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  • Writer's pictureSteffan Willis

The Art of Silence: Why Less is More in Retail Marketing

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause

Mark Twain


In the modern age of retail marketing, silence is golden – a fact that is increasingly relevant to B2B marketers as well. According to the Optimove 2023 Consumer Marketing Fatigue Survey, two-thirds of consumers (66%) desire fewer marketing messages, and 27% feel bombarded by them. Moreover, almost eight in ten consumers (79%) have unsubscribed from at least one retail brand in the past 90 days due to marketing overload. As the adage goes, less is more.

This article explores the importance of striking the right balance in marketing messages to create customer loyalty and optimize marketing budgets, based on the revealing results of this survey. The insights gleaned from retail marketing trends can be invaluable for B2B marketers, as the blending of our work and personal digital lives makes it increasingly difficult to draw a distinction between the two. By understanding these trends, B2B marketers can adapt their strategies to better engage their target audience.

Challenging Conventional Wisdom

The common belief among marketers is that more marketing messages result in better outcomes. The assumption is simple: the more a brand communicates, the more chances it has to engage with potential customers. However, the survey findings paint a different picture. Instead of increased engagement, the deluge of marketing messages is driving consumers away, leading to unsubscribing, brand irrelevance, and waning customer loyalty.

61% of consumers have unsubscribed from three or more retail brands due to too many marketing messages.

What's Driving Consumer Fatigue?

One of the key factors driving this trend is consumers' growing preference for personalized messages and relevancy in offers. In a world where attention spans are diminishing, retail brands must cut through the noise and make a genuine connection with their audience. A staggering 96% of consumers predetermine where to shop online, indicating that marketers must adapt to customers' predetermined shopping behavior to stay relevant.

72% of respondents said the relevancy of an offer is important, with 36% saying it is "extremely" or "very important."

Furthermore, the role of email and text in marketing cannot be overstated. These channels are crucial in marketing programs, yet they are often abused by marketers. The survey reveals that only 9% of respondents open more than 75% of marketing emails, demonstrating the need for a delicate balance between communication and intrusion.

Opportunities for Retail Brands

Reducing marketing messages can offer several benefits to retail brands, such as optimizing marketing budgets and fostering customer loyalty. Marketing fatigue is costly. Marketers often mistakenly believe that more messages will deliver better results. In reality, a more measured approach with fewer, well-timed messages is likely to yield equal or even superior outcomes.

When asked if they would like to receive fewer marketing messages in 2023 versus 2022, 73% of respondents noted they wanted less.

In light of these findings, retail brands must seize the opportunity to improve their marketing strategies. This involves focusing on personalization, relevancy, and targeted messaging.

  1. Invest in data-driven personalization: Leverage customer data to create tailored, relevant messages that resonate with each individual. By doing so, you demonstrate that you understand their unique needs and preferences, fostering a deeper connection. Customer Data Platforms backed by strong first, second and third party data strategies have the potential to transform customer and audience segmentation.

  2. Practice restraint: Resist the urge to over-communicate. Instead, adopt a "quality over quantity" approach and send fewer, well-timed messages that offer genuine value.

  3. Optimize channel selection: Not all marketing channels are created equal. Consider the preferences and behaviors of your target audience, and focus your efforts on the channels they rely on most.

  4. Track and analyze performance: Continuously monitor the performance of your marketing campaigns, and use the insights gleaned to refine your strategy. This will enable you to strike the optimal balance

How is this relevant for B2B marketers?

The findings of the Optimove survey are not only applicable to retail marketing but also hold valuable lessons for B2B marketers. The blending of our work and personal digital lives often blurs the line between the two, making it difficult to distinguish one from the other. As such, trends observed in retail marketing are likely to apply to the world of B2B as well. Some key takeaways for B2B marketers include:

Personalization is crucial

Just as retail customers prefer personalized messages, so do B2B decision-makers. By leveraging customer data and crafting tailored messages that resonate with your audience, you can demonstrate that you understand their unique needs and preferences, ultimately fostering stronger relationships.

Embrace the "less is more" philosophy

Overwhelming your target audience with excessive marketing messages can lead to fatigue and, ultimately, disengagement. B2B marketers should adopt a "quality over quantity" approach, sending fewer, well-timed messages that offer genuine value.

Understand the customer journey

B2B decision-makers, like retail customers, have predetermined preferences and behaviors. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of their journey can help you identify the right moments to engage with them and avoid overwhelming them with marketing messages.

Monitor and adapt

Continuously track the performance of your marketing campaigns, and use the insights gained to refine your strategy. This will enable you to strike the optimal balance between communication and intrusion, ensuring your marketing messages remain engaging and effective.


The Optimove 2023 Consumer Marketing Fatigue Survey offers valuable insights for retail brands and B2B marketers alike. By embracing the art of silence and striking the right balance in marketing messages, marketers can optimize their marketing budgets and forge deeper connections with their customers.

The key to success in both retail and B2B marketing lies in understanding the preferences and behaviors of your target audience. Practice restraint, focus on personalization and relevancy, and optimize your channel selection to ensure your marketing messages are both engaging and effective. Remember, as Mark Twain once said, "no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause." Embrace the power of silence and watch your customer loyalty – whether in retail or B2B – soar.

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