A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:


Jeff Zoss grocery shopping network

Title: Vice president of national sales

Age: 37


Jeff Zoss is working to build business for online advertisers targeting grocery buyers, as the new vice president of national sales for the Grocery Shopping Network, a Minneapolis-based digital marketing firm.

One focus, Zoss said, is building and leading sales and customer service teams to expand the company’s reach nationally beyond its current “comfort zones” in Minneapolis, Chicago and New York, with a particular emphasis on growing on the West Coast and the rest of the Midwest.

Zoss’ arrival coincides with the introduction of several new online products and services designed to increase Grocery Shopping Network’s business with advertisers and consumer packaged goods companies while maintaining its network of grocery shopping websites, which offer consumers coupons, videos, recipes and tools for building shopping lists.

“We are nimble, we are flexible to do a lot of things that we are asked by our clients to do or come up with solutions based on feedback that we hear out there in the industry,” Zoss said of the 25-person company. “We’re able to fluctuate with the needs of our advertisers.’’

Grocery Shopping Network works with Rainbow Foods, Coborn’s and Festival Foods in the Twin Cities area and with such brands as Hormel, Blue Diamond, Post Foods, Green Mountain Coffee, Kraft, Procter & Gamble and Nestlé, Zoss said.

Zoss, who has a bachelor of science degree in business communications from the University of Kansas, previously worked at ValueClick’s Minneapolis office, offering display, video and lead-generation solutions to agencies and clients.

Q: What appealed to you about this role?

A: I’ve been doing this for 13 years and taking a look at the opportunity to make a difference with advertisers. … Grocery Shopping Network really brought the exclusive opportunity to get in front of grocery shoppers by having this exclusive retail network and other solutions. It’s just a unique position and a unique opportunity … to get in front of grocery shoppers.

Q: How will you help the company expand its footprint?

A: We’ve had a smaller sales force and focused a lot potentially on the retailer side. Now we really want to be in front of every agency, we want to be in front of every consumer packaged goods company to show them what we can do and the benefits we can bring to the online advertising objectives.

Q: How do you pitch your offerings?

A: The focus of Grocery Shopping Network moving forward is also building and maintaining those unique relationships with retailers but also now using shopping modeling and shopper intent data. We’re expanding our business in being able to go outside of our retailers and that’s going to be the biggest initiative moving forward.

Todd Nelson