PROFILE

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.

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  • Posted on: 07/21/2017

    Did Amazon just send Sears a life line with their Kenmore deal?

    Sears signaled their strategy to act as "brand marketers" when they set up Park's division with their three strongest consumer franchises under it: Craftsman; DieHard and Kenmore. The Craftsman brand has gotten the most retail expansion action to date -- but most of that has been brick-and-mortar alliances such as Ace Hardware. Pretty standard stuff. But this link to Amazon carries incremental advantage by adding the smart home link to Alexa. The downside is that Amazon has never shown any tendency to create brand exclusive alliances for its technology. Other appliance brands will be sporting Alexa connectivity as well. Any competitive advantage Kenmore gains with Kenmore Smart and Amazon distribution will quickly disappear.
  • Posted on: 07/18/2017

    Is online fulfillment from stores too complex for e-grocery?

    It is probably a very good thing for all grocery retailers that Amazon decided to jump into this space fairly early on. Otherwise, the lousy experience traditional supermarket inventory availability and delivery/customer service are dishing out would have very likely killed the online order grocery baby before it ever reached adolescence.Amazon will reassure online shopping junkies that the same level of service they have come to expect in other categories can be had in grocery shopping. Then other retailers will have to step up their inventory management and order accuracy or die. Fortunately for those traditional grocery retailers, the combination of affordable AI and IoT technologies can save them -- if they take advantage soon enough. And "soon enough" is now.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2017

    Should Walmart restrict carriers from working with Amazon?

    Walmart loses this battle on all counts -- including using AWS (eventually).Wrong battleground. Wrong battle plan.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2017

    Is QVC’s acquisition of HSN more about TV shopping or e-commerce?

    Unless QVC/HSN has some online treasure hunt rabbit in their hat that no one else does, I think you nailed it Ryan. But there may be one as they use their pitch-person videos to replicate the TV show persona online. We all say the audience for this concept is dying -- but I think my sisters were in their 30s when they got hooked on HSN. Millenials just might be as susceptible to a digital delivery of the same old pitch today. But I doubt it, too.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2017

    Is QVC’s acquisition of HSN more about TV shopping or e-commerce?

    Or go the other way and reduce the cost of marketing to the shared audience by only having one site and brand?
  • Posted on: 06/30/2017

    Is inept forecasting holding back online fulfillment?

    "Forecasting" (aka -- guessing future demand based on history) is and always will be imperfect at best. The solution is the link of AI and IoT in every location and fixture where an item is warehoused, stocked or merchandised. When a retailer's inventory management system is being told directly and in real time that a unit of SKU 2378 just got removed from Store 54 or Bin 36 or whatever -- and the same system is using AI to create constantly adaptive restocking processes -- it is possible to envision a world of zero out-of-stocks. At least those that are forecast error-related. This applies equally to online, brick-and-mortar and omnichannel retailers, it doesn't matter. Toss in block chain technology to eliminate the transaction errors and the retail operations world starts to look like a much better place.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2017

    Did Walgreens and Rite Aid just work out a better deal for their businesses?

    This is a masterstroke for Walgreens. They get all the value they were seeking and none of the less-desirable stores. And the FTC will be hard-pressed to argue with such a "dramatic concession" in the deal -- in my non-legal opinion of course.As for leaving Rite Aid as a strong regional chain, that's tough to see. It looks a lot more like a PE play for the real estate with an opportunity to take it through a bankruptcy to get rid of all the weak assets and costs (like labor) first to me.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2017

    What happens when you put a c-store on wheels?

    The interesting thing about this concept is that it combines the benefits of automated merchandising ("vending" for those of us who still remember cigarette machines in gas stations) for on-demand availability and mobile for on-location availability. Combining the two benefits is undeniably attractive. Is Moby Mart the ultimate execution? Of course not. What execution is the "ultimate" in this world of constant innovation? But something will be. And it won't take as long as most of us think.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2017

    Will Sears get traction with its new appliance and mattress store concept?

