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Profile: William Maiola

By Times Staff
Published December 5, 2005


New Position: Executive vice president, chief development officer, Catalina Marketing, St. Petersburg

Previous Position: Vice president, global account development, Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta

William Maiola made a career of marketing packaged goods to consumers. Now, with the help of technology, he will be tracking what they buy.

Maiola is the new chief development officer for Catalina Marketing, whose software monitors checkout counter purchases at its 19,000 client stores, mostly grocery stores. The information is transmitted via satellite to Catalina Marketing's computers and analyzed, and then a coupon is printed on the back of customers' cash register receipts accordingly. "We have the data pipelined from the store up here and back down to the store," he said. The whole process takes about 4 seconds, Maiola said.

"We're in the business of delivering precise, direct-to-consumer marketing, one-to-one marketing," he said. "We look at consumer purchases and their behaviors behind those purchases."

The company tracks about 250-million transactions a week, Maiola said.

"Right now, we have about 67 percent of all groceries in the U.S. using our product," Maiola said. Other clients include Walgreens and Kmart in the United States as well as businesses in Japan and Europe, he said.

Maiola will be "working on new product and services development, which includes new technologies that we can apply to our current business model."

He also will explore new technologies for gathering, measuring and distributing such marketing data. "I'm looking for new technology that will allow me to communicate with you (the customer) before you get to the store and while you're in the store. We already have the solution for communicating with you when you make a purchase," Maiola said.

Maiola, a native of New York City, earned a bachelor's degree in 1970 from California State University at Sacramento. In 1976, he earned an MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu Beach, Calif.

Maiola began his career with General Foods in White Plains, N.Y., in brand management, focusing on such products as Tang and Kool-Aid, then became a regional sales manager until 1986. After a couple of interim jobs, Maiola took a position with the Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta in 1989 as director of field sales and field marketing in the fountain division.

In 2003, Maiola retired from Coca-Cola to start a consulting business, consulting for clients including Coca-Cola and Catalina Marketing. He joined Catalina in October.

Maiola said he finds consumer purchasing behavior and technology, "where the two intersect, a very exciting field. It's taking technology and reaching consumers with very targeted, relevant information."

"What gets me excited every day is knowing I can make a difference," he said. "I can change something. I can drive something. I like to see change, address change.

"I like developing people," he added. "That's the fun part of work, knowing you're leaving a legacy behind of people who will be successful."

Maiola, 57, and his wife, Grace, plan to relocate from Atlanta to Tampa. They have two adult children.

Maiola has attended four Olympics and collects Olympic pins. While with Coca-Cola, employees in Charleston, S.C., selected him to represent them as a torch bearer for the 2002 Winter Olympics. He carried the torch a quarter of a mile as in passed through Charleston on its way to Salt Lake City - "a great honor," he said.