Obsessed with walking
From my on-going global research I'm obsessed with looking for scalable ideas and innovative thinking. Looking for inspiration and understanding towards total custom-focus. Looking for ways I can help organisations win the war for the modern customer. And much of this research centres on understanding what the walkers actually do - that talkers don't. Maybe this is why I hate lecterns. Loving instead to walk-my-talk! ...even getting into the audience whenever possible. But it's certainly why my latest book is defined by 50 steps to customer obsession rather than structured into predictable chapters.

So thank you to all those who have invited me to speak at their gatherings. I'm particularly proud of the number of times people mention: inspiring, entertaining and challenging, it's much appreciated. But above all, I really love to be remembered for my passion in lighting fires in the minds organisations both large and small - helping them on their never ending journey to win the war for the modern customer.

Below I quote from a cross section of delighted clients ...

Creating a buzz

I was absolutely delighted to be personally invited to launch my latest book
at the World Retail Congress in both Cape Town and Dubai by the Congress Founder and Chairman, Ian McGarrigle. He kindly said,
"The audience was spellbound by Martin Butler's presentation and the buzz it created ...what he shows with absolute clarity is that with complexity also comes simplicity."

Insightful and entertaining

I was invited to speak to Karl Westwig's senior team at Retail Capital SA in Cape Town. The master class was centred around winning the war for the modern customer, with particular emphasis on the delivering great customer care. Karl was kind enough to post:
"Martin Butler delivered simple, practical ways to build an amazing customer experience - I took notes and filled 5 pages during his insightful and entertaining chat. Along with the team we've now implemented 20 of Martin's initiatives already - highly recommended."

Invited back! 
Eric Morris, CEO of the PAS fashion group, engaged me to run a cross-company master class for his senior leaders. A huge and diverse portfolio of companies Eric was keen for me to highlight how the world's best are winning the war for the modern customer. He generously went on record:
 "I've been in Martin Butler's sessions before and I love the way he invigorates his audiences. Real life customer understandings and global case studies, he takes his audience behind the scenes of world-class 'success'. And I love his delivery style - energetic, humourous ...with high levels of interactive team engagement! I've invited him back again next year!"   
Ubiquitous Queen of Retail

In the heart of the City of London I was delighted to address some of the best brains in Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Christine Cross, the incredibly well connected and globally ubiquitous, 'queen of retail' had invited me to open their annual Talkshop conference as the Stimulus Speaker.
In her capacity as Chief Retail and Consumer Advisor of PwC, Christine asked me to 'wake-up' the audience and open the conference - she was kind enough to comment:
"Martin Butler's keynote stimulus session was just that...and not at all what the audience had anticipated! A refreshing and informed view of the issues facing the 'high street' and the ways in which good leaders are addressing these. Martin was provocative by challenging the audience to adopt some of the best traits in their own work and to never dismiss the opportunity to seize the moment to effect positive change. A great speaker who left a lasting, positive impression on the audience."

Both sides of the till
The great thing about speaking around the world is you get to share the stage with really great business 'minds'....and Jon Stine, Global Director of Retail Sales at Intel Corporation is truly world-class. Described as operating 'at the intersection of business and technology', I spoke along side Jon.....and he was kind enough to drop me a note about my presentations:
"When Martin Butler addresses his audiences it’s not a presentation as much as an interaction – a high-energy sharing of real-life stories and insight, gleaned from years of experience, and expressed with wit and humor, that immerses audiences in the lessons of high-performance retailing. Martin knows the store from 'both sides of the till'. He knows what makes a store work (or not). And best of all, he knows how to communicate it in a way that delights, inspires, and is remembered."

