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: 12/08/2017

    Amazon is (quietly) upending private branding. Will others follow?

    The difference between a private label and a proprietary (or private) brand is retail owner identification. The secret to a successful private brand program has always been to build a stand-alone brand -- not piggyback off the retailer's name with a cheaper clone. That is, unless the retailer IS the brand a la Lands' End or Eddie Bauer. Understanding this difference has been the source of the continued underdevelopment of private brand share in the U.S. versus Europe for decades.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2017

    Would CVS + Aetna = lower healthcare costs?

    Net costs will probably be lowered -- by shifting service provision from higher cost sources (i.e. hospitals and doctors) to lower-cost sources like clinics and nurse practitioners. That's not necessarily a bad thing as one of the legitimate criticisms of the U.S. healthcare ecosystem is that we have been trained to go to the E.R. for a hangnail. Whether it will give CVS pricing leverage within their markets and services provided -- most likely yes, but does anyone really think they are going to get to occupy this space without both brick-and-mortar and online competition for long? I don't.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2017

    Should marketers personalize products using consumers’ DNA?

    On one hand, this idea represents a logical extension of the trend toward applying traditional in-office or lab procedures to "retail medicine." Why shouldn't we have all the best information and recommendations possible delivered automatically in the form of customized nutrition, skin care or health care?On the other it is a pretty large step toward a world where we surrender our judgment and accountability for our own well-being to some AI-driven network. We have to wonder how long it will be before someone begins to manipulate that network for their own goals -- perhaps just profit, maybe something else. At a minimum I can see the potential for manipulating the market for a certain supplement by simply determining that "everyone needs more Vitamin XYZ in their diet" and then adding it.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2017

    Barnes & Noble wants to get smaller, more bookish

    The world will always have a place for physical media and the stores that house them. At least, that's what I believe. Whether it is vinyl, paper or celluloid -- there is just something about examining and purchasing a physical item and taking it home to enjoy that is rewarding. Maybe a bit like opening Christmas presents?But I don't think a return to the "corner bookstore" is the answer to Barnes & Noble's current woes. Hopefully the new stores are more than that. One thing I didn't note in the description of the stores is whether they will maintain the coffee shops. Losing that aspect of the experience would be a step backwards I think.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2017

    It’s good to be Home Depot

    Part of this is just cyclical -- but that's the nature of retail. Lowe's and Menards have been doing pretty well lately also. Props to Home Depot for being well prepared to meet the needs of their customers in their DIY specialty segment. What they have done well is understand what the critical elements of the customer experience are for key need types. For example, BORIS (credits to Ken Lonyai for that one) is particularly important if you had a new mitre saw delivered to your home and you need to return it. You do NOT want to repackage and ship that sucker. But as Paula points out, Frank Blake made sure Home Depot was just as inviting to the lay-person wanting to buy spray paint or cleaning supplies as it is to the hard-core DIYer or the pro. Well played all around Home Depot!
  • Posted on: 11/28/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Walmart

    I've got to give Walmart props for focusing on the facts that matter and differentiate: free two-day shipping -- with no membership fees. (Though I might have made the last phrase bold and in all caps.)But Amazon wins on the messaging for me. Having the packages "be the love" is brilliant.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2017

    Customer data is grocery’s new battleground

    Customer data could transform the grocery shopping experience -- but it probably won't. The reason is that the grocery shopping experience is fundamentally about a physical retail environment serviced by a rigid and uniform supply chain. Tweaks and variations are possible of course, some that will make a meaningful difference in the CX. But transformation would require a complete rework of the business system -- and that will be too expensive and too hard for the majority. Some of the strongest will evolve over time with a gradual migration to new systems -- Walmart, Kroger and now Whole Foods come to mind. Others will thrive by serving consumers who prefer the current CX to online or delivery and doing what they do now very well. Some of the strongest or highly differentiated regionals -- H-E-B, Wegmans and Sprouts -- come to mind in that group.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2017

    Does it matter if social media is getting a bad rep?

    The critical question for Facebook and other social media sites when it comes to advertising revenue is "are they losing eyeballs?" So far, that looks to be a no. The survey data cited simply shows that users are wise to the fact that public forums are ripe for manipulation and that everyone who posts has an attitude and an angle. The criteria for trusting social media content is the same as for trusting water-cooler gossip -- who's it coming from?
  • Posted on: 11/22/2017

    Amazon launches exclusive with Calvin Klein

    Exclusives are a great fit for Amazon. The "virtual shelf" provides the perfect operational environment for one-off and exclusive line promotion. The strategy also fits Amazon's goal of being a mainline retailer. Just as Target leveraged exclusive designer lines to differentiate, so can Amazon.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Is workplace collaboration a drag for headquarters personnel?

    It is important not to confuse correspondence (quantity) with communication (understanding) with collaboration (agreement and action). One does not necessarily beget the next. Unfortunately, the plethora of tools available to us today only enable the first -- correspondence.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Amazon undercuts rivals by adding discounts to marketplace seller prices

    So what's new?(N.B. the comments below generally pertain to FMCG products. Luxury brands trying to maintain a price image do have more of a problem. But that is why they didn't sell through "mass" outlets to begin with. And you can't get much more "mass" in the online world than selling on Amazon.)I am having flashbacks to panic meetings with OTC client sales teams. Walmart would demand retribution when Walgreens would run their items at BOGO pricing every other week -- Walgreens' way of combating Walmart's EDLP price positioning. Walmart would argue there was no way Walgreens could do that -- due to higher system costs -- if the pricing structure was "fair and equitable." The answer "that's how they choose to invest their margin" was seldom accepted. In this case the shoe is on the other foot with the 600-pound gorilla doing the self-funded discounting instead of the challenger. Otherwise the dynamics are the same. Welcome to the wonderful world of retailing.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Can Kroger make a name for itself in fashion?

    Quite frankly, I can't imagine what they're thinking. One of the things we keep saying retailers need to do is think of their franchise as a brand -- not just the end of a distribution chain. And one of the first rules of branding (albeit one of the hardest to obey) is to know the limits of your brand. To understand what consumers will accept as being a legitimate extension of your brand image. While Meijer has some room here as a mass merchant, or even Walmart whose brand is still mass before food in consumer's minds, it is almost inconceivable that this could really work for Kroger or any other "food-first" retailer.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Arby’s has the meat – and it’s gamey

    The U.S. lags the rest of the world -- particularly Europe and Australia -- in its consumption of "exotic" meats in general. Much more rabbit, venison and wild boar hits the tables of Europe and it has always been a delicacy. Arby's simply matched their core positioning with U.S. consumers' quest for new dining experiences.One thing worth pointing out it that all the "exotic" or "game" meats sold commercially are farm-raised and USDA inspected just like any other meat. It is illegal to sell any true wild game or sport-caught fish for any reason in the U.S. In fact, the vast majority of venison served in the U.S. is fallow deer sourced from New Zealand.There are plenty of reasons to eat all-natural, minimally-processed organic meats that make them attractive. Flavor, low fat and cholesterol and no additives or supplements. Wild venison (not sure about Arby's burgers) actually is lower in cholesterol than lean domestic turkey breast.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2017

    American Eagle invites college kids to do their laundry

    "Has to be accompanied by something to do — coffee, Wi-Fi, desks, etc." "Desks"??? What ever would a college student do at a desk? I'm still going with free beer.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2017

    American Eagle invites college kids to do their laundry

    Sorry, but no. Carry my dirty laundry into a Manhattan retail space to hang out? I don't think so. And free laundry can't be that big a deal anyway. I can't believe this is answering a huge need for NYC college students.Free beer? Maybe that would work.

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