When looking to grow, businesses often face the chicken-and-egg problem: Do we develop great, new features, or do we wait for new customers to sign on? Without new customers, there are no resources for development. But without new features, it is difficult to differentiate from the competition to attract those customers in the first place.

But not all new features have to be a drain on internal resources. The recent surge in popularity among information-based businesses (which, increasingly, is becoming all businesses to some extent) of using APIs to establish competitive advantage is real – and offers a solution to this problem.

Using an API to enrich contact data within your product offering – be it CRM, influencer marketing, media buying or marketing automation –requires a significantly lower financial and resource investment than building this functionality in-house. Plus, it will differentiate your product from its competitors, and offer a compelling reason for prospects to sign on.

Enriched Data Means More Revenue

APIs can offer information from third-party sources, like social media, and enrich the contact data within your system. This means that your platform will effectively be able to offer deeper, richer, more actionable insights than your competitors.

Demographic, psychographic and interest-based data can all be pulled from social media and integrated into your product. Each contact can be built out into a 360-degree view of who they are, based on information gathered from their social profiles.

The value proposition to your customers then becomes obvious: leverage this enriched data to better engage your customers, personalize content, and capture more leads. This can create new revenue opportunities for your business, as current clients upgrade to the enhanced offering and new clients sign up.

Know Your Customers Better

Enriching your data not only means added value for your customers, but for your own sales and marketing teams as well. By deploying an API to give your own team access to robust customer data, you will empower them to develop more genuine, lucrative relationships with each contact in your own database.

By making contact data a priority in your company, you provide your sales and marketing teams a dynamic representation of who the customer is and a unified view to enable targeting across all channels. They can use this added knowledge to produce more personalized content and close more sales – essentially reaping the benefits that you offer to your customers through your platform.

Low Investment, High Strategic Value

By using an API instead of developing these features in-house, you free up your development team to focus on building out the core product, while earning the benefits of enriched data. You are effectively doubling your results without having to double your investment.

API developers also often have access to data that would be difficult or impossible to gather on your own. Thus, any competitor looking to emulate your system would likely struggle to attain the same quality of data, while maintaining their own core product.

Strategic partnerships with data providers and API developers can also produce benefits for your platform. By developing these partnerships, you can potentially expand into new markets and open up new business opportunities that would otherwise have been inaccessible.

Your Competitive Advantage

Creating a compelling competitive advantage is the key to success, especially for information-based businesses. Using an API to augment your core product will not only give you an edge on the competition, it will enable you to continue to focus on building your core product and developing relationships with your customers. Using an API to augment your own contact records will provide access to the comprehensive data your team needs to achieve personalization at scale and demonstrate the value of social media to your business.