Availability can not be underestimated, two reasons for this:
- 1. First, a minor mindset thing:
People want to choose their own arenas, not be forced into one because the company finds it sufficient to only make their stuff available in one place.
2. Then the bigger thing:
The missing link between something being a tool and something changing our behavior is its availability (link):
Which, linked with availability, in a tools and services perspective could give this:
“The goal would be to make the service so easily available that it as a technology becomes invisible but contextually becomes valuable.” – Bridging the gap between technology and behavior
Pushing Shirky a bit, we could say that technology is tools, but services are behaviors. And that tools only become valuable services as they are made available within the context where the person naturally adopts them.
- That in order for people to adopt something within their everyday life, it has to be designed based on human and contextual abilities, not just to fit into technological or informational frameworks.
- Or, that publishing stuff only gives people new tools, but if we make sure the stuff becomes available to the point of becoming invisible it will change peoples behaviors in the situation surrounding the product – and that is the interesting shift when marketing stops demanding exclusive attention and starts becoming valuable (which means shareable).
Now there are two types of availability:
- 1. Being where the niche is (Jonathan MacDonald). The old saying that everything is only one click away on the Internet is outdated. Today, hiding stuff away behind walls of technology or website cartography is as good as not publishing it at all. We have to make the stuff available so that different people in different contexts find their “natural” way to engage with it and become a part of it. (Tim Brown)
2. Design. At a seminar two years ago the brilliant people at TAT presented some insights into the fact that the visual presentation layers has to be tailored to the activity we want the participant to perform – not the economical preconditions of the technological framework. That design is one very important part of a service’s availability, and should not be underestimated.
This is what I’m trying to say: Just because the stuff is available on a companies website doesn’t mean people will find it or use it. It needs to become available on platforms and arenas that fit into peoples everyday life. Which means that we need to fragment our marketing much more (“light lots of small fires” – Mark Earls), and tailor it to fit into the participant-product context.