Can anyone think of a for profit or non-profit entity that operates as a true monopoly?
You remember the word monopoly from your economics class that you struggled to stay awake in, don’t you? A monopoly occurs when a company or group has exclusive control over a commodity or service. Yes, Monopoly is also a great board game. There is no sweeter feeling than sending three of your closest friends into Hasbro bankruptcy.
Unless an organization exists in a vacuum, they do not have a monopoly. If you do not have a monopoly, then you have competitors. Competitors looking to sell their product or service to your customers and prospects, and competing for dollars spent.
You probably see your competitors at many trade shows throughout the year. They’re lurking right around the corner, looking to reacquaint themselves with existing customers and to meet and build rapport with new prospects.
Wait...isn’t that why you are there too?
Of course it is.
So how is your visual presentation compared to theirs? Do they have an attention-grabbing 20’ backlit wall and a charging station for power-depleted phones, keeping attendees in their booth for long stays? Are you standing next to an aging banner stand and a wrinkled table throw wondering where all the foot traffic is going?
Maybe it’s the other way around. You’re looking like a million bucks while they simply showed up and rented a table and some chairs. The black and white printed exhibitor name card hanging on the pipe and drape is acting as their calling card.
In either case, we know that first impressions are important. What first impression do attendees have of your organization? Are you a gleaming oasis in a desert of ill-equipped exhibitors, or are you one step above looking like a flea market stall?
Pretty brutal statements to make, I know. But I’ve been to shows and seen all of it. Remember, you have just three seconds to get the attendee’s attention. At that point, you can start to engage. Is your display attention-getting? If not, it’s time for a change or at least an update.
If your competitor, two aisles over, has “got game” and you’re passing out mints in a bowl, it might be time to move off Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues and up to at least Pennsylvania, and maybe even Boardwalk.
It does cost a bit more, but you have a much better chance of winning the game.