Drilling Down Home Page Turning Customer Data
into Profits with a Spreadsheet
The Guide to Maximizing Customer Marketing ROI

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Book includes all tutorials and examples from this web site

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About the Author

Workshops, Project Work: Retail Metrics & Reporting, High ROI
Customer Marketing

Marketing Productivity Blog

8 Customer
Promotion Tips


Customer Retention

Customer Loyalty

High ROI Customer
Marketing: 3 Key
Success Components

LifeTime Value and
True ROI of Ad Spend

Customer Profiling

Intro to Customer
Behavior Modeling

Customer Model:

Customer Model:

Customer Model:
Recent Repeaters

Customer Model:

Customer LifeCycles

LifeTime Value

Calculating ROI

Mapping Visitor

Measuring Retention
in Online Retailing

Measuring CRM ROI

CRM Analytics:
Micro vs. Macro

Pre-CRM Testing for
Marketing ROI

Behavior Profiling

See Customer
Behavior Maps

Favorite Drilling
Down Web Sites

About the Author

Book Contents

 What is in the book?
 Productivity Blog
  Simple CRM
 Customer Retention
 Relationship Marketing
 Customer Loyalty
 Retail Optimization
  Visitor Conversion
  Visitor Quality
Guide to E-Metrics
  Customer Profiles
  Customer LifeCycles
  LifeTime Value
  Calculating ROI

  Recent Repeaters
  Retail Promotion
  Pre-CRM ROI Test
  Tracking CRM ROI
Tutorial: Latency
  Tutorial: Recency
  Scoring Software
  About Jim

Do-It-Yourself Customer Modeling
creates High ROI Customer Marketing

Hi there, Jim Novo here.  This site is home for  The Drilling Down Project - a collection of articles, tools, and services you can use to take control of your customer data and use it to improve profitability.  The Project includes this site, blog, free newsletter, book with free customer scoring software, and High ROI Customer Marketing Services / Workshops.

If you are looking to avoid the risk and cost of installing a customer data analysis "solution," but want to take advantage of high ROI customer marketing tactics, this site and book are for you.  You can develop a very simple toolkit, build experience with High ROI customer modeling techniques, and make more money using the Drilling Down method.

Go to Slow Connection / Alternative Browser version of site

Here's how it works: customers are scored on their transactional activity (purchases, page views, log-ins, etc.) with an Excel spreadsheet, or by the Access application that comes with the book, or by your own application (business rules supplied).  The scores represent the likelihood of each customer to respond to marketing and remain a customer, allowing you to rank your customers by their potential value.  Knowing potential value, you can:

  • Get more customers like the best ones
  • Focus on growing the profitability of middle potential customers
  • Stop wasting resources acquiring and marketing to low potential customers

Then, "trip wire" reports are run each week or month and changes in potential value scores are monitored.  Rising scores indicate the potential value of the customer is rising; falling scores indicate decreasing potential value - and signal the customer is becoming less likely to continue on as a customer.  Trip wire reports monitor changes in score and "flag" important changes in potential value, allowing you to:

  • Emphasize the ads, media, and products creating long term high potential value customers and downplay ones that don't
  • Create High ROI marketing programs and make more money selling to customers
  • Predict when best customers are about to leave you and react with customer retention and save-a-customer programs
  • Quantify the profitability of marketing and operational initiatives by linking them to a change in potential customer value

Customers can be scored by segment (demo, geo, source, media, product) or as individuals.

You can get started right away discovering the clues to increased profitability locked away in your customer data without long lead times  and a lot of expense.  Then, when you have the experience and the ROI justification you need, you can move up to a more powerful solution at your own pace - and bring with you real-world experience in driving profitability using customer data for decision making.

Click Here for Step-by-Step Contents of Book

or you can read more about High ROI Customer Marketing techniques below...