    I think it is one of the best shots they've got. We have a very successful similar appliance concept store here in Chicago, ABT, though they have pushed the concept further into electronics and other larger-ticket home items recently. Sears may have a stronger concept by keeping the category selection even more targeted and concentrating on breadth of selection and one-stop showrooming. Sort of a physical embodiment of Amazon, maybe.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2017

    Is e-commerce making vendor compliance programs more important?

    Supply chain and vendor compliance are not my wheelhouse for sure. But in the spirit of the question posed -- I recently had a client, C-level operations person, remark at dinner, "You haven't met vendor compliance until you meet Amazon."
  • Posted on: 06/23/2017

    Should brands ditch the slang?

    +1. (Oops, is that "slang")You hit the key points in less than 100 key strokes, Tom. It's all about authenticity. As a fan of edgy writing -- often employing my native colloquialisms in my analogies and commentary -- I have learned first hand that it doesn't always work for everyone. And that is coming from an individual. For a brand the bar goes much, much higher. One of the best examples of successful use of slang by a brand far predated Twitter. That was the use of the Chester Cheetah character for the Cheetos brand. The Cheetos mouse could never have gotten away with the persona that Chester could carry as a "cool dude in a loose mood."And one of the worst examples comes from the same brand stable -- one that shows that it goes beyond authenticity and extends to the tone struck with all your audiences. While still the highest recall advertising ever done for the Fritos Brand, and although only being on air for less than 18 months, the Frito Bandito hit all the wrong notes at the wrong time for a large part of the brand audience.To quote Augustus Macrae in Lonesome Dove, "Aye god Woodrow, this is tricky business ... "
  • Posted on: 06/22/2017

    Does Costco need to significantly undercut Amazon’s prices?

    Hi Ron: Late to the party today so nothing of substance to add -- but I am curious about your experience with Costco digital marketing. I get emails with weekly flyers, one-off specials and other "treasure hunt temptations" at the rate of two or more a week.As far as I know, the only thing that I have done "special" is order from Costco.com a few times and not opt "out" of their emails.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2017

    Will UPS’s Black Friday delivery surcharge have retailers seeing red?

    Consumers will wind up paying for this. They always do. They pay for everything. The only question is how the "Value Added Tax" (aka the variable margin earned) gets distributed among all the participants in the supply chain.In this case, I predict that the retailer's variable margin earned on peak holiday sales just decreased by 27 cents per package. As for consumer shopping behavior changing, retailers treat customers the way grandparents treat new babies -- who's going to be the first one to tell them no?
  • Posted on: 06/14/2017

    How smart is Jet.com’s decision to delist Costco’s Kirkland brand?

    If Walmart/Sam's is truly serious about offering superior products with Member's Mark, they are missing a heck of an opportunity here! Like many here, I am a complete Costco/Kirkland convert. I would never try a Member's Mark branded product -- even if the description or price of that product could tempt me to -- because I will never see it.So! If Sam's Club wants to tempt me with competitive Member's Mark offerings that are now as good as, or better than both national brands and Kirkland, why not merchandise them on the Jet.com website right next to the comparable Kirkland product? Offer me an incentive to try the Member's Mark brand when I put the Kirkland item in my shopping cart. That's competitive marketing strategy!Phil Kotler would be ashamed.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2017

    Has Rainbow Shops created a compensation model aligned with omnichannel realities?

    Hi Alex! Not sure if I have seen you post before -- but I like the way you think!Treating an area or vertical or population segment -- pick the right segmentation scheme for your business -- as one integrated population to be served through multiple channels is absolutely the future.As for the downsides, the biggest is that employees in the brick-and-mortar channel begin to depend on the ever-growing online sales to generate their paychecks for them.With regards to the Rainbow Shops system -- I am curious as to why they structured store returns of online purchases as a "negative sale" for the store? If they somehow know that the item was purchased online (and it appears they do) why not have the store account for that return in some "off the store books" system instead of letting it penalize the store?

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