Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Published on Monday, June 19, 2017

Is Your Competition Out-Gaming You?

Can anyone think of a for profit or non-profit entity that operates as a true monopoly?


Bankruptcy Monopoly cardYou 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.


20ft trade show exhibitSo 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?




Cluttered trade show boothMaybe 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.


Flea market stallIn 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.


Boardwalk place on Monopoly gameIf 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.




Steve Moskal


Monopoly game


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Steve Moskal
Steve Moskal

Steve Moskal

Other posts by Steve Moskal
Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Steve’s journey in the trade show and event world started in 1983 with one of the original Nomadic Display sales organizations in North America. In 1994, he co-founded Prairie Display/Chicago.

Steve was an Allied Board Member of TSEA (Trade Show Exhibitors Association) from 2007 to 2011 and recipient of the TSEA President’s Award in 2009. He also served as Financial Chair of the Midwest Exhibit and Event Professionals (formerly the Chicago chapter of TSEA) and as a commissioner with the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission from 2011 to 2016. Currently he is Vice President of Education for the Addison/Elmhurst, IL Toastmasters Club.

When not working with customers and co-workers at Prairie, you can find him trying to spend more time biking and pursuing other creative endeavors. Steve lives in Oak Brook, IL with his beautiful and equally understanding wife of 26 years, Shelley.

Steve is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a B.A. in Journalism and a Fine Arts minor.


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