5 Humanization Trends to Inspire Your Higher Education Marketing

Henrik Blomkvist

5 Humanization Trends to Inspire Your Higher Education Marketing

Henrik Blomkvist

“Personalization” has been one of the most prominent marketing buzzwords in recent years, driving marketing teams across industries, not just higher education, to create experiences tailored to individuals’ preferences and requirements. Targeted emails, product recommendations, and remarketing are a few familiar examples of personalization we have all encountered. 

If you’re following 2023 marketing trends as we are, you’ll notice that a new theme has emerged that is often discussed in relation to personalization. That theme is “humanization.”

According to Brandingmag, “Where personalization focuses on meeting individuals’ requirements, humanization strives to build a meaningful, emotional connection between a brand and those individuals.”

Whether buying a shirt or considering enrolling in a school’s program, today’s consumers gravitate toward authentic, conversational marketing that feels less like a sales pitch and more like a real-life experience.

Leveraging Humanization in Higher Education Marketing

Let’s explore several emerging trends that have humanization at the forefront and how higher education marketing teams can leverage these trends to grow enrollments. 

1. Livestream and short-form video content 

Video boasts some of the best lead generation and conversion rates of any advertising format. According to the Conviva State of Streaming 2021 report, 23% of global viewing time is spent watching live content on platforms like Facebook and Instagram; the other 77% is spent watching on-demand content. 

Higher education marketing teams should aim to create well-branded digital content that prioritizes humor, vulnerability, and honesty. A more realistic and less polished tone is more likely to resonate with prospective students.

As for the length of video content, short-form is better for lead generation than long-form. At MindMax, we aim for a maximum of 30 seconds per video.

2. Realistic influencers and content creators

Investing in influencers and content creators might seem like more of an e-commerce strategy than a higher education marketing strategy, but hear us out: identifying students and professors who genuinely represent your school or program’s value proposition and leveraging their voices for social media and short-form video content can be incredibly effective. Hearing from professors and students also provides a valid testimonial and proof of outcomes (i.e., ROI).

For example, Rice Business’s Day in the Life series follows MBA students in short, unscripted videos to give prospective students an idea of what they can expect from the program. You won’t find any fancy camerawork in these videos, and that’s what makes them so engaging and authentic.

3. Conversational marketing 

Communication platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger can allow for informal and unscripted communication with prospective students. 

We’re currently testing and refining this approach so that we can leverage it effectively in the future when it becomes more commonplace in higher education marketing. 

In the meantime, we encourage schools to infuse more personality into LiveChat conversations with students. Ideally, LiveChat personnel should be knowledgeable and use a brand-appropriate tone. Tip: start by eliminating “sir” and “ma’am” from greetings.

4. Exceptional customer service

Schools can build trust with students by developing a seamless experience between all marketing and enrollment touchpoints. 

For example, if one team is providing LiveChat support and escalating prospective students to a separate enrollment team, both teams should be in sync with each other and ready to respond when a prospective student needs assistance. 

5. Highlighting social values 

Schools that seek to embrace humanization must be prepared to articulate their values, which can help establish who they are, foster a genuine sense of trust, and differentiate them from the competition. 

You may remember back in 2012 when the memorable You Can Play campaign launched with the goal of eliminating homophobia in sports and creating a safer and more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches, and fans. 

Many schools across the country were inspired by the campaign, enlisting their star athletes to help convey the message, “If you can play, you can play,” in powerful, informal videos, like this one from University of Vermont. 

It’s worth noting that spotlighting social values in higher education marketing requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. Today’s audiences are quick to note the difference between authenticity and pandering. Done well, however, bringing social values front and center can be deeply humanizing and impactful. 

Want to leverage humanization trends in your school’s lead nurturing strategy? MindMax can help. Contact us today to set up a meeting and discuss your goals!