Financial services

Steve Bradbery International VP for product solutions was kind enough to drop me a note thanking me for my lecture at Stored Value Solutions' conference specialising in gift cards, loyalty and pre-paid solutions.
I love working for visionary companies who champion excellence and celebrate industry-wide innovation....there was much talk at the conference about the 'digital wallet' and associated customer behavioural changes - love it!
"I defy anyone not to have seen Martin Butler and change something about their approach to business...
...Martin’s passion is infectious, reminding us what we love about business and challenging the audience to be as good as they should be. His message is as effective for the CEO as it is to the staff on the shop floor. He has an engaging, humorous style but bubbling under the surface is a seething intolerance of poor service and a clear understanding of where that responsibility lies - he is a rare breed of speaker that you can see over again to reinforce those core essentials of business which we forget at our peril.”
Particularly Relevant
Nicole Noye is CEO of AMF Bowling - a division of Ardent Leisure Group. Nicole was invited to a open session I conducted in Sydney and immediately briefed me to come to her organisation to run an interactive workshop for her senior leadership teams. It's never difficult working with companies like Nicole's - their purpose is centred around the serious business of fun! Thank you Nicole for your kind words...
"Thank you for a terrific session Martin.
Martin Butler is an engaging speaker whose experience is particularly relevant in today's unpredictable environment. The really powerful thing about Martin's session was how he tailored his content to our business' requirements (fun, family entertainment) ...he has left our team feeling motivated and inspired about the future - indeed I have asked Martin to return for our all-company conference next year."

Changing the world one chicken at a time
I followed Geoff Whyte, leader of Nando's in its spiritual South African home, onto a conference stage in Cape Town to deliver a talk about my new book:
It's not about us it's all about them. 
True to the brand,  Geoff delivered a wonderfully insightful and totally irreverent talk about Nando's huge success that was always going to be a hard act to follow.
But Geoff was kind enough to go on record to say about my presentation,
"Wow what a show!
Energy, insight, great passion.
He really got the audience buzzing.
Martin's got a fantastic story to tell and I thoroughly enjoyed it."

Gordon Institute of Business Science
I recently had a fun and highly interactive time running a 2 hour workshop at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, part of the University of Pretoria. There were 40 or so high flying executives from all sections of the retail world in South Africa. I'd been asked to talk about 'Winning the modern customer' and 'World-class customer service'. Meeta Dullabh, Senior programmes manager was kind enough to write:
"Our delegates were 'blown over' by Martin Butler's session as evident from his wonderful evaluation scores and delegate comments. Martin achieved a fantastic 'average delegate rating of 96 per cent' (we aim for 80+) and verbatim remarks included: Simply Really challenged the way we do things around customers. Most engaging and enlightening presenter - what an inspiration. Too short!"

Feedback from various master-classes
    “I have been to many professional development events and conferences and this was seriously one of the best. Martin’s talk was extremely engaging and for the first time in a long time I felt that I gained a lot from a presentation. We were spoken to like professionals and if Martin does another talk next year I would definitely attend”Asia Business manager

  “Martin was a great combination of being laid back, informative, engaging, and funny… his passion was evident from the onset.” 
“Martin’s talk was extremely dynamic and insightful I have brought so much back to the team at lulu lemon!”
“We really enjoyed Martin’s talk, thanks. It’s refreshing to hear his “human” approach – and his focus on heart and emotion. We’d love to order a copy of his book”…General Manager
“I thought Martin’s session was fantastic and very informative…his style of informative presenting was very engaging”….Category Manager
“Martin was relevant, engaging, funny and very inspiring to listen to. I would be very keen to hear Martin speak again when he returns”….National Retail Co-ordinator
“The feedback from the team – in particular our buyers, has been brilliant – a very relevant, inspirational and ‘light-bulb’ session.  Can we order 10 copies of Martin’s book?”...Franchise Manager

Quick response is key
Following a really lively mini-workshop session at Jeanswest's national support center I was delighted to receive this note from Mark Daynes, Ceo and a truly modern retailer (right down to his perfectly fitting jeans)...I loved the buzz of this session and was absolutely delighted to receive his wonderfully succinct note.... perfectly summing up why I do, what I it!
"Thanks Martin for your session yesterday, I'm thrilled to acknowledge you've already made a difference....fantastic!"