High ROI Customer Marketing Tutorials

         Using Customer LifeCycles: 
Trip Wire Marketing  
           (5 pages, easiest to implement)

         Using LifeTime Value:
         Comparing the Potential Value
         of Customer Groups  
           (5 pages, a little more challenging to implement)

Latest Customer Marketing Content

Marketing Productivity Blog

Latest Newsletter: 
Defining Behavioral Segments  (4/2011)
Newsletter Archives

Six Sigma Marketing

Yesterday's Most Popular Article
"Pre-CRM" Testing Techniques - Determining the Potential for Marketing ROI Before You Buy


I was the VP of Marketing and Programming for Home Shopping Network, overseeing marketing and merchandising efforts for TV Shopping, the Catalog division, and Interactive on CompuServe, Prodigy, and the Internet.  

Over a 10 year period we developed and tested a method for increasing customer value while reducing marketing costs through modeling customer behavior.  Using simple query tools and tough ROI formulas, we frequently generated returns on marketing spending of over 100%, with some programs returning 400% or more.  This was before there was such a thing as "data mining."  

How we did it is the subject of this site, the Drilling Down book, and the High ROI Customer Marketing Roundtable and Workshops.

Easy to Understand

The Drilling Down method is very mechanical in nature.  Customers are classified and compared with each other on a number of parameters using their transactions - not personally intrusive questions.  There's not a lot of guesswork involved; the scores and changes in the scores tell you all you need to know.  You don't have to be a database marketing expert - just someone with common business sense.  If an ad you run,  product you sell, or content you provide consistently creates low scoring customers, ditch it.  Focus resources on the ads, products, and content creating high value customers. 

IT people love this method (clue: it was developed from the beginning with IT people involved).  They think of the Drilling Down book as the "Customer Analysis Requirements Document" they could never manage to get out of Marketing, because it provides a very logical, iterative approach to allocating resources and increasing customer value.  IT folks without a lot of marketing support are just "running with it," building up a store of important behavioral data to be used later on when the marketing support comes onboard.

Read user comments on the method

Why Does the Method Generate High ROI?

It's a "low hanging fruit" idea and inexpensive to set up and use.  The Drilling Down method provides a structure for organizing your approach to customer data and identifying the highest ROI opportunities. You spend very little on new infrastructure, use existing IT resources, and drive real bottom line impact.  

Proven Approach, Real Results

This site is designed as a preview of the Drilling Down method, and provides many examples of customer marketing models and techniques you can start using today.  By reading the articles and taking the tutorials you will begin to understand there are real methods and metrics behind the hype you have been exposed to the past few years.

The fact is, some of these techniques have been around for decades, and have been over-complicated and over-hyped by the various players in the space.  I have personally been working with some of these methods since 1983.  Customer behavior modeling has a very long history of success, proven to work again and again across many different business models.  And it's privacy friendly.  These methods work very well using only customer transactions (page views, purchases, log-ins, contacts, etc.) to predict future behavior.

Go to Specifically What the Book Teaches You

I guarantee you will learn some common sense, easy to implement customer marketing optimization techniques from going though this site.  The topics covered on this site represent  "building blocks" used in the Drilling Down method, the foundation - and are actionable ideas by themselves.   As you go through the site, you will be building an appreciation for how powerful simple customer modeling can be, and understand you can do it yourself.

If you want to access the complete step-by-step Drilling Down method for creating high ROI customer marketing programs, you should consider purchasing the book, which comes with a free customer scoring software application.  If you are not in "do it yourself" mode, please review my hands-on needs discovery, pre-CRM ROI analysis / testing, and teaching programs tailored to where you are on the Database Marketing / CRM Analytics learning curve.  If you represent a marketing agency or software company, see the subcontracting section.

Good luck to you!

                    - Jim Novo

Helpful Links:   The Drilling Down method is a tight integration of many concepts you read about all the time that never seem to make much sense by themselves.  The site was designed to teach you how to get started with behavior-based marketing even if you don't have any previous experience.  Navigation at the top of every page is in 3 primary sections:

Marketing Approach describes how customer data is used to fuel High ROI Customer Marketing under different marketing scenarios.  Past customer behavior is predictive of future customer behavior - and if you can predict behavior, you can make more a lot more money marketing to customers.

Behavioral Analytics puts forth the basic  frameworks for thinking about behavior-based marketing and how it might help you.  Turning  marketing strategy into action based on predicting customer behavior is the focus here.

