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: 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.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2017

    Can live streaming make online customers feel like they’re in-store?

    I agree on the application playing to service/specialty. But not so sure I agree on the need for retailers to become livestream video specialists to make this work. After all, the shoppers tuning in are there for the "live store experience" -- right? So if dad happens to be sharpening his cheese blade while listening to his sons kibitz about last night's fun in the pub -- isn't that "authenticity"?
  • Posted on: 10/27/2017

    Can live streaming make online customers feel like they’re in-store?

    I couldn't resist after watching the video, so we jumped online to order some cheese just to see how the site worked. The live stream of the store is still there, but you can't order product any more -- at least not from the U.S. The English text indicates that functionality may be moving to a different site. My wife's German let us understand enough to have great fun watching though. The shop owner is the kind of character who could definitely go viral.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2017

    Walmart puts robots to work with humans in more stores

    " ... it is keen to use automation “to handle tasks that are repeatable, predictable and manual.”Sounds like a Jeff Bezos quote to me.Of course Walmart (and other retailers) will do this. The hard part will still be getting fallible humans to actually go fix the problems that the robots identify.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2017

    Can live streaming make online customers feel like they’re in-store?

    Remember that discussion we had this week about online shopping and fresh food? What if you could quite literally jump online and tell your local butcher which steak you want out of the counter? I mean really, after all our experience selecting products via online visualizations, would it be that different than standing in front of the counter in the store?
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Retailers need to do a better job delivering groceries

    There's a two part solution to this, but I'm not sure when it will become practical economically. The first part will be to utilize VR technology to allow online shoppers to select an item -- not a category -- an ITEM. I want THAT apple. That apple is digitally reserved into your cart.Part two is fool-proof delivery to prevent bruising, guarantee temperature control, etc. Amazon is close on that one with services like Key. Walmart.com's Fridge isn't nearly as far-fetched as it seems now either. We have been ordering German meats, pretzels, etc. from a place in Wisconsin for years and have never had either product quality or delivery problems. It can be done.But the technology won't be the expensive part. Heck, it won't even be the hard part. That part will be getting the human element that has to physically put the right apple into the right delivery basket in pristine fashion to do its job.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Will Amazon conquer digital advertising platforms next?

    Nailed it Phil.Different platforms with different purposes for the consumer require different brand-building strategies and spends. Amazon to buy stuff = paid ads. Google to find stuff = SEO spending and Facebook to tell friends about stuff = what I call "digital word of mouth." I also second your opinion that Google and Facebook are doing just fine with building their own ad streams. The ad spend numbers, their profitability and their stock price all bear that out.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Nike turns its back on ‘undifferentiated, mediocre’ retailers

    I think this can work -- for Nike. For Bounty paper towels, not so much. While Nike may be on an "out cycle" as Paula put it, they are still an iconic brand. And they will need to portray faux exclusivity with special editions, endorsers and even their availability to maintain that position. Think Frango Mints in Marshall Fields. This could be a big part of that strategy.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2017

    Amazon to begin making in-home deliveries in 37 cities

    Amazon is probing a critical cultural aspect of how pervasive (and invasive) consumers are willing to let them be. Once the psychological sanctity of the "castle" is penetrated, Amazon will have essentially become a trusted family member. One afforded relatively free access to the home, but also trusted to select others (Merry Maids or whomever) to grant and police access to the home as well. This will not be successful on package delivery alone. It depends on consumers being willing to make Amazon the service provider gatekeeper to the castle.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2017

    Can Barneys tap into ‘drop’ culture?

    Think Mecum Auto auctions for Millennials (or Sotheby's art auctions for millionaires.)This is all about the exclusivity of the event. Just being there is a social statement in and of itself. No self-respecting NYC Millennial would miss an event like this. They would lose their cred!Sarcasm aside, events like this are driven by the "need to be seen" among the target audience. By setting the stage (literally) for this to be a can't-miss event for Millennials, Barneys is also setting the stage for a huge success.

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