Even before the coronavirus hit, low-code technology was already bubbling up to the mainstream. 

In August 2019, Apple rebranded its subsidiary Filemaker in an effort to make “powerful technology accessible to everyone.” In November, Microsoft announced major changes to its Power Automate platform to make “anyone a developer.” And just recently, Google entered the low-code market by acquiring AppSheet in its own bid to allow business people to develop apps without coding skills.

Of course, this now white-hot area of tech has been around for a while, and established low-code players like client Quick Base have been championing citizen development – or the idea that traditional software programming should be democratized to problem solvers at the edges of the business – for over a decade. 

But the need for agility in today’s business climate has poured gasoline onto the argument for low-code’s adoption. And there is a strong case to be made that low-code platforms offer the fastest, most cost-effective path to digital transformation in the new decade by empowering employees outside traditional IT roles, including those in software marketing positions.  

Thanks to its Power and Agility, Low Code is Poised to Grow – A Lot

The problem with traditional software development is that there are just not enough qualified coders to go around. According to some estimates, there is a shortage of over 1 million software developers in the United States alone. This means IT teams are often stretched beyond capacity, jump from project to project, face shifting priorities, and they are never as efficient as they would like. 

The tantalizing promise of low-code is that not every task requires a full-stack software engineer, and by crowdsourcing development using pre-written software, businesses can move quickly to manage disruption and seize business opportunities. 

What may have taken months for an IT team to design, build and implement can instead be built in days or hours by a skilled citizen developer. This flexibility and speed at scale is surely contributing to technology’s growth. No wonder Gartner predicts that low-code platforms will account for more than 65% of application development activity by 2024. 

How Software Marketers Can Use Low-Code Applications

Ever used an online spreadsheet like Google Sheets for project management or content development? How about for KPI reporting? 

Developing a custom application from scratch may seem daunting for a marketer at first, but most low-code platforms use shared database technology and simple drag-and-drop interfaces that users can intuitively understand. This makes them perfect for collaboration by marketing teams, who may be spread out or working from home. And as users become more familiar with the technology, low-code platforms have the power to match developers of all skill levels – ranging from someone who needs to create a simple spreadsheet to a power user that builds apps to improve their entire marketing stack. 

For example, using pre-built integrations with tools like HubSpot, Marketo, MailChimp and Google Analytics, a sophisticated marketer could design an app with customized dashboards for a unified view of current campaigns, or they could create much-needed, cross-platform features that these tools may be lacking natively. 

Need additional inspiration for how your organization can implement low-code technology? Here are a few novel use cases for marketers that want to experiment with building practical low-code applications:

  1. A UTM code generator that auto-populates links for PR, social or email campaigns
  2. An asset management system that automatically tracks when documents have been last updated and by whom
  3. A Slack app that sends out notifications when meeting rooms or calendar appointments become filled
  4. A capacity tracker that shows which team members have the bandwidth to tackle new projects based on outstanding assignments and time-to-completion expectations

When it comes to low-code applications, the potential possibilities are really only limited to what users can imagine. That’s why low-code is poised to grow so much both now and in the future decade. 

Need some help marketing your company during the coronavirus pandemic? Check out my colleague Renee’s post “Tech Marketing During Our New (COVID) Normal” or visit our tech PR blog for the latest updates.

Blair Ruth leads the ARPR cloud practice. She loves nothing more than building strategic communications plans to help clients tell their unique story to audiences who matter.

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