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: 12/13/2018

    Will the maker movement inspire a new creative direction for malls?

    I hear you on "maker" versus "crafter" Georgeanne. Reminds me of a Quixotic tilt I went on some years back to get people to refer to "Proprietary Brands" instead of Private Label. It does seem that a broader spectrum of entrepreneurs are adopting "maker" however. For example, my nephew's company has pioneered 360 data visualization for a number of applications -- their passion being education. Their biggest clients are NASA (JPL) and NOA. But when he showed me the new 3D printer he and his son are using to print the prototype parts for their latest patent application -- the younger referred to themselves as "makers." I doubt anyone would refer to what they do as a "craft." Of course, none of this changes the discussion as it pertains to today's RW discussion. It's just interesting to me to watch how the lexicon evolves.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2018

    Will the maker movement inspire a new creative direction for malls?

    The biggest issue for "makers" (which we used to simply call "crafters") has always been access and visibility to buyers. The concept of a centralized display location has successfully met that need for centuries -- ranging from the medieval bazaar to the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, NC today. But it is a store or two in a larger retail concept, not the salvation of malls in America.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2018

    Should Amazon buy Target?

    The analysis makes sense, but it has one big assumption that I question. Namely, does Amazon think it needs a physical retail presence beyond the fresh food category? That consumers aren't enthusiastic about buying fresh food from a brown box on their doorstep has been made woefully obvious by the success of click and collect. But do they need the same for women's apparel? I think not. Mr. Munster makes another point that I personally think is more interesting -- Amazon's strength is logistics, so here's a take-over idea in a different vein. Why doesn't Amazon take over the USPS? Strike a deal that saves the service but relieves the new venture of the pension commitments that are strangling it going forward. Of course, the U.S. taxpayer will still have to sort out the current mess. Sort of a GM bail-out in reverse. Amazon gets to own the last mile, the U.S. gets a more efficient mail service and USPS employees get an employer that is viable long term. The idea won't be popular in certain quarters -- no doubt about that -- but it could work.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2018

    Will Walgreens win the prescription delivery race?

    If I am sick, the last thing I want to do is wait 24 hours to get my drugs. My "maintenance" med subscriptions are all on pre-scheduled home delivery and the provider is prescribed by an alliance — CVS need not apply if you are on BC/BS! You use WAG or pay retail. When these two categories are excluded, I'm not sure how much prescription volume is left to benefit from next day delivery. This seems more of a perceptual compensation (who wants to wait more than 24 hours for anything these days — so 2015!) than meeting a real consumer need.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2018

    Enjoy Life connects with consumers ‘one-to-one’

    Certainly no argument with any of Mr. Warady's marketing principles. But "one-on-one" marketing needs a "single thing or need" to concentrate on to be enough to carry the primary marketing load. The allergy-specific need and the food based product line is broad enough to make a decent market, yet specific enough that sufferers can be isolated and you know they will be receptive to the message. People with allergies gotta eat too!
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    What are the omnichannel challenges facing e-tailers opening stores?

    I found it quite interesting that Professor Gallino differentiates between the online world and the "real world," most likely using "real world" and "physical world" interchangeably. It may be more useful to accept that the "real world" now had two parallel universes, the online and the physical. The biggest challenge for the online retailer entering the physical retail world is to understand and accept the limitations of the physical world. Limitations that largely do not exist in the online ecosystem. The online world accommodates virtually unlimited inventory that is constantly available to every shopper with a connected device and a credit card. It is much more difficult to get the right 10,000 items in front of the right shopper in the right place and time. And then do that in up to three or four thousand locations.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2018

    Kroger walks away from Raleigh-Durham

    Because Harris Teeter is the stronger banner in the market and has the best chance to compete successfully with a Publix/Wegmans challenge. In fragmented markets it is better to establish one strong horse than to compete with yourself.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2018

    Macy’s taps staff for their influencer clout

    This is absolutely the right way to go, with two important caveats. First, make sure the execution does not fall into traditional "advertising speak." It has to be an authentic person-to-person endorsement. Second, remember that ALL employees can access social media and be influencers of their own volition. And the people motivated to do so will often be ones with an ax of some sort to grind with the company. Actively managing your employee engagement to ensure positive online presence from ALL employees is critical. Several studies have shown rank and file employees to be much more influential in social media than corporate spokespeople.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2018

    Retailers ready to battle card companies over one-click payments

    Shopper convenience will eventually trump everything else. But at one level this is just a digital version of the "razor and blade" replenishment scheme. Visa and Mastercard are looking for a technological advantage to reclaim control of the payment processing transactions -- and fees.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2018

    Publix pulls political funding amid anti-gun protests

    Corporate political donations now carry the same risk as celebrity endorsements -- if you place your bets you take your chances. If some event occurs, whether the fault of the politician or the celebrity involved or not, the reputation of the donor can be tarnished among some portion of its patrons. Handling that from a public relations perspective has always been tricky business but it's pretty easy for everyone to get behind not liking a criminal or a pervert. With political issues that becomes doubly difficult because you won't have consensus -- some patrons will applaud your decision to continue or discontinue your support and others will vehemently disapprove. The company has to make a choice between the two.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2018

    Amazon bans chronic returners

    There will always be a small number who push the "long tail" of any group far to the right. Like a good statistician eliminates the "long tail" from the data set to get a more accurate result, so too must retailers eliminate this group of policy abusers. It won't hurt one bit.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2018

    Will store-within-a-store concepts make Hy-Vee’s more attractive destinations?

    The mention of Schnucks and Volpi Foods struck me as central to the store-within-a-store theme. By featuring Basin, Hy-Vee is introducing a brand and products only tangential to grocery. By featuring Volpi, Schnucks is introducing a super-premium brand of a core offering in meat. Which is the better strategy? The argument for less competitive/more incremental goes to Hy-Vee and Basin. But the argument for relevance and core market served has to go to Schnucks and Volpi. I'd love to see the results comparing store traffic (probably not much increase for either approach), gross sales and net incremental sales and profit for each concept! Which would you bet on? My bet is on Hy-Vee and Basin -- for the first three to six months. At the end of Year One I'm going with Schnucks and Volpi.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2018

    Is an on-demand workforce heading to retail’s selling floors?

    Joanna, please do not be discouraged by the number of "red thumbs" on your comments today. Remember that those red thumbs do not mean that you are wrong -- only that a majority of the members of our community are working with a different paradigm. And that's what we all do, apply our own paradigms to the discussions posed here. Can't call that a bad thing either, because it is quite literally the only way we humans are capable of behaving. So keep slinging your own thoughts. We benefit by hearing from all quarters.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2018

    Is an on-demand workforce heading to retail’s selling floors?

    There may be a silver lining in this trend for people who want to work but have significant restrictions on when and where they can. One of the reasons for the low unemployment rate is that U.S. labor participation rates overall are also at historic lows. Some portion of that idle labor pool is comprised of people who would like to work but need significant flexibility to call their own schedules. Maybe this will give them that opportunity. From the employer's perspective, this model has worked for agricultural and construction jobs for years. Day laborers are common, competent and relatively effective. So there is a place for this model. But I still think it is sub-optimal for retailers versus having a pool of trained full and part-time workers to meet all their scheduling needs.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2018

    Etsy succeeds with its Amazon-opposite approach

    Etsy is Amazon proof in much the same way that the Grove Park Artisan's Arcade in Asheville, NC is insulated from the local Walmart. Mr. Silverman's comment that "if you can buy 1,000 of anything, it doesn't belong on Etsy" sums up the strategy perfectly. Now, if Etsy can just stick to their knitting....

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