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: 01/18/2021

    Walmart’s CEO details his journey to racial awareness

    Mr. McMillon's words of wisdom speak volumes about what we all have to deal with, the fact that we all have paradigms -- even though we aren't aware of them. It's the way the brain works and studies from Harvard and others have shown that our paradigms can cause us to subconsciously overrule what we think is conscious choice to rationalize thoughts and actions every day. The hard part is that we can't eliminate paradigms. The argument around whether or not we can really "change" our paradigms is beyond my pay grade to adjudicate. But it is certain that our best (perhaps only) defense against them is to simply acknowledge that we have them -- and that we have to fight the tendencies they engender in our decisions and actions every day. FWIW, I hope the experts who argue that paradigms can eventually be changed are right. It would mean that the strongest force in shaping our world, human nature, really can evolve.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2021

    Chewy is barking up the right tree when it comes to customer loyalty

    The only thing more important than getting your delivered prescription order correct is getting your delivered pet food order right. At least, that's true for most pet owners. To meet pet owners' requirements Chewy has to achieve Amazon-level service standards and better. The corner will turn for Chewy's profitability when customers reach the same level of comfort for higher margin impulse shopping (toys, treats, etc.) that they have for their lower margin everyday food needs.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Albertsons ditching in-house drivers to deliver online orders

    The fact that the change is limited to CA stores speaks volumes. But it does also suggest that stores in other states could be soon to follow if their labor laws are, or soon change to be, similar to California's.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2020

    Curbside cocktails anyone?

    The biggest issue with this will be that all public consumption laws are still geared toward no off-premises "ready-to-drink" alcohol. This either severely curtails the appeal of to-go cocktails or encourages unlawful nearby consumption by "take-out customers." This works fine for New Orleans and Key West -- not so much for downtown Durham, NC.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2020

    Commercials show the magic behind good deeds and Christmas surprises

    Perhaps it was just an acute case of self-projection. But the DocMorris ad made me cry. Nothing else to say about that.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2020

    Are retailers facing a no-win decision in mandating vaccines for workers?

    Retailers in the strongest position will be those who follow existing policies on vaccination. If they require flu vaccines they should be able to require COVID-19 vaccines. If they have exceptions, the same basis for exceptions should apply. Staying consistent with current policy will provide the strongest P.R. cover. Having said that, I can't recall any illness or vaccine being politicized beyond some fringe religious objections or medical conditions. Touting "100 percent of our employees are vaccinated" is more likely to be an open invitation to criticism than a net positive, at least initially. Allowing employees who choose vaccination to display some sort of "badge" similar to the "I voted today" buttons might be a way to let employees like retail workers, health care workers and restaurant employees say "I care about you and I want to be able to safely serve you. Welcome back!" That could encourage wary patrons to return to establishments in a very positive way.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2020

    Stores move to the front and center fulfilling customers’ expectations

    All of the recommendations made make sense. Taken together, however, they amount to a complete overhaul -- if not a complete rebuild -- of the business system for many retailers. Smaller regional and local retailers would be more successful taking smaller and more focused bites. For starters, multi-site retailers probably have at least one under-performing location. Turn it into a distribution hub and base all e-commerce fulfillment out of that location. If the space is more than you need, look for another local retailer with similar needs who might be a compatible partner for the space. Shared investment and infrastructure gets a bit more tricky but can be done. But Ms. Waldron's predictions hold water, and that means not acting is not an option for smaller retailers.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2020

    Is Walgreens’ first-party data a good match for advertisers?

    There is a very good reason major retailers are all scrambling to provide their own "first-party data" analytics -- they are an untapped profit center for the retailer. Like most data systems, they can provide valuable insight and access to consumers when used the right way by the right brands. But all brands feel pressure from retailers to use their systems, often pushing "utilization targets" and other forms of quotas onto buyers for supplier participation. In the end, most suppliers do the minimum necessary to maintain distribution and receive little to no real return for their spend. You can argue that it's not the retailer's fault if the customer doesn't use what they buy effectively. And the value offered by retailers today is much improved versus earlier advertising offerings. But it only works if you have the resources to use it and the shopper spend dollars to implement effective programs to reap those returns.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2020

    Can retailers get Americans to trust in-store clinics?

    I couldn't agree more, Steve! Appearances are critical to perception, and a hidden door to a room that resembles a holding cell as much as an exam room is not inviting. If retailers want to be in the health care provider business they are going to have to carve out a section of the store and invest in making it look like a clinic. And though I am a great believer in nurse practitioners as being more than adequate for most common health maladies, having an M.D. on staff would help a lot as well.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2020

    How will Tony Hsieh’s legacy live on at Zappos?

    No. But they are much more willing to put them on display for the public.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2020

    Should C-suite execs keep their opinions to themselves on store visits?

    Mackey understands that problems manifested in the store are seldom due to the store employees. They are typically the result of issues with root causes farther up the management chain. I'm reminded of a sales communications analysis we were asked to do by a top three (at the time) U.S. food company. The sales team was complaining of being hampered by multiple communications on various issues from HQ, all of which demanded some kind of action. Our field audit revealed that was true. But unlike the attribution of cause, which the sales people wisely laid at the feet of marketing -- 40 percent of the communication originated from the president of sales' office. The sales VP who had commissioned the project promptly paid us and then buried the results.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2020

    Dick’s and Etsy’s Christmas spots deal with COVID-19 realities in different ways

    I hate misty-eyed advertising -- until I love it. Etsy could not have picked a better relationship than grandparents to hit the heart of all people during the pandemic. Pairing it with the deep meaning of "I made it for you..." is the icing on the cake. And it makes this ad uniquely Etsy's. Well done.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2020

    What will President Joe Biden mean for retail?

    Greg Ip got it right, the main thing business leaders want from government is "boring." That typically comes from a divided government. Some financial markets were licking their lips at the prospect of a major short-term stimulus hit if Democrats swept control, but that's not Main Street America retailers. For retailers, like other businesses, "boring is better" over the long haul.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2020

    Did Gap just learn that no good tweet goes unpunished?

    Unfortunately, unity looks a lot more like division in the design chosen. I had neither seen nor heard anything about this hoodie until seeing this thread. And my comment follows nothing more than seeing the picture. But that's how the nanosecond attention span of consumers process these things too. Given that this is coming from a savvy social marketer like Gap, it seems almost seems implausible to characterize it as a "mistake."
  • Posted on: 11/04/2020

    How do online reviews build trust?

    When fact-based selling and category management came onto the scene in the '90s, our company was involved in introducing many CPG sales and marketing groups to the concepts. One of the opening "attention-getters" we used went like this. "There are only two sources retailers will believe -- and neither of them is you. They will believe credible third-party data and stories about the experience of other retailers in their market." In many ways the "stories about other retailers" is analogous to online reviews -- they relate other similar constituents' actual experiences. This tends to have very high credibility with consumers. Having the brands respond to reviews shows that the company is paying attention to its customers. Demonstrating a mitigating action in that response builds even more trust.

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