JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
As Air Force Recruiting Service continues to innovate and find ways to enhance the recruiting enterprise, it released the Total Force Marketing Management Tool March 16 with the purpose of synchronizing each partner with upcoming events and enhancing communication and work processes with all the Total Force partners.
“This is a huge milestone and win for AFRS,” said Chad Tanner, AFRS National Events Branch deputy. “We now have an all-inclusive management system that will allow for a total force marketing integration. The total force marketing tool will allow for increased production and visibility of flyovers, events, mobile tours and more. We couldn’t be more excited to roll out this new technology to connect the Air Force as a Total Force marketing enterprise”
The new tool is replacing the old Air Force events website. It is a place for active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve recruiters to request assets, schedule events and provide after-action reporting on the events. “The Total Force Marketing Management Tool provides a single location for the field to request and track all things marketing; local/national assets and events, funding and honor guard/band requests,” said Maj. Jason Wyche, AFRS National Events Branch chief. “Additionally, the tool allows regular Air Force, ANG and Reserve recruiters to see events scheduled by their Total Force partners, allowing them to better synchronize their efforts within their AOR (area of responsibility).”
The tool will also allow Total Force recruiting to standardize many processes throughout the enterprise as well as help the Air Force’s national-level branding efforts.
“It will allow all of the partners to have continuity throughout the year,” said Master Sgt. Zachary Atkinson, AFRS National Events Branch superintendent. “We can track event metrics to see what worked and what did not work. Recruiters and marketers can look at past events and decide whether or not to conduct them again.”
For recruiters, being able to see which events are scheduled within their AOR allows them to plan ahead and make the most out of events. Recruiters may also discover an opportunity that they were not aware of in their AOR.
“If you’ve been in recruiting long enough, you’ve probably shown up to work an event to find the Reserve, Guard, AFROTC, USAFA, etc., also working the event, yet nobody really knew the others were coming,” Wyche said. “And the various components were probably spread all over the event space…AFROTC over on one side, Guard on the other side. Situations like that make the Air Force components look disconnected from each other. The TFMMT will facilitate better communication across the components, allowing us to strengthen the Air Force brand at events, creating an Air Force village, with set-ups at airshows.”
In addition to strengthening the Air Force brand at events, the tool will save taxpayer dollars by allowing Total Force partners to take advantage of economies of scale by purchasing a large single booth space versus multiple small spaces to accommodate each partner.
In addition to the Total Force partners, the honor guard, Federal Aviation Administration, Secretary of the Air Force public affairs and Air Force bands will have access to the TFMMT, mainly as a support function. With them having access, users can request events through them, which should speed up the approval process greatly.
“Another reason for everyone having access is to encourage recruiters from all programs to work together on their events,” Atkinson said. “Additionally, giving the bands and honor guard visibility into our events allows them to see opportunities for them to support. I believe we could see an increase in the bands and honor guard reaching out to event POCs to say, ‘hey, we’d like to support your event.’”
Another feature of the TFMMT is a QR code creator that can be printed out for each event. When scanned, a person can put their information in and automatically becomes a lead if their qualifications are on par with accession standards. This will allow recruiting to see how successful an event was and also capture leads in real-time. Verifiable data is the key to meaningful metrics.
“Previously, squadrons were only able to track the leads they received at an event and make an estimate about how many people stopped by their activation,” Wyche said. “The QR codes will facilitate lead tracking, but will also allow us to provide accurate data about who actually stopped by our activation. The success of an event is so much more than just leads. Every person who stopped by that wasn’t a lead, may eventually become a lead or may be an influencer of a future lead. Knowing the total throughput to our asset (leads, target market, influencers) helps determine the effectiveness of an event.”
The tool will allow users to request flyovers, band performances, national assets and honor guards. There is also a calendar that shows national asset schedules. Users can follow national assets and request activations on unscheduled or down days. It will also allow users to request local assets from their squadrons.
“As the tool gets used, we’ll incorporate feedback from the field to add the types of features they need to help them be successful,” Wyche said.
For AFRS, having flyovers at events is in many ways a win-win situation, as it is an opportunity for AFRS as a whole to acquire free space at certain events.
“This is important for recruiters because any chance we get to share the Air Force message is a great opportunity. Requesting a flyover doesn’t require AFRS approval, so there are flyovers happening on a regular basis that AFRS is totally unaware of,” Atkinson said. “One of the requirements of a flyover is the event coordinator must provide space for recruiters. Visibility into the approved flyovers allows the recruiting squadrons to leverage that free recruiting space at an event they may not have previously considered attending.”
While this tool offers many advantages for recruiters, Wyche said that recruiters and our partners must have buy-in to using the tool for it to fully maximize its potential.
“The TFMMT will only be effective if everyone uses it. The tool requires users to feed it data to be shared across the Total Force recruiting enterprise,” Wyche said. “If nobody loads their events, we’ll be in the same position we are today, showing up at an event with various Air Force programs spread all over the event space and none of them knowing the other was going to be there.”