Staff Standpoint | March 2023 Hearing Review

By Kathryn Sutherland, Director of Business Intelligence – Chief Editor

The AAA +HearTech conference is one of the most significant events in the audiology industry. It provides a platform for professionals to meet with industry leaders, earn CEU credits, and connect with exhibitors for valuable one-on-one product trainings. As a former manager of expositions and a previous AAA exhibitor board member, I would like to share my insights about the value of live exhibits.

Kathryn Sutherland

Anyone who knows me is aware of my passion for trade shows. Designing and developing esthetically appealing and highly functional trade show booths was a core function in my previous career. Unfortunately, the pandemic caused a massive gap in our ability to meet face-to-face, and some have even suggested that the death of trade shows was imminent and that digital events would be the future wave. Having executed both of these experiences, I advocate for a hybrid exhibit plan which utilizes both methods of reaching internal and external customers. Nothing can replace a live exhibit event. 

According to a recent study1 76% of attendees remember companies based on their trade show displays. By creating an engaging and visually appealing booth, exhibitors can attract attention and generate interest, making it more likely that attendees will stop and engage with the exhibitor. In addition, having a friendly, knowledgeable sales team and incorporating games with prizes can boost engagement and help build relationships with attendees. 

Trade shows are a dynamic way for companies to showcase their products, build their brand, and generate new business. While trade shows can be expensive, the return on investment (ROI) can be substantial. Therefore, it is essential for companies to understand their trade show goals and objectives clearly. The average ROI for exhibitors at trade shows, according to a survey where 14% of Fortune 500 companies reported that their trade show exhibition generated a 5:1 ROI, which means they made an estimated $5 for every $1 spent.2 Companies that invest in trade show sales are likely to see a significant return on their investment, provided they approach the events strategically and put in the effort to create a compelling presence.

Further research shows3 that 81% of attendees that meet with you have buying authority, and 46% of trade show attendees are in the early stages of their buying process. Hence, meeting them during this buying cycle is vital for sales prospecting. 

Another key to success at a trade show is to follow up with leads and contacts after the event. A 2010 sales lead survey4 confirmed that 98% of exhibitors collect sales leads at trade shows, but less than 70% have a formalized plan or process for how those leads are followed up after the show. In addition, only 47% of companies track leads generated at trade shows and events throughout the sales cycle. A meager 28% measure and report the number of leads that ultimately convert to sales as part of their exhibit programs’ ROI.

Overall, the AAA + HearTech conference provides a unique forum for exchanging ideas and knowledge within the hearing healthcare industry. Bringing exhibitors and industry professionals together reinforces the exploration of new ideas and technologies. In addition, this knowledge exchange can help drive innovation and growth within the industry, ultimately benefiting businesses and consumers alike. 


1. Hill & Partners; 2016 Event Track Executive Summary

2. Statista; 52 Stats About Trade Shows 

3. CEIR; The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit Into the Overall Marketing.

4. Lynch Exhibits-Exhibitor Online; Myths of Lead Management