REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK;MARKETERS SEEK INFO ON WHOM TO AVOID

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They're not the target: Database marketing, traditionally used to select and segment customers, is increasingly being used to identify consumers marketers do no want to reach. Sheraton Club International, a frequency guest program, is reducing the number of customers enrolled, said Jeffrey Bianchi, director-frequency guest programs at ITT Sheraton Corp. The program debuted in 1988, had 407,000 members in '89 (with a $25 fee) and grew to 1.8 million members by '94 (with no fee required). The '96 goal is to trim membership to 1.3 million. "We now realize we don't want to enroll every single person," Mr. Bianchi said.

Don Schultz, professor of integrated marketing communications at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, echoed that sentiment at a session that identified and estimated the value of customers. In a formula that estimates the return on investment of marketing activities, he noted that some customers were of little value. "There are folks out there who are nice people, but you can't invest in them," Mr. Schultz said.

Single-copy desirability: Single-copy newspaper buyers appear to be an attractive audience. A study to be unveiled by the Newspaper Association of America next month finds single-copy buyers are "more avid consumers of 20 out of 27 products and services than newspaper readers in general." The study will be used in part to convince advertisers that "the single-copy buyer is a value segment that you want to buy," said Lisa Cody-Smith, NAA director of circulation marketing.

Cyberspace update: Marketers are increasingly building databases that track such information as where online users come from. Elaine Rubin, senior VP-interactive marketing at iVillage, said her company is building a database that will track every hit and, in tandem with outside research services, compile data to determine where customers are coming from online, how much they're spending, where they live, their demographics, who's buying and what they're buying.

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