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: 04/25/2017

    Can tailored digital video messaging transform grocery end-caps?

    It is going to be very hard to separate the impact of the personalized messaging from the "wow factor" of the display vehicle itself for the first several months at least. For now, Coke certainly has first-mover advantage in the stores with this type of display. That advantage may well be extended by the sheer volume and value of their category and brand. The advantage will only be available to smaller categories and brands when the retailer has permanent installations that can be rented on a promotional basis. The biggest question in my mind is, what will happen to the effectiveness as the technology becomes commonplace? If it ever does?
  • Posted on: 04/21/2017

    How will Walmart’s price cutting affect Kroger and other rivals?

    If this continues, and I believe it will, get ready for zero growth in both units AND dollars in the grocery industry for the foreseeable future. Industry forecasts are already pretty unanimous in calling for flat unit growth and nominal dollar growth equal to pricing -- roughly 2 percent to 2.5 percent.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2017

    Will Amazon’s on-demand manufacturing create trouble for fast-fashion?

    Spot on analysis, Tony! Bezos's original model focused on efficient disruption of fulfilling routine consumer needs with more convenient, and usually cheaper, options. That Amazon has that down pat is not in question. The subtle shift I have seen from Amazon in the last few years is that they now seem to have at least a "sub-strategy" of looking for categories where the margins are so great that they can work their disruption magic at a profit. That doesn't mean Bezos will stop investing most of those profits in moon shots -- he won't. But it does mean he will be able to keep stockholders a little happier with increasing profitability to go with meteoric growth and unparalleled innovation.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2017

    Can SpartanNash use BOPIS to take personalization to the next level?

    I got booed out of the gym (or off the discussion board) the last time I said this -- but I'm gonna say it again. If the SpartanNash definition of BOPIS is literally "pick up in store" this will only be marginally successful. The biggest hassle shoppers are trying to avoid with online ordering and collection is going into the store in the first place. If SpartanNash solves that with curbside delivery of the order to the shopper's car -- preferably waiting for them when their mobile app pings the store that they are 5 minutes away, fresh from the refrigerated/frozen holding area where it was placed after picking -- then they have something.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2017

    BrainTrust throwdown: Is it inevitable that tech companies will dominate retail?

    Wow! Looks like everyone wanted in on this one! Great idea, arguments and comments -- kudo's all 'round!Here's the thing that struck me. "The future belongs to retailers that can exploit technology, not the other way around." I completely agree with that statement. But within it lies the great danger, the implication being that pure play "e-tailers" aren't real "retailers." I doubt that Ryan actually meant it that way. Or perhaps it was included as part of his "assigned position." (My favorite National Forensics League event was Extemporaneous Argument -- no one here surprised by that I suppose ... ha!)But I think the comment does give voice to a grave misconception running through our industry, analogous to the thinking that led us to call retailer owned brands "private label" instead of the more appropriate "proprietary brands." We didn't want to think of those retailers as true brand owners like the manufacturers and we were wrong. We are equally wrong not to think of online retailers as "true retailers."
  • Posted on: 04/04/2017

    Why haven’t customer surveys gone mobile?

    Ironically, I drove to work this morning listening to my co-worker/wife answering a pretty intricate survey on her smartphone. She completed it using voice recognition. And the survey was about Alexa and her proficiency at voice recognition and giving actionable answers. Since this is a subject of interest to her, my wife was willing to commit around 10 minutes to the survey.The actionable takeaway from my parable is that consumers devote time and effort to giving feedback to brands in equal measure to the involvement they have with the product and the utility they derive from it. The same person who will spend 10 minutes engaged with a mobile phone to "help Alexa learn" wouldn't spend 10 seconds on any device to answer a survey about land line phone service.Even if the target respondent is engaged with the brand at some level, the length and frequency of the request for feedback has to fit the depth of that relationship. A one-answer survey that pops up on my phone every time I leave Starbucks ("Did you enjoy your visit today? Yes or no.") will get a high response rate. An invitation to go online and take a 20-minute survey at the bottom of my Kroger receipt will be roundly ignored.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2017

    Is social media influence the new key to building brand loyalty?