Customer Models are the simple tools you can use right away to create very High ROI Customer Marketing Programs.  Models are about who, when, and how to market to customers to ensure the very highest profits.

Thanks for visiting the original Drilling Down web site!

The advice and discussion continue on the Marketing Productivity Blog
Twitter: @jimnovo

Read the first 9 chapters of the Drilling Down book: download PDF

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  Real People, 
Real Results!


Truly  - not many books, in school (it was a few years ago :-)) or after school have received my 200% attention from the first page to the very last like "Drilling Down" did!

Susanne Melms, Sweden




In a downsized economy, with downsized resources, Marketing may not always have access to IT and Database support. Jim Novo's book 'Drilling Down' gives marketers the ability to do meaningful, effective customer value-scoring themselves, quickly and easily. I know -- I used it on a time-sensitive project, and it works. 

Thanks, Jim!

- Lori Witzel
Marketing Manager
Sheshunoff Information Services



Just to say I am absolutely thrilled with your book.  I am about to make a leap to a much bigger job as Marketing Mgr of a large online and catalogue computer reseller, and your words are my holy grail at the moment - I can't actually work out yet how, armed with this knowledge, anyone can fail in direct marketing, whether it be online or through an offline catalogue!

Luke Ashworth



Jim Novo's Drilling Down is excellent!

Concepts that may take companies and professionals years, huge budgets and expensive software to learn (if they ever do at all) are explained in a very simple and practical way.  The whole book, and its concepts and ideas, are so clear that even non- native English speakers as myself (I am Argentinian) fully understand it and can easily put it to work in practice.  Every chapter gives you powerful insight that can be applied in your business.

Martín Kessler



Recently I had the opportunity to read your book "Drilling Down - Turning Customer Data into Profits with a Spreadsheet."  It has been some time since I have come across a book of its kind.  The concept you highlight is both interesting and elegant in its simplicity.  Please accept it as my compliment when I say that you have won over a recruit in me.

Outsourcing Manager





Just wanted you to know that you are my hero.  I have learned so much from your book and the articles you provide links for. Your approach is truly practical & "actionable" 
(a word often thrown around; sounds good but is rarely demonstrated).

Susan Butler



Jim Novo brings customer database marketing and customer analysis to life. He shows you the roadmap to success in a simple, straightforward way. He takes everything you wanted to know about managing customer relationships and places it in one resource. There is more “real world” information about customer analysis and database marketing packed into a book than you could get in a year’s worth of seminars and consultant meetings. Jim gives the tools of the pros to “everyone”.

Leonardo Grinstein
Brazil, S.A.




You have a solid common sense approach missing from so many theoretical experts in building business approaches.  Reminds me of that old phrase among members of the clergy on theology - "sometimes our discussions are so celestial, that they are of no earthly good."  Again, thanks for a great site.

David Jonah
Jonah & Associates



Your newsletter is the single most valuable tool of its kind for one simple reason:  Your detailed examples on various issues e.g. Recency, that we can instantly apply to our business.  For a small company with limited resources this is huge.  Throw in all the great articles and you have a winner!  Your articles have really helped me a lot, from a purely educational standpoint as well as sound business  & marketing advice.

Alexander Mantikas
CENTENTIA Business Solutions
Athens, Hellas (Greece)



I just want to tell you how much I am enjoying your book, Drilling Down.  I discovered your website after searching for "loyalty" and "analytics" information on the internet.  Thanks for writing such an easy-to-follow book and thanks for the mail-list.  I consider this my best resource for marketing...even far above others like iMarketing News and ClickZ.

Ken Robbins
BKV Advertising




Ordered and read your book AFTER reading EVERY page in your website.  Your newsletter is outstanding and you seem to be one of the few with real life experience in database marketing with the skills to simply explain with pragmatic examples how RFM and LTV should be used.

Johnson Au-Yeung
Sutherland Group

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This is the original Drilling Down web site; the advice and discussion continue on the Marketing Productivity Blog and Twitter.

Download the first 9 chapters of the Drilling Down book here: PDF
Purchase Book           Consulting