There’s an assumption here that APIs are reasonably well understood by digital marketers, but maybe less so by traditional marketers. For those who are unfamiliar with APIs, they make it possible to seamlessly transmit data between different systems. The points below relate to the specific benefits that an API can deliver for a marketer (in this case access to grants data). The approach taken is to think of how the data could be used to benefit a customer and how, as part of your digital footprint, it can boost your proposition and engagement with your market.
1. Enhance your proposition
Minimal effort is required to add a valuable addition to your customer proposition. For example, as a bank, you could offer a grant finding service alongside lending. Or as a membership body, offer it as a benefit of joining.
2. Add value for your clients
Take advantage of data that’s useful to your company and its customers and prospects. Data is an asset if it’s used intelligently to benefit your customers and clients. It can both inform them and help make decisions (seeing the type of grant funds available), or be of direct benefit e.g. being able to start a grant application.
3. Save money
Using data that’s already been gathered and structured rather than building a database from scratch yourself has considerable cost benefits. Take advantage of a data source that’s already been created by experts at a more advantageous cost (in this case grants data that’s continually updated by a team of experts). All the hard work has been done on your behalf.
4. Efficient and targeted
Use what you need by selecting only the data you think is relevant to your clients. This streamlining and selection of relevant data makes the solution you are developing more relevant to your customers. For example if you target a specific industry sector, only select the data that relates to this sector, making queries quicker and more relevant
5. High quality data
Assuming it is a trusted source, you have access to data that’s up to date and accurate so you can reassure your customers that they are getting the best possible information for their needs (again, grants data is continually updated so it’s comprehensive and accurate).
6. Customised to match your needs
With an API you have the ability to use the data in a way that matches your proposition and processes. You can integrate the data into your website UX seamlessly. Not only that but you can arrange it in a way that reflects your preferred customer journey and process. For example grants could be offered to your new customers during onboarding as you gather data. This will give you a decisive advantage when prospects compare options.
7. Innovate proactively
Use the API to discover new opportunities within your own customer data. Your customer data may have pointers to enable you to match them with relevant grants automatically and in the process increase their satisfaction levels, loyalty and advocacy.
8. Add Engagement
By adding extra services such as reports and alerts you can add further value by enabling users to extract more value from the data and return to use it. Also they will spread the word about your brand on your behalf!
Grants are just an example of the ways that using available APIs can enhance your business. Most of the above examples point to using it overtly say on a website but there are other ways it can work. Using it internally to support sales and sales support teams for example. Instead of having an external interface it’s an internal one instead. Yes, having access to technical skills is a prerequisite but these are available to most businesses either internally or through a supplier, so that shouldn’t be a barrier. The only restriction is the extent of your imagination!