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How the Low-Code/No-Code Movement Is Reshaping Marketing

The low-code/no-code movement and the rise of the citizen developer empowers marketers and non-technologists to accelerate digital transformation.

Historically, there’s been a divide between developers and tech professionals vs. non-developers and “creatives.” In recent years, the phrase “learn to code” has even been weaponized in popular culture as a kind of take-down meme toward both journalists and coal miners whose professions have seen dwindling demand alongside the rise in computer programming and tech careers. However, a new kind of movement is now on the rise to empower non-technologists who want to gain more control over shaping digital experiences. This is the low-code/no-code movement and the rise of the citizen developer. 

“Citizen developer” was a term first introduced by Gartner to refer to “a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” In other words, a citizen developer uses tools provided by IT to create things without needing to write code.

By investing in business tools and systems that require no advanced coding knowledge or technical expertise, businesses can create content and applications more efficiently. Low-code platforms often come with pre-set templates and design components that make reusing and re-creating specific content types like landing pages, forms, and buttons much faster, so teams can publish more content across more properties more quickly without having to start from scratch every time they want to add a new component. Today’s modern enterprises have a pressing need for agility and are expected to create and launch more content to keep customers engaged. Low-code tools are opening up new opportunities for marketers to drive a business’s digital transformation strategy and own more of the experience that they want to bring to their customers.

Low-Code Democratizes Digital Transformation

Agile businesses are depending more on low-code and no-code tools to move swiftly on projects and better adapt to fast-changing market demands. For marketing teams that are managing multiple websites and responsible for creating heaps of content daily, low-code site building and content management tools offer a greater degree of independence and autonomy. Rather than filing an IT ticket for the queue, marketers can now drive the creation of a new landing page or an email sequence from start to finish. 

Low-code page builders still require some degree of an underlying code-based framework. However, the commands and actions they perform are all accomplished through things like visual tools, drag-and-drop functionality, and self-service workflows. For large enterprises, these low-code design platforms generally offer a master library of component-based templates and content formats that can be accessed by anyone and reapplied again and and again. 

Building experiences and site components is made easier through a selection of customizable design elements. The flexibility of composable content and composable applications means businesses are no longer as dependent on specialists or developer teams to execute digital transformation. Instead, companies can allow these teams to concentrate on managing the overall digital infrastructure. In our new landscape where timelines are condensed and budgets consolidated, launching successful digital experiences requires all hands on deck. Low-code tools enable businesses to leverage more of the team in the active process of creation and delivery with fewer bottlenecks.

The simple-to-understand interface of low-code, visual tools also benefit businesses by making learning new software or giving demos to new users much easier. The simplicity and minimal training needed to onboard marketers to these low-code website tools greatly shortens the time to market for new content while freeing up developer and IT teams to drive greater innovation in parallel. 

Low-Code Allows Marketers to build More Impactful Customer Experiences 

At its core, the citizen-developer movement and the rising popularity of low-code solutions is driven by a desire for greater efficiency and agility in marketing. The speed at which low-code applications can be built means users have more freedom to shape their final product and adapt the end result as business needs change. 

A shorter time to market is valuable not only in meeting the unrelenting demand for new experiences; it also allows marketers to immediately understand the impact of what they’re developing. When a user controls their own workflow, they can iterate and adjust the experience as customers’ needs evolve. Citizen developers are typically more directly involved with customer engagement than an IT specialist, so they have a better understanding of customer pain points and the solutions they need. 

When organizations empower citizen developers across multiple departments — from sales to customer success and content marketing — they gain a more holistic view of the customer experience than a developer team could offer alone. Getting stakeholders involved in the hands-on process of building customer experiences both empowers and engages teams in a way that illuminates efficiencies and alignment between organizations, ultimately producing better customer experiences.

Citizen developers can directly apply that much-needed customer perspective when shaping a digital strategy or designing an application. Previously, this level of customer insight could get lost or changed along the way when relayed to IT or an external agency through a project brief. With low-code tools, the creator and the author are one, ensuring satisfactory communications.

With WYSIWYG interfaces and drag-and-drop features, a marketer can also preview exactly what their audience will see. The low-code movement is helping organizations remove the friction between marketers and customers by having marketers involved in shaping every step in the customer experience. 

The low-code movement means that more of your team can be citizen developers using self-service tools, and your IT resources can refocus on ever more advanced projects. The result is better digital experiences created by a modern marketing team empowered to deliver their vision faster and more efficiently than ever before.

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For more on how Acquia is leading the charge for a more agile approach to business, get your copy of The 2021 Forrester Wave for Agile Content Management Systems (CMS) report.

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