Air Force IT Conference is Dead

by Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing

R.I.P., AFITC.

As many of you know, the Air Force IT Conference held each August in Montgomery, Alabama was cancelled this past year. It had been held annually since 1983 and was the largest IT conference within the Department of Defense.

Now it looks like it’s not coming back.

According to an announcement on Friday by Montgomery AFCEA President Joe Besselman, “the Air Force has no plans to ever restart an Air Force-led conference like AFITC.” Besselman continued: “…the earliest one could expect a conference similar in nature is 2014. AFCEA International is working with the Air Force to gauge the need, content, and potentially the location.”

This provides further evidence that DoD in particular is looking to consolidate trade shows and conferences to eliminate duplication and save taxpayer money. I’m all for that, but this takes a great marketing vehicle off the table for those looking to pitch their offerings to the Air Force IT community. This show was always a source of qualified leads and great relationship-building opportunities for us.

For those immixGroup clients who need to find a way to stay in front of this community, please contact us and we’ll see what we can do. The Montgomery AFCEA chapter hosts a number of other events, including MITS 2013 in June. There’s a tentative Air Force Industry Day event planned for the same time.

As I said in a previous post, keep your marketing plans and budgets fluid this year to accommodate changes like this. More are coming.

Air Force Cancels AFITC Conference

by Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing

Restaurateurs, travel agents, and hoteliers in Montgomery, Alabama must have a collective headache today. The Montgomery Advertiser just reported that the Air Force has cancelled its 2012 Information Technology Conference (otherwise known as AFITC). The event was scheduled to take place from August 27 to 29. It has been held annually in Montgomery since 1983 and is the largest IT conference within the Department of Defense.

It was only two weeks ago that we learned of another victim of recent scrutiny over travel to events: the National Guard’s 2012 NGB JC4I Conference, which was cancelled due to government cutbacks. There’s no question that a trend is emerging, especially when you add this news to recent headlines about other conference and event cancellations.

It’s not clear yet how these cutbacks will impact the information-gathering habits of government employees who already had made reservations to attend AFITC or any of the other now-cancelled conferences (who doesn’t want to visit beautiful downtown Montgomery in mid-August?). But the news is certainly forcing us to adjust some of our 2012 marketing plans, and I’m sure we are not alone.

We’re currently exploring other options to help our clients reach qualified prospects within the Air Force and National Guard IT communities. What marketing media are you considering? We’d love to hear your ideas.

%d bloggers like this: