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Marketers know how important it is to keep up with technology’s rapid pace of change. While an engineer’s tech concerns reside around performance, compatibility and efficiency, marketers leverage technology to reach our audience, expand our brands, and build strategic relationships with vendors and partners. We’ve adapted to trends like chatbots, machine learning and artificial intelligence, data-driven marketing, and augmented reality. But what many marketers may not realize is nearly all of this is possible thanks to technology working quietly in the background: application programming interfaces, or APIs.

APIs are powerful tools for building integrated marketing efforts, creating immersive mobile experiences, aggregating data from scattered outbound efforts, and streamlining the way we work with partner organizations. Without APIs, much of what we do in mobile would not be possible.

There’s a secret to making APIs even more effective for marketers, and that’s tight collaboration with the engineers who build them. Here are seven ways marketers and developers can work together to create APIs that solve problems and grow brands.

  1. Extend brand reach by sharing internal assets.

APIs can make your company’s data or software available to other sites and partners, extending your brand to their audiences. An e-commerce company’s API could allow sites to pull inventory listings that align with their content.

Create an inventory of internal assets that can be shared with developers outside of your organization, and the strategic importance of each. Your developers will know the best way to share these assets and the type of security and traffic control measures you’ll need in place to ensure they’re being used in the right ways, by the right people.

  1. Get better control of (and visibility into) your marketing stack with APIs.

If you use several platforms to connect with customers, it can be difficult wrangling all of the scattered data 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, 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.

  1. 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 personalized, data-driven campaigns; customized landing pages; targeted recommendations; and more.

APIs also make it easy to funnel data between customer touchpoints. With APIs, you’re not locked into incongruous data formats; you have 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.

  1. 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 developers for the best solution.

  1. 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.

Also, you’re able to build those partnerships faster. An API can give your partners customized, self-service access to what you’re sharing, allowing them to iterate and experiment without a lot of oversight.

  1. Use the latest mobile technology to ramp up traffic, revenue, site visits, and conversions.

APIs are crucial to mobile marketing in how they can make mobile apps rich, secure experiences that offer real value to customers. The Twilio suite of APIs is an excellent example of a way to add valuable messaging capabilities to mobile apps to better connect with your customers. With other technologies like authentication, Google’s accelerated mobile pages (AMP) and augmented reality driving even more immersive experiences, marketers need to work closely with IT teams to expand capabilities and design mobile API strategies that leverage the latest tech to significantly grow your business.

IT teams can be extremely valuable resources for CMOs when developing API strategies. Coming up with creative solutions to complex engineering problems is where they shine—let them influence your strategy from the start. More tips for fostering an excellent partnership include:

  • Listen to developers when it comes to strategy, documentation, and developer experience. If you’re considering building an open API to give external developers access to your assets, listen to what your developers would want from an API. Developers are the primary consumers of APIs; they’ll have great insight.
  • Voice concerns and then let them design the API to head them off. Developers can put parameters in place that limit the APIs audience or use. This is their art form; let them work their magic.
  • Shine a spotlight on the developers making it happen. This is what they’re passionate about, and why they love their job. If they’re pioneering a new API, let them write articles about it for your blog. It will promote your API and incentivize developers to spearhead more projects they feel personally invested in.