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Marketing Tips

Trade show must-haves: One little box to the rescue

By February 8, 2023No Comments

You get to your booth on the exhibit show floor, and everything is already set up—phew—the lights are working, the last-minute sales sheet is on display in the literature rack, and your new booth graphics look amazing.

You go to set up your sales engineer at the demo station when you realize there’s no extension chord for their laptop. #$#*#*!!!!!

We’ve all been there.

Whether it’s your first trade show or your hundredth, chances are, you’ll find yourself wishing you had a few items from your home or office close at hand.

Years ago, our team put together this list of trade show must-haves that can fit in a small box that’s easy to ship. With industry events back after a few years of cancellations due to the COVID pandemic, we’ve updated the famous Clarity Quest Rescue Box packing list.

The basic box trade show packing list

  • KN95 or other face masks
  • 5 small hand sanitizers
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Pens (multiple, different colors)
  • Highlighters
  • Small notebook
  • Index cards
  • 6-8 Sharpies™
  • Duct tape
  • Clear packing tape (it’s also great for picking up trash from your carpet)
  • Extension cord
  • Electric plug bar
  • Post-it™ notes
  • Rubber bands
  • Tiny stapler
  • Scissors (2 pairs)
  • All-in-one tool (screwdriver, can opener)
  • Pliers
  • Tube of Krazy-Glue™
  • Breath mints and gum
  • Dental floss
  • First aid kits with generic medicines and painkillers
  • 1 box of band-aids (those trade shows floors have been known to cause many a blister)
  • Cough drops and throat lozenges
  • Hydration powder packs
  • 2 large trash bags
  • Tide stain remover pen
  • Large Ziploc™ bags
  • One roll of paper towels
  • Small tissue packs
  • Universal converter charger and wall plug
  • Portable phone/tablet charger(s)
  • Generic company business cards (in case someone runs out or forgets them)
  • Contact list with phone numbers for all booth personnel and your hardware vendor

The deluxe trade show box

And if you’re feeling extra—as in extra prepared—you may also want to consider the following:

  • Dustbuster
  • Extra batteries (esp. if you’re using a lavalier or other microphone)
  • Lanyards branded with your own company logo (because there’s nothing marketers hate more than wearing another company’s logo!)
  • Zip-ties
  • Paper clips
  • Non-perishable energy bars, 5-Hour Energy™
  • Travel-sized umbrella
  • Address label stickers
  • Eye drops/Visine™
  • Tweezers
  • Reader glasses (2 pairs)
  • Spare contact case and saline solution
  • Compact mirror
  • Mini-sewing kit with safety pins
  • Hand lotion
  • Wite Out™
  • USB-compatible thumb drive with original collateral PDFs stored on it (in case you run out)
  • Small bills and change for vending machines
  • If women will be part of your booth team, we recommend:
    • 2 pairs of nice flip flops size 7 and size 9 (broken heels and sore feet are rampant at big shows!)
    • Personal hygiene items

Did we miss anything? The little box that could is intended to be light, and we purposely left off items that are super heavy and expensive to ship, such as water bottles.

Get more from your trade show presence

Because of the quality of potential leads, B2B marketers invest heavily in trade shows and events—upwards of 40% of their budget. Therefore, it’s essential that your trade show presence be part of your larger strategic marketing plan.

With more than 20 years of experience, our healthcare marketing agency can help you create an on-brand trade show experience that connects with your target audience and is memorable.

Note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated to reflect current trends.

Chris Slocumb

Author Chris Slocumb

Chris is the founder and president of Clarity Quest Marketing, where she has the best job on the planet leading a talented group of marketers helping healthcare and technology companies grow revenues and visibility. To learn more about Chris' experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

More posts by Chris Slocumb