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Smart Card Kaplan
These articles by Vickie Schlegel and Jeff Lippicott were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper
on January 13, 1999. All rights reserved. For a complete list of business meetings, go to the events database at
No one knows more about smart cards and their use in
electronic commerce than Jack Kaplan — and he’s eager to
tell you about it. Kaplan is president of Datamark Technologies Inc.,
a 30-employee electronic commerce marketing firm at the Technology
Center of New Jersey in North Brunswick (732-873-5322; E-mail: email@example.com).
He will speak about "Creating Customer Databases for Loyalty and
Data Warehousing Activities" on Tuesday, January 19, at 8 a.m.
for a Technology New Jersey meeting at the Hyatt. (A representative
from Toys ‘R Us will also be speaking about the back-room data analysis
process.) Cost: $30. Call 609-419-4444.
Kaplan will explain why it is important to know who your customers
are in order to keep them loyal. He will detail how this can be done,
and will also talk about the importance of a marketing action plan,
how to get started with an electronic loyalty program, and how to
build a customer database.
With a BS in industrial engineering from the University of Colorado,
Class of 1970, and an MBA from the City University of New York, Kaplan
started and managed three successful companies focused on information
technology products and software development.
More recently Kaplan wrote "Smart Cards: The Global Information
Passport," which explains how to manage smart card businesses.
His interest in smart cards began in 1990, when he worked with them
at Smart Card International. For two years after that, Kaplan studied
smart cards, until 1992 when he founded Datamark Technologies. "The
company is my brainchild," he says proudly.
Datamark utilizes smart card, magnetic stripe, and barcode technology
to implement customer loyalty programs — a points and reward system
to encourage frequent customers in such industries as travel, retail,
and telecommunications. Its clients include Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse,
Modell’s Sporting Goods, and the latest addition, J. Crew. In early
1998, GE Capital bought almost a 25 percent share of Datamark Technology,
Kaplan is pleased to report.
For each of its clients, Datamark provides all the hardware and software
for the "frequent flyer-type" card program. Once it is in
place, a customer simply enters a store, buys a steak or a basketball
or a sweater — and can sign up with this first purchase. They
need only provide name and address, and depending on the client, preference
information as well.
Once the card is activated, the customer’s name is stored in a database
maintained by Datamark. The amount of the first purchase is stored
as "points" toward an award. All customer information collected
with each purchase is sent daily to Datamark, where it is analyzed.
The award structure, set up for each business by the individual client
companies, determines when the customer receives a reward: a special
promotion, money off a purchase, or free gift.
Next, the information is combed through to discover best customers,
what they are buying, and which locations they frequent most often.
Datamark issues reports and evaluates solutions for each client. This
type of information is extremely useful for marketing purposes, of
course, and also more personal than a system like WalMart’s, in which
no customer information is recorded. The program also offers targeted
coupons and promotions at the point of sale, and integration with
credit, debit and prepaid card options.
The smartest thing about Datamark’s card is the way it produces results,
Kaplan says. "We have driven increased visits up 22 to 35 percent
annually," he says, citing an independent firm’s analysis, "and
increased purchases per visit around 20 percent."
Kaplan says that using this system in your business is not difficult.
Datamark sells proprietary software that tracks and monitors customer
profiles and purchasing habits and can be used in home offices. The
software is PC-based, and Windows compatible.
One of Datamark’s specialties is the "E-Gift" program, which
replaces paper gift certificates with the same smart card technology.
Kaplan estimates that E-Gift cuts at least 30 percent of the administrative
and accounting costs of traditional paper gift certificates. For the
retail industry, E-Gift can be combined with a merchandise return
This year was Datamark’s first year with E-Gift, so the company was
a little overwhelmed by the holiday rush. Merchandise returns, gift
certificates, and the challenge of their new relationship with J.
Crew, combined to form "an enormous workload," sighs Kaplan.
