Making movies is tough. Just ask Heather Mayer, who spent 20 hours a week researching movie release dates on IMDB to ensure her marketing team was up to date. Heather’s company, Panavision, a legacy Hollywood provider, supports movies and screenplays around the world.
“You can imagine through 2020 and 2021, movie release dates were changing all the time and it was impossible for a human who is just looking things up on IMDB to keep track,” Heather told Airtable in a recent webinar.
Heather is not alone. The average marketing leader spends 13 hours per week on manual, operational tasks, and the ability to build truly custom solutions for very specific needs not only saves time, but can also lead to greater satisfaction and happiness at work.
“By using low- and no-code technologies, employees can experience the satisfaction of developing a solution from idea to implementation,” Eamon Fenwick, principal of innovation and market at SAP wrote for Forbes. “Rather than waiting for IT resources to become available, citizen developers can solve business processes and customer problems as they arise ... creating a sense of accomplishment and boosting productivity.”
To solve that problem, Heather built an automation on Airtable that updates timelines across all Panavision workflows, calendars, and databases whenever a movie release date changes. How did Heather do it? By leveraging the power and flexibility of no code.
No code tools are changing the scope of marketing roles
Adoption of no-code tools is accelerating, with no code dubbed the first of five major trends reshaping marketing this decade in a research report by Chiefmartec.com and international advertising firm WPP. Gartner also predicts that half of all new no- and low-code buyers will come from outside the IT organization by 2025.
This timing is no coincidence—the roles and expectations of marketing teams have changed drastically in the last decade (exacerbated further by the pandemic). Leaders are now looking to marketing teams, not only as branding and communications engines, but as true organizational growth drivers. To keep up, employees have to operate in a state of rapid and constant adaptation.
“Marketers are constantly under pressure and asking themselves ‘how do we adapt and work with the things that are changing around us?” Scott Brinker, editor of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog, and VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot, told Airtable recently.
“What gets really exciting is being able to leverage no-code tools to orchestrate this agility. Because when something changes, you have to adjust your workflow or your deliverables yourself—you can’t afford to wait six months, 12 months, or 18 months for someone else to do it for you.”
Using no-code tools, innovative workers can build workflows, create assets, and analyze data without relying too heavily on technical or development support. The same way that Canva enables anyone to create beautiful designs, Airtable enables anyone to connect and automate work.
“No-code tools lead to greater empowerment at the edge of organization,” Scott says. “In companies who do that well, it becomes a real competitive advantage because it’s about the speed at which they’re able to identify opportunities and act. You have to be able to distribute that leadership.”
Implementing no code at large organizations
The benefits of no code are one thing, but actually fostering a culture of grassroots innovation at large organizations can be challenging. So how do you lower the barrier to entry for your team?
Frame it as ‘self service’ to start
“Probably the way to make people feel most comfortable with no code is framing it as self service. That, instead of waiting for an expert to complete a task, every employee can do it themselves,” Scott says.
“This increases individuals’ feelings of empowerment, and it also benefits managers who often get dragged into unblocking dependencies. No code is a really sound way of eliminating as many blocks as possible. Once you back into that, then you can start to thinking about no code more proactively: ‘What can we create net new like this?’”
Start with internal operations
“Right now, many no-code tools are primarily focused on internal operations, and I think that's a good thing,” Scott says. “Internally, if you experiment with a workflow and the workflow doesn't work, it’s less of a barrier to changing the workflow and adapting. Starting with internal operations is a great way for people—individuals and organizations—to get more comfortable leveraging this distributed capability.”
Find balance within the tools themselves
“To me, one of the perennial questions in marketing is this balance between centralization and decentralization,” Scott says. “Sure, we want all this distributed innovation happening across the company, but we still want enough cohesion that innovation doesn't fly off into different directions.”
“This is one of the areas where no-code platforms are evolving to offer the best of both worlds. The platforms themselves empower individual employees, but they also provide some visibility for centralized ops teams or IT teams to see what people are doing and create guardrails where needed. It’s about finding the right balance between the order and the productive chaos.”
Reimagining how you work
Encouraging employees to self-serve, starting with internal operations, and choosing the right tools for governance and flexibility can help teams experiment with no code and reap benefits that extend far beyond a single workflow or solution.
As expectations of marketing teams continue to change, teams will find themselves more frequently in Heather’s position—shoehorning themselves into a manual, dissatisfying process simply to keep up with ever-changing needs and information. With no-code tools, it’s possible to take a more proactive approach, reimagining how your team spends its time, not only to increase productivity, but also to elevate the entire employee experience.