Five ways APIs can supercharge your marketing

Five ways APIs can supercharge your marketing

It’s more important than ever for marketers to keep up with technology’s rapid pace of change.

If you’re not leveraging technology to target the right audience, extend your brand’s reach and build strategic partnerships, you’re falling behind. It’s not enough to adapt to trends like rising mobile use, big data and the explosion of social channels. Marketers must go deeper than this and become experts in their marketing technology stack. A huge enabler of this stack is something that works quietly in the background: the application programming interface, or API.

APIs can be powerful tools for building more integrated marketing efforts, creating more immersive experiences, aggregating data from scattered outbound efforts, and streamlining the way we work with partner organisations. And without APIs, what we do in mobile would not be possible.

As powerful as they are, there’s a secret to making APIs even more effective: tight collaboration between marketers and the engineers who build them. Here are five ways marketers and developers can work together using APIs to solve problems and grow brands.

1. Get better control (and visibility) of your customers.

If you use several platforms to connect with customers, it can be difficult wrangling all of the scattered data in order to determine clear insights. Say your outbound marketing includes an email that prompts customers to follow you on Instagram. That new follower data won’t be tied to your email marketing platform, but an API can bring it into one place.

An API can connect all of your platforms, collect data from multiple channels, and then merge them into a single stack to help you define trends more clearly. Know your problems, roadblocks or inefficiencies up front so developers can find creative ways to solve them.

2. Create targeted, data-driven marketing with better customer data.

APIs can aggregate data about your customers from around the web, pulling demographics from social and other profiles into your CRM to augment the data you already have. This allows you to create personalised, data-driven campaigns; customised landing pages; targeted recommendations; and more.

APIs also make it easy to funnel that data between customer touchpoints. With APIs, you’re not locked into incongruous data formats – you’ve got a seamless way to make that data work for you across all channels. Before approaching your IT team, know your goals for how you’ll leverage this data so they can help you build an API strategy to supports those goals.

3. Harness the time-saving power of automation.

APIs power the automation of all kinds of tasks, from marketing automation to analytics. They’re far more efficient than trying to plug apps or campaigns into complex back-end infrastructures. The Google Analytics API is just one way you can automate metrics and reporting. With your developers’ help, you can even embed a custom, branded analytics dashboard in your own platform. Determine which metrics and reports you’d like automated, then tap your developers for the best solution.

4. Build integrated strategic partnerships.

APIs are invaluable tools for creating a seamless exchange of data and services, cross-promoting between apps, and more. Salesforce’s cloud-based CRM is all made possible with APIs. You can also build those partnerships faster. An API can give your partners customised, self-service access to what you’re sharing, allowing them to iterate and experiment without a lot of oversight.

5. Create your own self-service portal to internal assets.

Whether it’s to build out campaigns that dynamically pull product inventory, or to create infographics and sales tools with company data, making your internal assets ‘open source’ with a private (internal) API gives your marketing team self-service access without requiring valuable engineering time and resources to get them. If there are pools of data or resources your team needs frequent access to, consider tapping your developers to build an easier, API-powered way for you to harness those assets.

You can learn more about how to use APIs to supercharge your marketing efforts on Upwork’s blog here.

Rich Pearson Senior Vice President of Marketing and Categories Upwork
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