No time for visions of sugarplums this year: Datamark was humming
along 24 hours every day.
— Vickie Schlegel
Networking groups don’t always limit themselves to the
mission suggested by their titles. At one extreme there are groups
like the National Press Club, which welcomes members who have virtually
nothing to do with the press but who would like to rub shoulders with
the press. Then there are groups like Rotary, which find a happy medium
between altruistic do-gooder projects and hard-nosed business networking.
The Christian Business Men’s Committee of Princeton (CBMC), which
meets at the Hyatt Regency, is at the other end of the spectrum. Those
who join the CMBC seek spiritual perspective for their personal lives
and business endeavors, and any opportunity to gain clients or business
contacts is entirely incidental. "The purpose of CBMC is to share
Christ with business and professional people and then teach them to
do the same thing," says Charlie Glass, a computer training
specialist and area director for CBMC Mid-Atlantic Region.
The bi-monthly meetings, held during the "odd months" on third
Fridays at the Hyatt, cost $17, but first-time guests are just that,
guests. A scientist has spoken on "Physics and Faith," the
CEO of a southern New Jersey bank gave a talk entitled "Banking
on the Bible," and an attorney told "How I Came to My Faith."
At the meeting on Friday, January 15, Frank Hummel, an engineer
turned entrepreneur, will discuss "The Ups and Downs of Life and
Business." Call Len Hayduchok
This half-century old organization had men-only membership long before
the Promise Keepers was founded; women do not attend the luncheon
meetings, though the group does sponsor family conferences and couples’
retreats. "Much of our work is done one-on-one, outside regularly
scheduled meetings, where strong bonds can develop between participants,"
says Hayduchok, who works for an insurance firm, the MacLean Agency,
on Nassau Street. He points out that many Christian women’s groups
are also single sex: "We seek to preserve the integrity of the
individuals and organization by having men meet with other men in
CBMC’s work includes investigative Bible studies intended to help
people grow spiritually. Selected men from CBMC meet one on one with
members weekly as part of a mentoring program to guide them in their
spiritual walk and to keep a Christian perspective while conducting
business. The guiding framework for the study program, called "Operation
Timothy," is from the New Testament (Timothy 2:2), "and what
you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men
who will be able teach others also."
A series of four books comprise the mentoring program: "Finding
The Way," "Knowing The Truth," "Living With Power"
and "Making a Difference." The content of each book is organized
into six chapters with the premise that each individual chapter represents
one meeting between mentor and member.
"Sometimes when you’re going through these with someone, there
are issues that come up that apply to what you are talking about,
that really need to be addressed before continuing on," says Glass.
He feels that the mentoring aspect of CBMC is in keeping with the
"Great Commission" for which Jesus challenges his disciples
to go forth and increase the number of believers. "Effective discipleship
is a spiritual growth process," says Glass.
In addition to meetings and mentoring, CBMC also offers a forum, which
involves a closely knit group of up to eight business owners meeting
monthly for several hours to discuss how to integrate biblical principles
into the daily operation of their business. CBMC also sponsors faith-based
financial seminars called "Business By The Book," retreats,
and leadership development workshops.
Glass, 58, spoke at a recent meeting on "Planes, Mainframes and
Safe Landings." He grew up in northern Minnesota, where his father
started a hunting and fishing resort. Glass’ 80-year-old mother still
operates the facility today.
Glass enlisted in the Navy and eventually became a helicopter
search and rescue trainer; and he has some hair-raising tales from
those years. "One thing you have to be sure about in a helicopter
is where you are going to land," says Glass, "because they
have a glide slope like a rock." He has witnessed a fire on another
helicopter and its subsequent plummet into the sea. In that instance
he was successful in fishing the crew members out of the ocean.
"Helicopter flight," says Glass, "and the concern about
landing and the potential consequences is analogous to man’s journey
through life and concern about the hereafter. The question is where
are we going to end up? Where God intended?"