    I didn't even bother to read the article on this one, so my apologies to Mr. Alaimo. But I didn't have to in order to answer the question posed. At least, the one posed by the headline.No. Word of mouth from trusted influencers is still the key to building brand trial and, combined with delivering the brand promise, the key to brand loyalty as well. Social media is just the new forum for word of mouth. Maybe we could call it "word of text" or "word of Twitter" -- but it's still the same old thing.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2017

    Is ‘wantedness’ something that marketers need?

    Good grief. Our propensity for dreaming up new ways to express constant truisms will never cease to amaze. We started out with "high touch -- low touch" and have evolved to "wantedness." It's still all about brands that deliver their promise and retailers that deliver great customer service and meet shopper needs for a segment better than anyone else geographically accessible to that shopper which, with online shopping, means anywhere in the world.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2017

    Will being more like Home Depot work for J.C. Penney?

    "It's beginning to look a lot like a Sears store -- everywhere I go ... "OK, bad Christmas jingle pun. It's snowing in Chicago for the first time since December and I'm feeling a little giddy this morning.But seriously, maybe there is an opportunity for someone to do "Sears" right again. There were always parts of it that worked -- mostly Craftsman and Kenmore.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2017

    Are retailers ‘blind’ to digital marketing’s flaws?

    Digital is like every other media -- it works when tightly targeted and seldom pays back in the typical "spray and pray" approach. Digital is definitely the "shiny new object" -- but a little bit of that is nomenclature (sort of like the way in-store demos have become "experiential marketing") -- digital can either be direct mail on a different device or it can be broadcast advertising. It's all about using the right approach for the right purpose. And yes, John Wanamaker, half of our advertising dollars are still wasted -- and we still don't know which half.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2017

    Are free returns a good way to drive online sales?

    I was going to write about how my spouse uses the free returns feature for Zappos and others for categories like clothes and shoes where fit and "trying it on" are so important. Now I don't have to. ;-)Until the "virtual dressing room" (complete with accurate sizing) becomes a reality, the liberal returns policy is going to be a must for retailers in these categories.
  • Posted on: 03/07/2017

    Will using Uber for home deliveries work for Kroger?

    Tony, you raise a great point (or maybe a "counterpoint"?) which is how the delivery of groceries by Uber is perceived. Clearly, Kroger is treating it as a single order going directly to a single home -- no more risky than any given consumer driving the groceries home in their car. And much the same way restaurants that deliver one-off take-out orders use cabs or Uber drivers. But will the court view it that way when someone sues Kroger for the salmonella they contracted due to receiving warm meat? Which standard will the court apply? That this is a "one-off" independent transaction and not subject to the same rules your catering trucks or a Domino's driver are? As Stephen Kouzoumis used to say: "hmmmm........"
  • Posted on: 03/07/2017

    Will the joking stop now that IKEA furniture can be assembled in minutes?

    Jamie, can I get the website on that?
  • Posted on: 03/07/2017

    Will the joking stop now that IKEA furniture can be assembled in minutes?

    Now who will need to update "IKEA for Dummies"?A rite of "first living space" passage will disappear for generations. Though truth be told, it is only those living in urban centers who have ready access to the IKEA experience.The good news is that there is still a plurality of the population living in flyover country who know how to actually build stuff.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2017

    Should grocers open slow checkout lanes for seniors?

    It's that "research thing" again. You have to know how people are hearing the question that you thought you asked.My father-in-law is a widower of 84. One of his primary activities of the day is to shop. It gets him out of the house. He never buys more than he will use that day. And often goes to multiple stores for items that are readily available "just to get more exercise."I don't think these seniors are saying they want a "slow lane" for them to stand in even longer. What they are saying is that they use shopping as one of their key social interactions and they want a lane where they can walk right up to a cashier and have them chat as long as they like without anyone behind them to push them along. You would need one lane per person to satisfy what I believe these folks are actually seeking.

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