Know Thyself, Know Thy Students: Psychographic Marketing for Higher Education Recruitment

Carnegie Higher Ed Jul 15, 2019 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

In today’s higher education environment, it isn’t enough to fill your pool with as many prospective students as possible, blast them with the same messaging every other institution is using, and hope for the best. Successful recruitment strategies require schools to get to know their students on a deeper level. What if you could bring the right students into your funnel and drive them to enroll through strategic communications that resonate on an emotional level? That’s the power of psychographic segmentation.

Think about the current state of enrollment marketing. You likely already have an understanding of your prospective students’ demographics—education, income, gender. That’s the easy part. But do you understand their personalities, attitudes, lifestyles, and aspirations? Those qualities fall under the category of psychographic data, and it’s much more difficult to pin down. But unlocking the power of psychographic marketing will enable your institution to take a more intelligent approach to communications than ever before.

Demographics describe “who” your prospective students are. Psychographics reveal “why” they make the decisions they do.

Understanding your authentic personality

Gen Z students expect personalized interactions that connect to their core beliefs and priorities. To reach this new generation and drive them to action, you need to focus your communications on those aspects of your institution that they find most valuable.

That’s where psychographic marketing comes in. This revolutionary new marketing model starts with your institution’s human personality. Are you a rebel? A dreamer? A leader? Any school can list its student-faculty ratio or average class size—but it’s a rare school that can communicate the emotional core of their institution’s identity. When you definitively know and understand who you are, you amplify your ability to personalize your messaging and recruit the right students.

Psychographic marketing emphasizes the “why” of your institution so you can connect with prospective students on a much deeper, more authentic level.

Segmenting students by psychographic data

Once you’ve defined who you are, it’s time to understand who your ideal students are. Only when you know what truly drives them can you communicate to them in a way that speaks to their heart.

The best place to start is with your current enrolled students. Who are they? What do they believe? And why did they choose you? What are the key motivators that drive your enrolled students? Understanding your current student body on a deeper level can lead to much more insightful, data-driven enrollment strategy decisions down the road.

Then it’s time to layer these profiles with your own tagged enrollment data. At Carnegie Dartlet, we run demographic-to-psychographic modeling and pinpoint which students tend to enroll, where they exist in the nation, and how you can connect with them. The possibilities for the intelligent recruitment strategies you can implement with this data in place are nearly limitless.

Inspire and motivate incoming students through customized creative
Generate leads, increase conversions, and drive website traffic through next-level digital marketing
Drive action along every stage of your enrollment funnel through segmented comm-flows with integrated psychographic insights

Psychographics are the future of higher education marketing. We are driven to leverage this power for our clients, helping them tackle the unique enrollment challenges their institutions face. If you want to learn how to integrate the power of psychographic segmentation strategies into your marketing and communications, contact us today.

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