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: 09/07/2016

    Can pop-ups wake up mall traffic?

    The move to "entertainment center + shopping" has been great for malls in our area. Pop-ups are great for variety and novelty — especially unique ideas like the Museum of Ice Cream. The danger for the anchor stores is that they lose shopper attention. But if you have no traffic, you are dead anyway, so the pop-ups can't hurt — at least initially. But too many pop-ups makes for mall-turned-bazaar-turned-carnival. Sooner or later the novelty wears off and traffic dies. And no one remembers why they used to go to the mall in the first place.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2016

    Schnucks bans solicitors from outside its stores

    I see this as a goose and gander issue. No doubt many will decry the decision to ban the Salvation Army and the Girl Scouts because they are "good organizations." But how many of those same folks would be upset if a legalized marijuana group set up in front of their local grocery store and would demand that the store either banish them or face the media barrage and calls for boycotts sure to follow? We're either tolerant or we aren't. (Caveat: I have no idea whether any of this played into Schnucks' thinking -- or rather if they are just putting up a stonewall to the unions. It could very easily be the latter.)
  • Posted on: 09/01/2016

    Amazon to test 30-hour week

    This concept has great merit for semi-retirees who want to ease their way out and for folks who want or need a reduced involvement in their careers. Testing the concept with complete "work groups" as I have read Amazon will do to keep the work flow consistent across a team seems to me to be a recipe for reduced productivity. Either that or the teams will prove that they really can accomplish as much in a highly-focused 30-hour week as they can in a 40-hour week that almost certainly includes some "me time." That just may prove true. But I don't see how the company can maintain equal "career tracks" between the 30 and 40(+) hour workers. It can work fine in small firms. But I doubt it can work in corporations -- even one as inventive as Amazon.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2016

    Is the Millennial car shopper Amazon’s next big audience?

    This just may be the Armageddon of show rooming. The pitched battle that will ensue when Amazon starts offering to fulfill the order for a vehicle the customer "specs out" at the dealer showroom will be epic. On top of the deep dealer contract obligations there are state-by-state legal restrictions in place to protect those dealerships as well. Just ask Tesla. But this will happen. And eventually those dealers will be fulfilling orders for Amazon -- just like they do for Costco shoppers.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2016

    Can Best Buy build momentum with new services and IoT?

    Wow! Are we all really going to agree on something? Well -- hate to disappoint, but -- I agree. Best Buy lived in this space for consumers in the '80s, '90s and into the current century. Online retailing of electronics put a big dent in the "just go pick up a TV" business and hurt Best Buy for a while. But this is where they should shine again -- in the "how the heck do I make this work?" space for Boomers on down. The bloom will stay on that rose until the IoT programmers develop the Bluetooth equivalent of the universal phone charger port. When everything talks to everything else without us having to do anything. I give it 10 years.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2016

    Amazon tests one-click product placement

    The environment is the key to this one -- and it will be a success. Impulse merchandising is critical in food sales. What better environment than the wildly popular cooking shows? We watch a few regularly and I am certain that more of those ingredients/dishes wound up on our shopping list since Alexa came to live with us. This would make even that seem laborious. Amazon gets shopper involvement better than most retailers. Another great example.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2016

    How much will POS malware attack cost Eddie Bauer?

    I actually think consumers are getting a bit numb to the "we've been hacked" notices. Not that they have moved into the "just deal with it" world of robo-calls. But hacks have occurred often enough and with enough different retailers that consumers know it is not due to some unique sloppiness on the part of the latest retailer affected. As a result, the impact on sales of a hack attack should soften. Except for those consumers who are burdened with having their personal data compromised. The sting of that experience will likely keep them away from the retailer that caused their pain for quite a while.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2016

    Will other brands follow Birkenstock in cutting off Amazon?

    "I can't win the game because you don't play fair. So I'm just not going to play with you at all -- even if your game is the retailing equivalent of the Olympics." So -- how did that attitude work out for you when you were a kid? Did the game stop? Did no one else show up to play just because you weren't there? This sort of childish behavior will likely net Birkenstock a very similar result to what you experienced as a kid. Poor move. You have to fight where the fight is.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2016

    Are supermarkets digitally disconnected from retailing reality?

    Amen, Ryan!Too many grocers and CPG execs don't realize the the "path to purchase" hasn't just changed -- it's not even a path any more -- it's more like an ecosystem. Call it "the 360 Consumer Experience." As a result "doing digital" is more of a check the box thing for these execs. Kind of like "doing category management" used to be.I can just imagine the conversation in the C-suite hallway:CEO Doug: "Say Tom, I've got that Q3 analyst call coming up next week and the P.R. guys tell me to be sure we have digital covered. We are doing digital, right?"Marketing VP Tom: "You bet Doug. We hired a digital marketing manager last month and she has engaged a digital marketing agency. We expect to be online with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram next quarter."CEO: "Good stuff Tom. Let me know how it goes and be sure and get me an ROI number on digital for the Q4 call."And the part about why is digital right for us? Or what are our objectives with digital? Or how does digital work to enhance our user community? All that stuff? Not so much.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2016

    Why is Target making nice with Amazon?

    Why, it's just another one of those "purely coincidental timing ... " things that seem to be going around right now. Has nothing at all to do with Walmart's stealth advances to Nothing at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure Target announced this back in January ... didn't they?
  • Posted on: 07/29/2016

    Dollar General grows where Walmart closes

    It's a safe bet that Walmart didn't pick bad locations. So why not put an optimized format for the space there? Makes total sense. Or as the refinance your mortgage guy on Chicago radio says, "it's the biggest no-brainer in the history of Earth!"
  • 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.

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