“We’re coming out of what has been a crazy past year, and it really has been transformational because businesses were forced to really lean into digital capabilities—both for how they run internally and also how they engage with customers,” said Scott Brinker, VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot, during Workato’s first-ever user conference last month. “This accelerated a lot of the digital transformation that we’ve been talking about for years and years. It really has happened at an incredible rate.”
Over the past couple of years, there have been incredible advances happening in AI and machine learning. Brinker stated that “the combination of the algorithm, the incredibly cheap computing power, and the unlimited data size that we have access to has really made AI incredibly effective. What we’re seeing now is a lot of these AI technologies are increasingly embedded in no-code tools to make them more powerful, and in turn, these tools are powering more and more creators outside of the walls of our organizations and even the empowered marketers/employees within the corporation as well.”
As of 2020, there are 8,000 marketing technology tools out there according to Brinker’s decade-long research. IDC has predicted that “over 500 million digital apps and services will be developed and deployed using cloud native approaches by 2023,” and that a large number of them will be custom apps, not packaged apps. But still, this puts marketers in an environment where they need to manage multiple different apps interacting together in their daily operations. An Airtable study revealed that a marketing team uses an average of 20-29 MarTech tools on a regular basis, in which they spend 30–39%, nearly over a third of the week, doing manual operational tasks.
It’s almost counterintuitive that the more tools a marketing team uses, the more time they have to spend doing manual operations tasks. “It’s this challenge that we really see as the opportunity for no-code in automation and integration to be able to help us automate across many different tools to execute the work we’re doing,” said Brinker.
Below are Brinker’s top no-code apps for marketers which include the three kinds of no-code superpowers: automation, augmentation, and integration.
- Aiva.ai/Aiva Technologies (Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist): Aiva is an Artificial Intelligence app capable of composing emotional soundtracks for films, video games, television shows, and commercials. When talking about the opening theme song for his presentation, Brinker said “Aiva let me choose what style of music I wanted—I could’ve uploaded tracks of my favorite artists as influences.” He was able to create the track in under a minute.
- Ion Interactive: Ion, by Rock Content, is a content experience platform that empowers marketers and designers to engage, target, and convert higher quality leads using a code-free, data-driven solution. At one point in his career, Brinker was the Co-Founder and CTO of Ion Interactive. It was “one of the first platforms to empower no-code landing pages for marketers.” It also gives marketers the ability to create no-code interactive content—things like quizzes, assessments, and calculators.
- Workato: Workato, recognized as the leading enterprise automation platform, enables both business and IT teams to integrate their apps, automate business workflows without compromising security and governance, and drive real-time outcomes from business events. “If we turned Workato and all its automated processes off, it would take 57 people to manually do those tasks. The tool pays for itself while generating revenue—the ROI is just staggering,” Brinker quoted Jeff DaSilva, Business Automation Analyst at HubSpot.
- Webflow: Webflow is a SaaS application that is used for website building and hosting. Their online visual editor platform allows users to design, build, and launch websites with no-code. In his presentation, Brinker used Lattice as an example of a company that uses Webflow’s services: “Lattice uses Webflow for their web properties. The marketing team that controls this has zero developers, two designers who design new pages, and twelve marketers who are not developers, not designers, but they can still create content using this tool.”
- Airtable: Airtable is a cloud-based application that offers an easy-to-use online platform for creating and sharing relational databases. To Brinker, Airtable is a database, workflow, and project management tool mixed into one. AJ Curry, Sr. Manager, Social and Emerging Platforms at the NFL and Airtable user, said that she “used it to organize the thousands of pieces of content for the NFL 100, easily linking each content piece to clubs, players, legends, etc. so [she] could send deliverables easier.” Brinker added that users “can keep track of things in kanban board style views, or gantt charts for project deliveries, or dive into all sorts of analysis and reporting dashboards of how things are going.”
- Bubble: Bubble is a no-code tool that lets you build interactive, multi-user SaaS platforms, marketplaces, and CRMs without code. “I use Bubble for the creation of my site martech5000.com, which is where we keep the data for the crazy marketing technology landscape. With Bubble, you’re able to lay out things visually. I don’t need to be a designer, but now I can also get to a place where I associate interactivity and logic and functionality with the different elements on these pages as well,” Brinker said of his experience with Bubble.
- Obviously AI: Obviously AI is a no-code platform that enables anyone to build and run AI models in minutes. Brinker mentioned with Obviously AI, “without being a data scientist, you can pull data, and from even just a marketing perspective, you can use it to start doing things like predictive analytics on churns, net promoter scores, determine next best offers in campaigns, and doing multi-channel marketing attribution.”
- Bannerbear: Bannerbear enables its users to auto-generate social media visuals, ecommerce banners, podcast videos, and more. “They’ve got all these APIs to be able to dynamically generate images for everything—from ad campaigns to social media campaigns,” said Brinker. As an addition to their fascinating services, they also have a feature called Tweetagram that can turn a tweet into an Instagram ready image.
To Brinker, no-code doesn’t just mean creating without code, it also means creating without limits.