December 7, 2011

Until We Meet Again I/ITSEC

Ah, I/ITSEC. I have been told I am sick in the head for loving this training and simulation show so much. And while that may be true, I know there are others out there who look forward to this annual event in Orlando as much as I do. To an outsider, the promise of warm weather would make sense, but as the last two years have been COLD, it really isn’t that. For me, it’s a time to catch up with your colleagues, partners, media and friends. It’s a time to put a stake in the ground and claim your territory both in booth space and from your competitors. It’s a time to be brazen about advances in technology and viewpoints on trends for the coming year. For me it's the Disneyland of PR opportunities.
I could write an entire blog just dedicated to I/ITSEC (so don’t be surprised if this topic comes up … a lot). My team starts to hear me chant I/ITSEC, I/ITSEC, I/ITSEC by June at the latest and it is never far from my thoughts throughout the year. What will we showcase, what will we announce, what will be relevant and valuable to our journalist friends, how will we be differentiated? The list goes on.
One thing that I have noticed is that the show is becoming more PR friendly. People are taking notice of the top-tier journalists who attend this show – people like Tim Mahon from his newly launched Training & Simulation Forum, Kristin Quinn who is heading up Training & Simulation Journal (now being rolled under the Defense News umbrella), the entire Halldale team who are out in full force, and Brian O’Shea at MT2 (there are many more…and believe me, they’ll all come up here at some point).  The news environment is becoming more crowded, forcing many of us to get creative - press events, roundtables, online discussions, private customer events. Nothing like a little friendly competition to keep the blood pumping.
The dialogue between industry and media seems to be much more free-flowing than in years past …. Yes, the savvy are creating a two-way conversation! YAY!  The old-school approach of “selling a story” is just not the kind of PR I want to practice and it seems that the industry is moving in that direction as a whole. It’s about the relationship, understanding where you can add value, and how to support our reporters in a way that doesn’t burden their already incredible workload. The ability to contribute to their profession in a meaningful way is what drives me to do better, create better content, and do it first.

What did you do at I/ITSEC to push the needle?


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