Instead of paying the big price for media exposure, businesses should move some of these budgets toward creating APIs, loads of APIs, around each single area of the business. Facebook Connect is a great example of how an API can help a business own a unique space in the market. Stripe is another good example of the benefits for the business in terms of reach. Releasing an API puts you in a privileged position with the B2B audiences of developers – an audience who is difficult to reach but remains very influential.
In a hyper connected world, APIs are a strong alternative to:
– Bring a brand to life
– Built-in growth into the core business
– Federate relevant audiences
Building sets of APIs forces the business to have a clear understanding of what it wants to achieve in this world. Call it mission, vision, purpose… Whatever suits you best, if you want to gather interest and sell something you’d better stand for something anyway. When you design a service and enable the world to build on it, you also give your brand some space. APIs create the space brands need to showcase their uniqueness, talent, creativity… They also add new values to a brand showing it willingness to be part of the makers trend as well as the collaborative economy. This is a reality that cannot grow from traditional marketing.
When you create an API, your data aggregates to million of other businesses’ data. You are reducing costs for research, quality assurance, updates… It’s a scenario in which most of your costs become an investment into a sustainable platform. It’s a framework that enables any level of communications: one-to-one, one-to-many, brand-to-many, brand-to-brand… It’s endless and cost effective compared to any form of paid-earned-owned media. The API is the true “medium is the message” McLuhan was seeing at his time.
When you design for audiences in mind, you enable your shift the needs to communicate into a platform for advocacy. You don’t need your to “advertise”, you offer others to build-on what you’re creating.
There are a few new layers of interest your bring to your brand. A few years ago, the start of social media forced marketing teams to create a voice for their brands. It made them feel more human for a while… but now it seems that they are always just all about themselves… like you know, advertising is.
By going down the API, digital route, you add whole new layers to your brands:
– vulnerable: the business admits that it doesn’t have all answers,
– undefined: an API is by essence a work in progress,
– worthy of attention: it’s generous action, an attempt at doing something with others.
Unlike “perishable” advertising messages, an API is work, hard work, long hours of work. Unlike advertising, releasing an API says to the world, I am trying to make something better, please help.
APIs answer todays’ challenges to deliver sustainable growth in a lean manner. A business capable of releasing APIs brings is better equipped to cope with speed, uncertainty or change. Marketing has changed. It is our role to understand how we spark growth through disruptive technologies and brands.
“(…) we live in a world that is changing so fast – at Unilever we call it a VUCA world: volatile, uncertain, changing and ambiguous. Therefore, there is a constant need to re-evaluate the way we as a company, not just marketing-wise, but business-wise, adapt to this changing environment: to new technologies, to new partnerships, to new possibilities.”
Up At Night, Interview with Marc Mathieu by Contagious magazine