterative product that allows for multiple variations and specific customizations.
To better understand the value of a low-code–or no-code–tool within a busy marketing department, we spoke with John Carione, product and corporate marketing leader at QuickBase, to see how their no-code application has impacted marketers.
Experts Exchange: What are the benefits of low-code application development in improving department processes?
JC: In short: productivity and cost savings. Low-code (or in our case no-code) application development makes it possible to link previously siloed tasks into truly cohesive processes. Without having to request assistance from time-strapped IT departments, or hiring additional programming talent (who can easily cost close to $100,000/year), data-savvy business users can create the custom apps they need to work more efficiently.
Experts Exchange: How can marketing teams see a benefit of creating their own low-code programs?
JC: It depends on what the team is trying to achieve. With the right platform, the possibilities are endless. Some marketing teams might be working toward more efficient management of their teams; others might be trying to get a handle on how their campaigns are performing and how they can improve. Still, others might just be trying to cut down on spreadsheets. The beauty of low-code platforms is that they let you design your apps for the goals and processes that serve your unique situation best, allowing marketers to bypass mass, inflexible solutions on the market.
Experts Exchange: How have you seen marketing teams use QuickBase’s low-code platform?
JC: We have seen an overall uptick in the use of our low-code platform to create customer-facing apps and dashboards: a survey we conducted last year found that over one-third (35%) of QuickBase app builders reported creating customer-facing apps, up from 27% in 2015. This is essential as most of the work tracked and managed on low- and- no code platforms has historically been internal-facing.
Experts Exchange: What are some successes you’ve seen marketing clients achieve as a result of low-code development?
JC: One marketing client of ours, a Michigan-based specialty fulfillment company called Helm, has achieved some pretty dramatic results with our platform. Helm’s merchandising team managed to condense 3,000 active spreadsheets into around 30 low-code apps. 95% of the company uses QuickBase on a daily basis, and the company’s VP of Operations estimates that we’ve saved them around $250,000 by getting rid of process redundancy.
Experts Exchange: With statistics and data becoming an increasingly important part of a marketer’s job, can low-code/no-code applications help streamline this information for easy access?
JC: Yes, one hundred percent. Low-code and no-code apps can be used as the “hub” of a data-fueled “hub-and-spoke” model for a marketing department’s various platforms: CRM, customer analytics, order fulfillment, and so on. By unifying these data sources in a single app, or an ecosystem of apps, it’s possible for marketing departments to achieve a more holistic view of their data — and easily share insights with the C-suite.