Ben Ball

Senior Vice President, Dechert-Hampe

Ben is Senior Vice President for Dechert-Hampe where he specializes in Customer Development – implementing go-to-market strategies and tactics that build a stronger customer franchise and superior financial performance. As the lead on customer development for DHC, he works with companies such as Bayer Consumer Care, Con Agra, Hewlett-Packard Company, Sara Lee Food & Beverage, Time Warner, Pillsbury and the Mars, Inc. companies.

Ben is a frequently published author in the business press on the subjects of the Evolution of Retailing, Vendor/Distributor Relationships, Customer Relationship Management, Category Management and Trade Marketing. He has chaired numerous conferences on these subjects and is a featured speaker at major industry associations.

Prior to joining Dechert-Hampe in 1992, Ben was Marketing Vice President at PepsiCo Foods International. Other experience includes Marketing Vice President and Director of Field Marketing at Frito-Lay, Inc., group brand manager of new products at Mars, Incorporated, Snack-master Division, and Product Manager at General Mills, Inc.

He holds a Masters Degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dechert-Hampe & Company, a Sales and Marketing consulting firm, has offices located in Trumbull, Connecticut; Northbrook, Illinois; and Mission Viejo, California.

At Dechert-Hampe we like to say we are “Consumer Driven – Customer Focused”. We provide a range of services to clients, all focused on optimizing the customer interface with a consumer perspective in mind. These services include traditional Sales and Marketing consulting as well as a range of supporting services such as Organization Education and Development, Customer-facing Operations services and Communications.

Dechert-Hampe has been involved with Customer Development initiatives since the early ‘80’s, and for the past ten years Ben has concentrated on developing DHC’s capabilities in Marketing, Category Management, Trade Funds Management and Customer Relationship Management. DHC engagements in these areas encompass Grocery, General Merchandise, HBC, Dairy and Frozen Food clients in both the United States and Canada. These engagements have also touched a breadth of retail channels including Food, Drug, Mass Merchandisers, Office Supply, Consumer Electronics, Wholesale Clubs, Superstores, Specialty Outlets and the Military.

  • Posted on: 07/25/2016

    7-Eleven makes history with consumer drone delivery

    In the "simply for what it's worth" camp -- I think this is going to happen much faster than imagined. The key variable is the actual application. Delivering Slurpees five miles to a consumer's backyard? Maybe not so much. Delivering say, Jimmy John's sandwiches to a designated office building pickup location? Much more viable. And as for cost -- Jimmy John's is already sending a driver with as little as one sandwich to my office. Drones just gotta be cheaper!
  • Posted on: 07/25/2016

    White lies, sales fibs and the customer experience

    There's a reason for all those used car salesman jokes -- and it's not good. But the reality is that there's also a reason people keep sending us all those obnoxious fundraising letters and credit card applications -- they eventually get results. So what's a retailer to do? Seems to me the only viable course of action is to lead by example.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2016

    Has social advertising broken through as a purchase driver?

    This is really interesting. For years we marketers and agency types argued that you couldn't accurately measure the direct purchase influence of TV advertising. That it was a "steady drip, drip, drip" that created a brand image that pushed our product into the evoked set of possible products to fill a need when the consumer had that need. And that that effect made our ad dollars well spent. ("Please don't cut my budget Mr. CFO! I promise sales will go up next month when the advertising kicks in!")Now that we have a vehicle that can be measured much more accurately and immediately some want to decry its effectiveness and declare it DOA. I think we missed a train that left the station long ago if we do. There are two distinctly different forms of "social media advertising." That which replicates manufacturer TV ads online should be just about as effective, but they can be much more efficient. Both net cost per impression and the ability to target those impressions drive that efficiency. But the real opportunity is with the second form of social advertising. That form takes the most powerful endorsement -- word of mouth -- and amplifies it throughout a person's social network in an instant. That sword will cut both ways of course. But when it is working for you I don't believe there is any other form of advertising that can be more effective.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2016

    Do wine and beer make for a better shopping experience?

    I thought the wine bar in Mariano's was going to be a home run when it was introduced. It should be a great fit with the excellent onsite food service offering that includes a decent sushi bar. But I have yet to see a single person sitting at the wine bar. One day I was determined to try it at lunch, so I manned up and sat down even though I was solo. The attendant was "away" and I became uncomfortable enough sitting there waiting that I got up and moved on. I can't believe it is "social stigma" in my Chicagoland suburb, but something seems to be holding shoppers back. As for "social shopping," the mention of the Social Safeway in D.C. brought a smile. The Lund's on Lake Avenue in Minneapolis was your Thursday evening destination if you didn't have a date for the weekend yet in the late-'70s. It saved a young, single marketing assistant's social bacon more than once as I recall.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2016

    Are wearables just for the kids?

    Remember when Boomers were considered "too old" to use Facebook? Now they have invaded Instagram and their children/grandchildren are complaining that they have no place left to hide online! Wearables are perhaps a bit different in that they require the adaptation and display of a visible device -- something that makes a much more public statement than our online proclivities. But if my 50-something spouse is any beacon of the future, she has been using her MotoActiv for over five years now, we will adapt -- as always.
  • Posted on: 07/18/2016

    What’s creating the pricing disconnects between retailers and vendors?