Lighting fires
Occasionally I rise to the challenge of working with a client to help them change their corporate them recognize customers are 100 percent human beings and help them organize things to put customers back where they belong - right at the heart of the business. Under the acting Leadership of Karen Bozic I have recently worked with Big W, the multi-billion dollar Australian discount department store and she has kindly dropped me a note about the journey we've started!
"Martin Butler affectionately became known in our business as the "arsonist". 
He lit many fires, and gave us the inspiration to fan the flames. Over 6 months Martin worked with our entire support office and store leadership team and was able to connect and engage at every level. Martin is an engaging, emotive and thought provoking speaker. His deep global retail knowledge and ability to find the right stories to bring each 'thought' to life really resonated with our team. He has helped us refocus on how we will have more customers choose us more often, and embed the customer at the centre of what we do." 


  Master class

Garry Connell owns Trak, Australia's foremost recruitment company specialising in Fashion and Retail. I have long admired Garry and typical of the man, he particularly wanted me to tackle the issue of how to successfully connect the retail vision of a boardroom to the 'actual' customer experience - a meaty subject indeed! He kindly dropped me a note including:
"Judging from the brilliant feedback Martin Butler nailed the brief. Fast-paced, highly interactive and really entertaining the 4 hour master-class  flew by with story telling supported by highly relevant case studies - we hardly realised we were being educated! But what really impressed me was how he flexed each session to his audience. He had us all shouting out the answers by the end of the session - I'm having him back again soon!"



Creative hotshot

Jon Bird is a renowned student of global retailing and a wonderfully talented creative hotshot based in NYC. I had the pleasure of working with Jon and he was kind enough to send me a note:
"Martin Butler is that rare breed – both an entertainer and an educator. 
No-one 'works a room' like Martin; he instantly has the audience relaxed and 'on-side' and often has them in stitches (humour is a powerful tool). Martin is equally at home in a boardroom or a conference room, and I have seen him enthral an audience of a dozen as easily as he captivates a crowd of 850. But the 'show' is just a means to an end. Martin is passionate and genuinely wants the audience to 'geddit' (as he puts it); to understand what is at the heart of 'The Art of Being Chosen' . I thoroughly recommend Martin to anyone considering a conference or change program."

Global shopping centres

Jack Hanrahan must be one of the most 'connected' executives in the world of retail....he heads-up the all embracing Retailer Relations function for the worldwide and renowned Westfield Shopping Centres. Jack again invited me to be part of his hugely successful breakfast seminar series around Australia, finishing in Sydney with almost 1000 executives in the audience - he asked me to talk about the 'Power of People' and I was delighted to receive this note from him:
“Martin Butler has a great way of getting to the heart of an issue - using passion, he communicates his insights, experiences and unique perspective to drive his point home. He can literally wake the audience up with his interactive style of presentation, his funny anecdotes and challenging comments. Martin always delivers his message ensuring the audience goes away with the key lessons fully understood.”

 Fast fashion

Following an in-house executive briefing to the senior management of New Look, one of Europe's largest fast fashions retailers, I've been helping the team change the corporate mindset of the business. This is a challenging task, but we're starting to see the green shoots of success. And since I'm often asked for references from Business Schools and Conferences around the world I was delighted to receive a note from Alistair McGeorge, Executive Chairman, that would not only serve as a reference but proof of the efficacy of my consulting.
“Working with Martin Butler has been a lot of fun and very rewarding for New Look.
He has helped us put customers back at the heart of the business and develop a much clearer understanding of what our brand stands for ...and why customers will choose
New Look.
Changing a corporate mindset is never easy but Martin has become thoroughly engaged at all levels of the business, particularly at the key customer interface with our 20,000 employees in stores. His enthusiastic, engaging and challenging style has been key to delivering this change which has set us up for future growth and success.”

International Booze

I shared a speaking platform with Stuart Fletcher, President, International of Diagio at the prestigious Henley Business School - we were both there to talk about 'Developing Board Level Skills'. Stuart delivered spell binding insights into his hectic world, skillfully delivering pearls of wisdom with precision and passion. He was kind enough to send me a note on my lecture which included:
"I truly enjoyed, and learned from, the session Martin led and would recommend him as a speaker to any organization seeking to shift their thinking and performance in the whole area of customer service and loyalty."

