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What are the most popular promotional items at conferences?

Promotional items are to business conferences what icing is to cake – and for many people, it’s the main reason they sign up in the first place! Everyone loves to receive something for nothing, and taking advantage of that basic human trait by giving away branded items is a superb way to raise brand awareness, open your company up to a different market or launch a new range of products. Whatever your goal, corporate freebies at conferences can be a great way to achieve it.

Having said that, not all promotional items are created equal and it’s important you ensure that the gift you give is one that’s likely to be appreciated and used by its recipients. As a general rule of thumb, smaller is better when it comes to such affairs, since no one wants to have to buy an extra piece of luggage just to cart home all of the giveaways they’ve picked up over the weekend. However, a larger item that’s of practical use can also work well, if marketed to the right audience.

Promotional Items for Conferences

Indeed, matching the product to the customer – and ensuring it’s one that adds real value to their experience of the weekend and perhaps beyond – is key to seeing a positive return on your investment into a promotional item marketing campaign. Below you’ll find a list of possible suggestions for your upcoming conference, which have been hand-selected for their usefulness both at the event itself and after the fact, as well.

Water bottles

The importance of hydration should never be underestimated, especially at a location that’s as hot, stuffy and energy-intensive as a trade show or other corporate event. Handing out branded water bottles to all-comers will not only give them a practical item that can be put to immediate use, but it also offers ample space to advertise your company’s credentials on its side.

Travel mugs

Almost as important as hydration, the need for stimulation is one that’s almost universal at tiring affairs like business conferences. Gifting travel mugs designed to keep hot drinks toasty is another superb method of anticipating your target market’s needs and being on hand to supply it then and there – and gain some free advertising by emblazoning it with your company logo as well, of course.


They might be oldies, but they sure are goodies. There’s a reason why pens are such a stalwart of the promotional product scene, and at a trade event where people are constantly jotting down information and addresses about potential business partners or favoured companies, personalised pen can come into its own. It’s likely to have a long shelf-life and pass from person to person, too, meaning you’ll achieve maximum exposure from a relatively inexpensive outlay.


The perfect accompaniment to the aforementioned pen, a corporate notebook will also reap the benefits of a location where writing down data is an immediate concern. It’s also small enough to fit in a bag and practical enough to serve as a present for someone else, so even if your intended recipient has no use for it, the chances are strong they’ll know somebody who does.

Power banks

While the humble pen and paper is still of immense value in situations such as trade shows, there’s no denying that the digital age is well and truly upon us. That means that attendees to a conference are highly likely to use their phones on overdrive, draining the battery and leaving their users all at sea. Throw them a life raft with a branded power bank and they’re unlikely to forget it in a hurry.

USB sticks

Another technological gizmo that offers practical value at a business conference and in a multitude of settings beyond is a USB stick. The ability to transfer and store data onto a portable piece of kit is highly sought after by people from all kinds of backgrounds, and one which is customised with your company name and logo will remind them of your existence every time they use it.


Umbrellas are particularly attractive giveaways for British conferences, given the inclement climate in which we live. If you’re really lucky, the heavens might even open during the event itself, which could result in a mad scramble as attendees clamour to get their hands on your promotional freebies. What’s more, it’s a free, long-lasting form of advertising for everyone around them to see.

Ice scrapers

Another one that’s dependent on foul weather conditions, promotional ice scrapers are best saved for business conferences that take place in the winter months. It’s the kind of item that no one thinks about until they really need it – and after issuing them to all-comers at the exhibition, there you’ll be, swooping into save the day like an ice scraper in shining armour.