    Data can only be effective when either manufacturers or retailers use it in lieu of more fundamental and organic paradigms. That doesn't happen very often -- especially with retailers. Manufacturers want to sell more of their products, anywhere they can, and at optimal profitability. That drives their pricing structure. Retailers want to sell more stuff, in THEIR STORES (or channels), and routinely reach to price as the primary lever after assortment. That drives both their pricing structure and their constant push for lower pricing from manufacturers. This is a gulf bigger than big data.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2016

    Forget Prime Day – It’s Cow Appreciation Day

    Well, I don't know about dressing up like a cow. But as a native of the Southeast U.S. I am a fan of the ubiquitous Chik-fil-A billboards. They truly are iconic in a way that rivals the "See Rock City" barn signs of the 1950s and '60s. What will be really interesting is to see where this promo garners more participation. Will it be in the traditional Southeast markets? Or will the relative newcomers of the Midwest be more likely to put on something bovine to get a free sandwich?
  • Posted on: 07/11/2016

    Will drop-off points boost online sales?

    The benefits to "location-challenged" consumers is clear -- online shopping is now a practical convenience instead of an added hassle versus brick-and-mortar. Equally clear is the benefit for the carriers. What I am waiting to see is the impact for online retailers in terms of expanded potential customer base. If lockers really catch on, there could be an additional 5 to 25 percent of the U.S. population who enter their target audience. That could be a huge boost to penetration of online shopping.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2016

    Are self-checkouts dooming impulse purchases?

    As a dedicated self-checkout shopper, I know I'm "ready to get out of here" when I hit that station. But that doesn't mean I'm not susceptible to picking up something that appeals to me on the way there or even at the last minute. It seems the key is to offer me attractive opportunities that don't inhibit or aggravate me when I am on a mission to get back to whatever it is I was doing.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2016

    Will new gen grocery stores cut waste down to zero?

    Like the commentators before me, I love this idea and applaud all efforts made by both specialty and chain retailers -- especially the chains since this will be so much more difficult, but with so much more impact, when they do something. Whether zero waste will prove to be achievable or sustainable (less likely) is actually a pretty simple question. Consumers always act based on perceived utility. The amount of effort/cost they are willing to bear on an ongoing basis for a benefit (in this case the environmental impact of zero waste) is directly proportional to the perceived utility they associate with it. For most consumers this will mean they won't embrace zero waste options unless and until they present a cost savings they consider to be worth the hassle. And this will be a hassle. I would have trouble achieving a true "zero waste food footprint" if I lived full-time on my farm, only eating food I grow or otherwise harvest. Doing it in suburban America is going to be a real challenge.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2016

    Do retail marketers have an appetite for data science?

    “Can you spell Kmart?” Ha! That one brought a chuckle and recollection of one of the biggest donnybrooks I ever saw between a client IT executive and a third-party provider (us). The argument was over database integration of an acquisition. IT VP said, "piece of cake -- no help needed." My guy said, "spell Kmart." To my amazement we still got the job, including the database integration task.But to the question -- using outsourced data analytics cripples internal marketing teams in a very dangerous way. Whole generations of marketers are reliant on the single interpretation of the data the outside analyst gives them because they don't know how to use the source data or how to deconstruct the "Final Report" they receive to look for other possible conclusions. They are held hostage to one conclusion as gospel when any decent analyst knows there are at least several more that could be equally valid. Give me a data set and tell me what you want it to say and I can get the data to say it. If I have an opinion and you don't, then my opinion is gospel when I report the "results" of the data. But it's not even a question of objectivity really. I'm not saying the outsourced analysts are intentionally misleading clients. It is just that they are only going to give you ONE answer most of the time and that one answer is usually NOT absolute.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2016

    Walmart promotes and takes heat for ‘Made in USA’ goods

    What does "Made in America" mean? Should be simple, right? But not so much. For example, I anticipated a ration of guff when I first rolled into a south Georgia hunting camp in my new Nissan Titan pickup. (Believe me, this is a tougher crowd than TINA.) So I got my facts together in advance. Sure enough, the yard was full of Fords and Chevys and it didn't take long for the "Japanese junk" comments to fly.I escorted the men to the yard and proceeded to open the doors of each truck in turn, reading from the "sourcing" stickers. Ford -- made primarily in Mexico. Chevy -- made primarily in Canada. Nissan -- made primarily in Birmingham, Alabama. What?! "Consternation" can't begin to describe what ensued.So, do we want "American made" to mean "made by an American-owned company" as David Livingston suggests? Or do we want it to mean "made on American soil" regardless of who owns the company? Or do we want it to mean something completely different? Regardless of how we decide that question, I do agree with David that this is primarily a socio-political football and someone will always want to kick it for their own purposes. There's no winning for Walmart on this one because it fits too many political paradigms to deem them charlatans, purveyors of Chinese junk and American job killers.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2016

    Amazon Dash gets a smart button rival

    "Need" a button? I don't know about that."Want" a button? Not sure about that either. And Amazon isn't giving out the numbers that I know of.But there were some very interesting data points shared in a Slice Intelligence webinar here on RetailWire last April. When a Dash button is in the house, only 50 percent of consumers use them. But those 50 percent fulfill virtually 100 percent of their requirements with that brand and the brand commands over a 90 percent share of all category purchases for the household -- regardless of who makes them or where. So it's pretty easy to see why manufacturers aren't willing to stay out of this game for now.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2016

    Once e-tail only, ThinkGeek expands brick-and-mortar presence

    GameStop has been confounding both retail and financial analysts with its ability to embrace cloud gaming in its physical stores. Now it is doing the reverse with ThinkGeek. The key is that GameStop management begins with the core customer benefit of actually being "experiential" and then retrofits the customer experience to that. Whether it is online or physical, that's their real competitive advantage.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2016

    ModCloth backs anti-Photoshop legislation

    And did the ice cubes in the 7 Up ad really spell out "S-E-X"? And if they did, did it sell any more 7 Up? Or was anyone harmed as a result? Are we really so concerned about the ill effects of advertising images (not deceptive advertising -- just enhanced images) that we need Federal regulation when we aren't willing to examine the effects of violence in video games on teen crime rates because it is a First Amendment issue?Good grief.

Contact Ben