Retail legend

Jack Smith, founder of Sports Authority, America's first big-box sporting goods super-stores, was kind enough to write me a note following the New Zealand Retailers Association's conference in Auckland.
".....Martin I must admit I was totally taken back with your presentation at the NZRA's conference. Your observations and comments of the various retailers from around the world and the way you presented them, made the long trip to NZ more than worthwhile. The only problem I had with your presentation was that the hour went by too fast! I also enjoyed reading your book and now recommend it to everybody I know in retail."

Associate Professor of Management

I shared a speaking platform on 'Leadership' with Marc Jones, Associate Professor of Management, at Deakin University's Graduate School of Business in Melbourne. Marc was talking about the really 'big' global issues and how these might inform best practice leadership...I'm obviously delighted he dropped me this note:
"...Martin Butler's knowledge of retailing is encyclopedic. He is able to make the connections between the broadest trends shaping the global economy and your daily experience at the neighbourhood 7-Eleven in a clear and compelling manner...he combines wisdom and excitement in a unique take on leading edge retail knowledge and practice."


Talent Development

Perry Timms, head of Organisational Development at The BIG Lottery Fund - the UK's largest distributor of lottery money - recently engaged me to talk to his high-fliers on organisational change and true customer centricity. For an organisation whose primary objective is to allocate funds to the 'deserving', it was an interesting mind-set challenge for me as well as my audience. Perry was kind enough to write me a note that included:
"Martin Butler is a provocateur of the first order – and someone who shows us the world is about retailing, about customers, and about power – the power we have in our buying choices, our leadership choices and our personality choices…he has such fascinating insight from those who’ve made successes out of leading in that most challenging, fast-paced and creative arena – ‘selling stuff’…… from talent management through to organisational change, it’s all made so relevant that  I can guarantee you’ll be better off from Martin’s wisdom and provocative delivery.  He’s perfected the art of being chosen himself, so maybe you could learn more than you think from him...!"

Global Money

Fresh from American Express Global Network Services, Seamus Smith was appointed Managing Director of PayPoint UK and Ireland last year where he is now responsible for the company’s retail payment networks business. Seamus had heard me speaking at a Finacial Services and Banking conference on what might be learnt from best practice global retailing - the best kind of business is repeat business and I thank Seamus for his kind words:
"Martin Butler is the 'real deal' when it comes to retail, innovative thinking and leadership. His knowledge of retail is totally authentic and he has accumulated a significant set of unique experiences, which he shares in a dynamic, informative and thought provoking way....!"

A most unusual engagement!

One of my more unusual invitations to speak came from Sepehr Tarverdian - founder of one of the Middle East's up and coming conference organisations based in Tehran. I was asked to deliver a keynote address on 'global advertising and marketing trends' to nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs and top executives from the oil, banking and retail companies in Iran. I'm glad I visited and experienced this 'closed' society before diplomatic relations were severed - Sepehr was kind enough to drop me a note:
"Martin Butler - THANK YOU for your GREAT contribution. I myself have totally enjoyed your message and the presentation. It was beyond almost all the delegates expectations and simply the top 10 for me among the 120 speakers I have ever worked with. I really enjoyed your humble, and down to earth personality. You are a man of integrity, and wisdom."

Fascinating sporting brief

James Sutherland, CEO of Cricket Australia, kindly invited me to come and talk to the senior figures of this august sporting establishment. Headquartered next door to the MCG in Melbourne, I was honoured to address the Main Executive including the various regional bosses on the finer points of 'being chosen' by the passionate Australian sporting public. James kindly dropped me a note including:
"Martin Butler's presentation really set the platform for our two-day was pleasing to receive positive feedback about his content and to hear the participant’s reference examples he raised....we know we need to find new ways to capitalise on being unique and different and to master the 'art of being chosen' in everything we do...we all gained a fresh insight from the world of retail and thank Martin for his time in connecting with Australian cricket."

