Business candidates want personalized marketing from you—here’s how to do it well


Business candidates want personalized marketing from you—here’s how to do it well

Using student data to create a curated experience for graduate business candidates

You’ve probably seen the recent headlines about data privacy. Over the past few years, consumers have become more attuned to what personal information companies are gathering and how it’s leveraged. Given this trend, you might expect prospective graduate business students to be wary of sharing their personal info during their school search.

In reality, the situation is more complex: recent EAB research found that graduate business candidates are willing to provide their personal information in exchange for receiving a more personalized experience while searching for a right-fit program. So what exactly does this mean for business school marketing teams, and how can they best deliver the experience that candidates want?

Growing concerns around data privacy

EAB regularly conducts research on adult and graduate student behavior, and we’ve seen increased concerns surrounding data privacy. McKinsey recently reported that only one-third of surveyed consumers feel as though corporations are using customer data responsibly. And with an uptick in doxxing incidents (personal information being maliciously published online) and corporate data breaches, consumers are increasingly looking for ways to further protect their identities, such as using virtual private networks (VPNs) and private chat services like Discord.

Business candidates are savvy about personalized marketing—and eager to save time searching for schools

At the same time, there’s a tug-of-war between data privacy and personalization. While corporations having access to consumers’ personal information sounds scary, some of this same information is used by businesses to curate our experiences with them. And these customized experiences are game changers: 76% of consumers are more likely to consider buying from a brand that uses personalization compared to one that doesn’t, according to McKinsey.


of consumers are more likely to consider buying from a brand that uses personalization compared to one that doesn’t.

When it comes to recruiting graduate business students, personalization is especially crucial. Business students are pragmatic and eager for information, but they are often balancing additional responsibilities like a full-time job or a family that make information-seeking a burden. Recent EAB UX research showed that graduate business candidates are easily overwhelmed by the many similar-sounding options available to them. One business candidate even called her process of combing through endless search engine results “exhausting.” These students are willing to give personal data to the institutions they apply to so that the information they receive in return will be relevant and useful to them.

“I'm a wife. I have two children, one's 10, the other one is 17. I work from home three days a week in the office, two days a week. My search process has been exhausting.


MBA Seeker

How to personalize marketing to business candidates effectively

Personalization should begin with your marketing materials, which often serve as early touchpoints for potential applicants. At EAB, we assist our partners with this by collecting information such as students’ email address, phone number, area of study and desired degree level when students complete the Appily Advance career quiz. We then share that data with business school marketing teams so they can personalize their prospects’ experiences using tailored messaging.

There are many approaches you can take when using student data to personalize your institutional marketing. For instance, you could use their preferred major to keep them updated on information sessions held by department professors. If they indicate their interest in a remote or hybrid modality, you can send them testimonials from students who succeeded in those course types. These personal touches help your institution speak to the individual needs of your students.

Appily Advance for Adult and Graduate Business Programs

Appily Advance connects institutions with high-intent leads. With 15+ years of experience supporting undergraduate enrollment, Appily (formerly Cappex) now serves graduate & adult-serving programs, too. Visit to learn more.

When it comes to personalization, using the information business candidates provide is crucial to optimize their experience. Using student data with the goal of differentiating your program from others in the market is a great opportunity to deliver curated experiences to your prospective students and even give you an edge over competitors.

Ready to find out more?

Watch our webinar to learn more about the dynamic business student journey.

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