PROFILE

Ben Ball

Senior Vice President, Dechert-Hampe (retired)

As Senior Vice President for Dechert-Hampe, Ben specialized 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 worked 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: 06/27/2022

    Kellogg thinks it makes more sense apart than together

    I took interest in this weekend news as Kellogg was a long-time client back when. Neil commented that the three divisions have essentially been separate companies for years and I would agree. Others have commented that this is largely a Wall Street move and, again, I would agree. K has been a growth stock (snacks) with a value stock (cereal) ticker hung around its neck for the last five years or more. Missed the boat on that one for sure. As you point out Ryan, the high inflation/lower growth days are here but I don't think that hurts the snack division. The irony of that market is that when consumers can't buy big rewards for themselves they buy more little rewards. And that's what snacks and confectionery are — little rewards. So when K spins and splits, hang on to both new issues. K (the value company) should throw off good dividends in the near term and "Q?" (the ticker formerly known as K) should be a winner in the long term. Good move by Cahillane and the team — but maybe took a little too long getting there. P.S. A cursory search shows "Q" is actually open on the NYSE. Wouldn't that be a hoot!
  • Posted on: 02/15/2022

    Why has Kirkland Signature been so successful?

    I guess great palates taste alike (or something like that.) My wakeup call for how serious Costco was about Kirkland Signature quality came in the liquor department as well. I was gazing longingly at a display of The McCallan 20 year old single malt -- my all-time favorite. When my gaze shifted to see a 24 year old KS Scotch -- sub-branded "by The McCallan" sitting right next to it for a slightly lower price. Wow! But to the question Tom posed -- Jim Sinegal got the European own-label strategy long before any U.S. retailer figured out that it is supposed to be private BRAND -- not private label. That was the difference.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2022

    Are business buzzwords more annoying than useful?

    Did you win the bingo?!?! I circled back this morning to see how this discussion finished. It's 9 am on a Saturday and I just had to drink 10 mimosas. You definitely won Buzzword Bingo!
  • Posted on: 02/04/2022

    Are business buzzwords more annoying than useful?

    I always wondered how the heck you "actualize" something. Having just finished the "Picard" series again on Paramount+, now I get it. You "make it so."
  • Posted on: 02/04/2022

    Are business buzzwords more annoying than useful?

    My grandfather was a plain-spoken man of no formal education. He was also one of the wisest men I have ever known. He used to tease me during my college years for "using 25 cent words to spew a nickel's worth of nonsense." When I visited him after graduate school he surprised me by saying he could see that my investment in higher education had paid off. He said "now you use 50 cent words." It took me another 20 years or so to figure out what he was really saying -- "you sound pompous and silly."
  • Posted on: 01/20/2022

    Should retailers stick to vaccine mandates and change face mask rules?

    "Common sense rules should prevail..." The crux of the matter in a five word phrase -- well done Bob! Would that it were constitutional to legislate common sense behavior. That's a case I would gladly serve as lead plaintiff for!
  • Posted on: 01/14/2022

    SCOTUS strikes down OSHA’s COVID vaccine/testing mandate

    In this comment I wholeheartedly agree. If employers evaluate the outcomes and determine that some workers refusing a vaccine and quitting is better than no mandate — have at it! That IS within the employer's purview. The coin of the law has at two sides. Too bad we spend so much time trying to dance on those very thin edges.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2022

    SCOTUS strikes down OSHA’s COVID vaccine/testing mandate

    I bumped your thoughtful comment because, as usual, 99% of your logic is unassailable. But here's the "big miss". The virus is not a direct result of, nor under the control of, the workplace. Holding companies accountable for workplace hazards they create is OSHA's role. Period. Thanks for the good wishes and, supply chain and contractor availability shortages notwithstanding, my plans/dreams for the farm and the woodworking venture are proceeding in fits and starts. But not to worry, I consoled myself with over 50 days in the woods this fall. A wonderful (if not constructive) diversion from my avocational obstructions.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2022