After his stint in the Navy, Glass spent 13 years with Unisys Corporation
as a principal education technologist, designing office automation
computer training programs at the worldwide education center in Dayton.
Here again, he compares his work to his spiritual life. "Accessing
the true power of a computer," says Glass, "is only accomplished
through using the appropriate password. This is not unlike God’s operating
system. To really appreciate who God is and all that he has to offer
we need to have a password." For Glass, the password is Jesus.
Glass’s relocation to the Princeton area was supposed to coincide
with a divorce from his wife of 38 years, Rae Ann. A defining incident
occurred one night when Glass, frustrated with his wife, drove his
van so fast that the wheels left the ground. "All of a sudden
I said to myself, `so what if I kill myself, big deal, it would just
hurt a little bit for a while and then all of my problems would be
over.’" At that moment Glass made a decision let God take charge
of his life.
For more information call the national headquarters at 800-575-2262
or local members Len Hayduchok
or Don Doldy
— Jeff Lippincott
Rider University’s College of Liberal Arts, Education,
and Sciences has added a new major in the environmental science discipline
that will be implemented next fall. This interdisciplinary program
will be administered by the department of geological and marine sciences
and overseen by the biology and chemistry departments.
Unlike the more general environmental studies programs offered by
other schools, this new program at Rider focuses more on science than
on the socio-economic and public relations aspects of the environment.
"The new major is steeped in three separate science and technology
departments," says Richard Alexander, assistant dean. Call
This diverse program is relatively cost-effective among science programs.
"The beauty of it is that much of what we need already existed
here," says Alexander. "We already had much of the equipment,
facilities, faculty, and courses needed." Centennial Lake, as
a useful on-campus laboratory for field work, and the many scientific
corporations on the Route 1 Corridor for internship opportunities,
makes Rider a convenient geographic location for such a major, says
Stevens Institute of Technology has expanded its graduate school program
by offering an accelerated master’s degree program in telecommunications
management on Saturdays. The courses will be offered through Stevens’
Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, and will be conducted
on the university’s Hoboken campus as well as at locations in Bergen,
Passaic, Morris, Somerset, Middlesex, and Ocean counties.
An advising and registration forum for graduate school courses this
spring will be held on Thursday, January 14, 5 to 7:30 p.m., in the
Bissinger Room, Wesley J. Howe Center, on the Hoboken campus.
The program will provide students with a Master of Science degree
in telecommunications management in less than two years. The program
consists of basic communications technologies and management courses
identical to those offered by the Howe School faculty at leading corporate
sites including AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and Bell Atlantic. Majors
offered include Environmental Engineering, Project Management, and
For more information, call 201-216-8031, visit the school’s website
Building Trade Relations with Eastern Europe and the
Newly Independent States" is the topic for John Berry
Berry Management Group and Thomas Gaspar
Company. They speak on Wednesday, January 20, at 8 a.m. for the Regional
Business Partnership at the Newark Club, on the 22nd floor.
On the agenda: the nuts and bolts of trading, what to sell and buy
to and from Eastern Europe, tariff and duty reductions, intellectual
property rights laws, increased foreign ownership opportunities, and
case studies. Call 973-242-6237 for reservations.
The New Jersey Technology Council hosts a timely deregulation conference
on Thursday, January 21, at 8 a.m. at the Princeton Plasma Physics
Lab. In an effort to make sense out of the legislation wending its
way through the state capital, attendees can choose from six forums
for $200. "Where Utilities, Communications, and Deregulation Converge"
will include these topics: Communications Technology and Utility Industry
Restructuring, Impact of Electric Utility Restructuring on Telecommunications
Industry, Role of the Advanced Customer Communications Systems in
the Deregulated Energy Market, Competition in Utility Metering and
Billing Systems (Lessons Learned from California and the UK), Regulatory
Issues, Technology and Software Issues Related to the Utility Industry.
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