The following is a guest article by Mike Sedzielewski, co-founder and CMO of Voucherify, a coupon and referral infastructure through API.

2016 was the year when the marketing technology mantra materialized. The predictions of turning every business into a connected system of digital services became real. The data-first approach and microservices are becoming a standard in the marketing and sales departments of forward-thinking companies. What makes this possible? APIs.

The data speaks for itself. In the last year: Over $500M was invested in API companies, not including a few massive acquisitions and Twilio’s IPO.

ProgrammableWeb (an API directory) has indexed more APIs than ever befores, listing over 16,000 items overall.

Market leaders like Adobe, Marketo, Twitter, and Apple either opened or revamped their API and developers’ platforms.

Why APIs? Why now?

APIs are the fuel of the digital economy and are now set to burst onto the ecommerce landscape. What drives all this, you ask? Value. In one of his recent articles, Scott Brinker says:

While there will still be plenty of software applications with UIs for us humans, increasingly businesses will need to orchestrate and enhance these applications programmatically through APIs — as well as create their own custom-tailored software on the back of these services.

In other words: APIs allow your developers to build tailored software you need faster. Imagine you want to automate your marketing operations, one way to do this is to research off-the-shelf products. But it often happens that they aren’t 100% consistent with the way your team works. You clearly don’t want to change your process just because of the limitations of your tools.

That’s where APIs jump in — they enable you to build software which fits into your process and whose development doesn’t take ages to complete. API platforms have another advantage; often, they are way better than your internal tools. Matt Murphy nails it when he says:

They work better and provide more flexibility than APIs that are built internally. Companies often underestimate the amount of work that goes into building and maintaining the functionality that they can now get from a third-party API. Finally, third-party API developers have more volume and access to a larger data set that creates network effects.

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