Martin Butler

Retail, marketing, branding and thought leadership specialist.


Born into retailing, Martin is a true hybrid. Part retailer, part marketer, he uses this unique combination to inform his clients and audiences, sharing his views in articles and editorials. Martin now enjoys travelling the world researching and writing on retail, lecturing on leadership, innovation and marketing, running interactive workshops on his books and speaking at international conferences and business schools.

Current work

Sponsored by the World Retail Congress, Martin has just finished his second book: The Art of Being Chosen. It benchmarks and celebrates retail best practice from a round the world, with findings being drawn from every continent. This robust, two and a half year research programme involved interviewing, face to face, 100 of the world’s leading retail founders and CEOs and from this Martin has identified the “six secrets to retail success”. Launched in October 2010 at the Frankfurt Book Fair and May 2011 in the USA, Martin has already delivered lectures on the findings from his book in several destinations around the world including New Zealand, Australia, India, South Africa, UK and Europe. Interestingly, several engagements have been agreed and delivered to non-retail audiences eager to understand what can be learned from the planet’s largest and most competitive business sector: ‘retail’ … the purest form of commerce and certainly the ultimate customer facing business. Martin continues to astound business leaders from every profession on the skills that can be learned about leadership and customers from the best-of-the-very-best retailers.

Previous experience

Advertising: During a 30 year career Martin has worked in many top international advertising agencies including the DMBB, Grey and Saatchi networks. He started his career working for clients as diverse as Nestlé, News International and Playtex but within a few years became one of London’s youngest advertising agency owners by launching his own company.

Clients: Through almost 20 mergers and acquisitions Martin eventually built his own business into one of the largest privately owned advertising and marketing networks in the UK. He sold his businesses several years ago but throughout an entrepreneurial career gained a reputation as a retail specialist having worked in every market sector. From fashion to fragrance and from finance to food, his company boasted many high profile clients including Harrods, Burberry, Swarovski and Habitat. His network advised countless major brands on retail positioning including Barclays, Mitsubishi and the Royal Mail. Martin also worked with a host of international brands advising on strategic development including, Giorgio Beverly Hills, Austin Reed, Global Refund and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Author: In 2005 Martin wrote the internationally acclaimed book on best practice retail branding, People Don’t Buy What You Sell, They Buy What You Stand For, and often uses this provocative assertion as the basis for his interactive sessions on world-class marketing.

Judge: In 2008, Martin was invited to become a member of the expert judging panel at the World Retail Congress, an honour he was delighted to accept.