    SCOTUS strikes down OSHA’s COVID vaccine/testing mandate

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water... :-) I happened across the 'Wire this morning and saw this discussion of SCOTUS decision on vaccine mandates. I can understand your point about the "important role of government regulation," though we may disagree on what that role entails. But in this case let's say we agree. The branches of "government" are given distinctly different roles in the Constitution -- and SCOTUS drew the toughest by a long shot. Their role to call balls and strikes prohibits them (at least in principle) from making the very judgments you allude to. That has to be done by the legislature. Congress didn't give OSHA the powers to regulate everyday life. If they want those powers to extend to that realm they need to pass legislation that says that. All SCOTUS said was "the law doesn't say that." Unfortunately, some Justices cannot refrain from stating personal opinion and morality judgments when commenting on opinions of the Court. I acknowledge that is a tough ask. It's more than obvious to all our colleagues here that I couldn't do it! But let's not vilify the Court's decisions about "in or out of bounds". That's their job.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2021

    Does Facebook, er Meta, now need stores?

    Somebody is going to have to explain what the metaverse is and can be -- even to early adopters. Some of the early attempts at doing that for the Internet of Things (anyone remember "IoT?") through dedicated "stores" didn't stick. On the other hand, Apple successfully used their stores to allow the world to meet the I-verse. But the real key to adoption will be when we don't actually know (or care) that the delightful experiences we are having are powered by the metaverse -- we just use them.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2021

    Has Kroger found an answer for Amazon Prime and Walmart+?

    Sounds like a winner -- relatively speaking. Fuel discounts have always been one of brick-and-mortar retailers' best weapons. Especially during rising prices. And paying for "shipping" up front is a proven winner too as Amazon has proven. Somehow there seems to be an irony here though. Pay upfront for delivery -- so you don't have to drive -- to get fuel rewards on gas. Hmmm...
  • Posted on: 11/01/2021

    What’s really behind Facebook’s rebrand to Meta?

    People hold differing opinions of Zuckerberg, but I don't think anyone considers him stupid. The rebranding as Meta is symbolic of a vision and moving on. That Zuckerberg chose to press on with that at a time when the media and political pursuit of Facebook is at a fever pitch may indeed be "whistling past the graveyard." But I don't believe anyone at Meta/Facebook thinks this is going to stop the outcry for a flogging in the public square.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2021

    Should retailers be looking to leverage free return shipping?

    Free online returns for paid subscription loyalty members (a la Prime) should be a standard part of the deal. Beyond that, the highest return and highest leverage on free return shipping for retailers would seem to be store credit. Shoppers who might balk at store credit for returns will likely view it as a good tradeoff if it unlocks free shipping on returns. This is natural for holiday shopping of course, but retailers in categories like apparel should consider it year-round. The number one shopper in our house won't order apparel online unless she can get multiple sizes or colors and then have free returns on the no-go items.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2021

    Will access to hard-to-find gifts make Totaltech-heads out of Best Buy’s customers?

    This sounds great -- if I consistently buy two or more tech or appliance items a year and need the service aspects. But it seems a bit pricey to maintain multiyear loyalty among the customers who buy one new tech item a year and maybe an appliance every five or 10. I'm not sure it has broad enough appeal to sustain itself longer term.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2021

    Whole Foods goes from free to $10 grocery delivery fee for Amazon Prime members

    Amazon did a good job with the spin on this by subtly pointing out that they are being transparent with the added costs of a delivered order, correctly insinuating that some retailers are not. But this is still the blunder many of us predicted when we first mused on RetailWire about this idea. Even though consumers (and the panelists here) usually agree that pricing transparency is a good thing, the fact is that consumers don't want to see costs -- they want to hear "FREE"! I doubt this will cut Whole Foods' home-delivery business substantially long-term. And many of those orders will move to curbside pickup. Whole Foods shoppers tend to be Whole Foods shoppers. But it is a huge strategic faux pas for Amazon overall. The last thing they need right now is to be knocking holes in their own value-driven moat against competition.
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