C-Suite Advisory

Best Trade Show Promotional Items

Trade Exhibition Trade Expo Trade Fair Trade Show

What makes the difference between a great tradeshow promotional item and something thrown in the trash? Here’s a hint: how useful is the product that you are giving away? Many companies will have promotional and giveaway items at their tradeshow booths to promote their product; the hope is that the attendee will keep and use that logo-branded product long enough to have the company’s name etched into their subconscious. It’s a great way to market and promote your brand while showing your appreciation towards current and potential customers. Here are the best trade show promotional items that we could come up with.

Bottle Openers

While you often see T-shirts as a promotional item at tradeshows, many people do not feel like becoming a walking billboard for a software company – even if they are a fan of the product. We’ve noticed that the smaller and more useful the product, the better. Bottle openers are useful to have on a keychain or backpack, they are lightweight, and they are easy to carry around the tradeshow. If an attendee clips one to their set of keys, that could be the bottle opener’s new home for many, many months. It you make the bottle opener look unique, it may have the potential to become a drunken conversation-starter in a bar a few days down the road.

Flash Drives

The heyday of CDs and DVDs is drawing to a close; if you want a real-world example of the demise of disc-based storage solutions, simply take a look at some of the most popular laptop models. Many laptops no longer have disc drives, as USB drives offer faster data transfer rates and portability. Smart TV’s, cloud-based storage, flash drives, the internet, tablets, and streaming services have effectively killed the efficacy of the CD drive. Consider buying wholesale flash drives for your next tradeshow, as flash drives offer an extremely fast and portable solution for data storage.

Flash drives have the ability to be built-in to business cards, pens, and wristbands to add another level of style and functionality. They can also be pre-loaded with your company’s business information and portfolio. The more unique the design of your flash drive, the greater the chance that your tradeshow attendee will keep and use your promotional item.


When we talk consumables, we mean items that essentially get “used up”. Of course, this applies to food and water. Who wouldn’t love some candy, chocolate, or food after a couple of hours walking through a convention center? The usefulness of chocolate is up to interpretation, but we think it is pretty useful, as food is often the way to the heart.

Other consumables can include common office supplies such as notebooks, pens, pencils, paper pads, and post-it notes. We think that if you’d have to invest in one of these items, choose the notebook (with a pen preferably). These items are highly useful because pens, pencils, and notebooks often have a relatively short life in the hands of a productive individual.

Power Banks

Power banks are another fantastic option when it comes to tradeshow giveaways. They are especially useful at the tradeshow itself, as many attendees may spend the whole day roaming around the exhibition. This doesn’t just extend to trade shows: concerts, plane rides, long nights out on the town, and other situations where you won’t have easy access to a wall socket come to mind.  A printed power bank with your company’s logo ornamented onto the shell is a great way to represent your business, as well as any other marketing need. People may throw out a stress ball, but a free power bank? We don’t think so.


Consider raffling off a big-ticket item that people will line up for. This could be any highly sought-after tech item such as an Amazon Echo, an iPad, a portable wireless speaker, a laptop, or a Google Home Speaker. If you effectively market the raffle at your next tradeshow, expect to have hundreds of people line up for the chance to win the prize. Consider a simple mailing list signup as the prerequisite to obtaining a raffle ticket. Don’t be surprised if your booth becomes inundated with tradeshow attendees.

Tradeshow Giveaway Items

The Millennial generation is all about minimalism. If a product isn’t useful or relevant to their interests, you can expect to find it in a landfill within a few days. Therefore, it all comes down to product usefulness. Since millennials account for the majority of tradeshow attendance, you’ll want to make your promotional items as useful and practical as possible. The best trade show promotional items are reusable, handy, and compact.

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Sophie Ireland
SVP for News and Editorial Director. As CEOWORLD magazine's senior vice president for news and editorial director, Sophie Ireland oversees CEOWORLD magazine's journalism and journalists around the world and across platforms. She leads an award-winning team of journalists and newsroom executives who are committed to excellence, innovation and the highest quality reporting and storytelling. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn. Email her at sophie@ceoworld.biz.