Global General Managers

Steve Holloway is the Group Learning and Development manager for Imperial Tobacco and he kindly invited me to run one of the four days on their Employee and Customer Engagement workshop for a select group of their key Global General Managers. I was delighted when he sent me this quote:
"Martin Butler is fun, pacy and highly engaging, demonstrating in action what he preaches. Having a deep and clear understanding of the subject matter Martin provides thought provoking insights into how major retailers of the world have been chosen by their customers based on reality not theory. He is truly inspiring and provides real challenge about what customer service really means and how organisations ‘Can be Chosen’..."


I was invited to speak to the Westfield shopping centre management Forum at their world headquarters. The audience of over 100 executives came from every business function and my key objective was to highlight how world-class retailers think and operate around the world and also, how this might impact the non-retail-specific functions at Westfield. It was a grand ambition and I was delighted to receive a thank you note from Ian Cornell, boss of HR for this giant corporation.
"We were looking to achieve a “fast track” update on what’s working in the rapidly evolving world of retail. Martin Butler's exceptional content, and in particular, his unique perspective and retail insights received very positive feedback from our diverse group...Martin hit the mark with his engaging presentation style...and his ability to understand and interpret the subtleties of what really matters and to communicate to the audience the attributes that make a truly world class retailer"

Dr Terry Boulter, MBA Director at Deakin, kindly invited me to be part of the inaugural Professional Development series and thoughtfully dropped me a note including:
“Martin Butler's riveting presentation was delivered with gusto! The interactive powerpoint slides and audience engagement is why Martin is such a delightful presenter. Love to have him back when he returns to Australia.”

Russell Zimmerman, boss of the Australian Retailers Association, opened a recent conference in Sydney where I was the keynote speaker - he dropped me a note which I was proud to receive - here's an extract:
"Martin Butler was both very informative in his talk but kept the audience interested by the injection of some great humor in his delivery... The ARA is a member of the Federation of Asia Pacific Retailers Association and as I was very impressed with Martin’s talk, I am suggesting to them that they might consider Martin as a speaker for their Singapore conference."

David Duncan has, for many years, served on the Executive Committee on the World Conference for Detergents. This highly respected scientist asked me to speak alongside the CEOs of  P and G, Unilever and Henkel - they were a hard act to follow but David kindly dropped me a note afterwards that included:
"Martin Butler's speech at Montreux was delivered in a commanding, highly professional way from someone who is clearly a highly respected, knowledgeable and experienced retail expert."

Alexandra Uhlmann, who is the Client and Programme Director at the world famous Ashridge Business School, invited me to give an evening lecture to her MBA students on 'success'. With strategic business examples from my global research, we had a lively and highly interactive debate - I thank Alexandra for the opportunity and her tribute below:
"Martin Butler has at his fingertip, a wealth of examples from the retail industry that keeps his audience looking for the next inspirational snippet."

Chris Matchan is a visiting Executive Fellow at Henley Business School, Associate Tutor at Warwick University Business School and Tutor at Maastricht University - over the years Chris has asked me to talk on many subjects to his students and clients, including the importance of choice, trust and emotion in business. He generously wrote to me and this is part of what he said:
"Martin Butler takes a creative personal style and weaves impactful content into the ways he works his audience. He is highly interactive and he quite literally has people in the palm of his hand. They walk away from his sessions inspired to do something differently... I do not hesitate to endorse Martin to you and would ask that you contact me if you need any further information."

For 20 years Stan Kaufman ran the Oxford University Summer School at Keble College
on behalf of the BSSA
"The fact that Martin Butler was invited to such a prestigious event year after year is testament to the outstanding job he consistently did. He is an inspirational marketer, equally skilled with top execs as he is with middle managers....I have no hesitation recommending him to any organisation lucky enough to secure his services."

I had a great evening at The Chambers retail consultancy. It's always very challenging speaking to fellow retail consultants about ones observations on 'success' and as expected there were some tough questioning on my conclusions - Tom Hayhoe, the Chairman, was kind enough to write me a letter which included the following quote:
"I would strongly recommend Martin Butler to anyone looking for a speaker looking to stir up and excite a management team by providing a window onto what makes the best retailers successful."