Cover Story: Who’s Got Your ID?

Or, Rather, Who’s Got Your Back?

By Astrid Zeppenfeld

KLEERTECH® does. In every way.

Tucked away in a corner of Fenton, Missouri, is a little-known company that has your back for pretty much everything that concerns your meeting or event. It began as a manufacturer and distributor of name badges for the meeting industry in 1985 and has evolved into the industry leader in environmentally sustainable name badge holders, pre-printed name tags, lanyards, and accessories. So, as a sustainability-centric meeting planner, KLEERTECH® is a name that you absolutely should be familiar with when it comes to your certified green events.

However, don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of the many products and services the company can offer you, as KLEERTECH® is about to celebrate its 35th anniversary in business and has never had to advertise directly. If you make a great product, there is simply no need to market it – all your satisfied customers will advertise for you!

Mike Bishop, National Sales Manager and Co-Founder of KLEERTECH®, discloses, “Part of that we didn’t market our product aggressively was deliberate. We were more of a manufacturer/distributor. We were the unknown behind the big names.”

Staying humbly behind the scenes allowed for incredible growth and perfection of products, ever-changing with existing customer demands. Over the years, the company has had patents approved for products and processes it has pioneered; the first and foremost being an anaerobic process for their biodegradable products. What that means, essentially, is that all their products can be manufactured in such a way that, once you no longer use them, they can be buried in the ground and, as they decay over the course of the next 12 months, gases are released which do not only speed up the process for those products, but also for trash buried nearby. Talk about taking care of the environment, above and beyond what is required! As a plus for everyone involved, these do not cost any more to manufacture or to buy than the old-fashioned plastic badge.

What Do You Want from a Business Partner?

Within the past two years, KLEERTECH® has started its own marketing campaign. The unpretentious message Bishop wants to convey is that:

“We’ve been around forever and serving this industry since 1985. We aren’t just about any one particular product; we are about every product that is associated with your show, from the badge holder to the lanyard, to the registration website that you want to use to sign up attendees, to the software you want to use onsite to print your badges.”

This is how KLEERTECH® truly has your back when it comes to your event. They will be as involved as you need them to be, both during the planning phases and throughout your meeting. Like a true business partner should be. Even if you need something they cannot supply, they will recommend someone else who can, because they are so connected in this industry. Obviously, chances are they either have the product or service or they are willing to make it for you.

What do you need for a one-day business expo? Maybe you want just clear plastic pouches to hold the badges you will bring from your office; one of the 800 different styles of badge holders they offer is surely going to fit your badges. “And if they don’t have it, they will build exactly what you want”, says Kris Podber, Senior Branding Consultant at Jack Nader International, who has been working with KLEERTECH® as a supplier for more than 15 years. “If I want something that is 4 ½ inches wide and everybody else is at 4 inches wide, they will custom-make it for me to specs, which is not something that everybody does.” Add to that the category bars which KLEERTECH® works diligently to match in color, even with their lanyards. Podber concludes, “I think they are cutting-edge in badge holders and name tags. They also offer the ability to send people to your show with equipment to match existing badges with last-minute registrants’ badges, so nobody feels like they don’t belong.”

Registration Help

Teresa Severance, Administrative Assistant at Pennsylvania Recreation Vehicle & Camping Association, values KLEERTECH®’s services to make the registration processes go smoothly at America’s Largest RV Show. Severance explains, “I work for a nonprofit association called Pa RV Camping Association where we have about 40 RV manufacturers, 150 Vendors, 38 different dealers and over 3000 employees working the show every September.

We are more complicated for them as we are outside in a registration tent, but every year the KLEERTECH® staff makes this process flawless with all the equipment they bring and set up for the show.  We have four self-serve Kiosks, complete with phone scanner codes and four other check-in stations. KLEERTECH® also supplies the badge paper, badge holders, and this year, we are super excited about them sponsoring the lanyards for 2020.

The staff is so great to work with as well from start to finish.  Jeremy gets our site all set up for badge registration for our exhibitors to sign up for educational events and other dinner events that we have through the week.  We can get clear results of RSVP’s and how many badges we are printing out daily. The staff is on site to set up and take down all the monitors, printers, scanners as well as helping my exhibitors with whatever they need. I honestly could not do this show registration without them!”

The Most Wonderful Staff

No matter to which extent suppliers or planners in the meetings and events industry partner with KLEERTECH – this connection may be one of the most valuable ones you’ll ever have. Even if you only need one particular item, the friendly, helpful KLEERTECH® staff will make even the smallest business transaction just as important as a multimillion-dollar contract. Many of KLEERTECH’s long-time business partners rave about how great the staff is.

Stacey Fisher, Director of Account Management at TRC, states, “We have been working with KLEERTECH® for a number of years and appreciate their excellent customer service. They are really wonderful; very professional and they respond quickly. There are always some last-minute items you need and they understand the urgency of the situation. KLEERTECH® is a company that is really easy to work with.” Her colleague, Jamie Wilson, affirms, “We love working with KLEERTECH® because they are so friendly and very accommodating for meeting quick deadlines. They supply various badge holders and lanyards for our on-site badge printing solutions. Our clients frequently comment on the great quality of KLEERTECH®’s products, especially the sublimated lanyards and clear badge holders. It is a wonderful business relationship that has been going strong for many years.”

Ralph Robinson, Director of Meetings & Affiliate Relations at the Florida Apartment Association, is always “trying to raise the bar at the annual conference so that it is in line with (if not exceed) what attendees/exhibitors would expect from a national style conference.” He says, “When we met Mike Bishop at the American Society of Association Executives conference, he was not only able to accommodate all of my requests but helped us collaborate on additional offerings. We wanted our registration badges to also be able to print out different types of event tickets and raffle tickets to include the attendee’s names in full color. In addition, we needed to distinguish the badges based on the type of attendee category, with a specific color-coding bar that listed their title, to assist exhibitors with streamlining which attendees they should prioritize meeting with on the trade show floor. After our first year of working together, we had a great post-conference meeting where we discovered additional areas of enhancement, resulting in even better execution in our second year with the company. We’re very pleased with KLEERTECH®’s services and I would highly recommend them to other planners.”

MM&E

 Astrid Zeppenfeld is a writer and MM&E’s editor/business development manager from St. Louis.

About the author

Joe Clote

Joseph W. Clote is owner of Publishing Concepts, LLC a communications and marketing firm based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Mr. Clote is Group Publisher of MeetMed™ and Missouri Meetings & Events™ (MM&E) magazine, a quarterly publication read by thousands of meeting and event professionals, and producer of the St. Louis and Kansas City trade shows under the MM&E name. Mr. Clote has extensive sales and marketing expertise in the travel, tourism, fine art, insurance, and software development industries.