School Marketing Predictions for 2024

School marketing predictions for 2024

Organized by Trevor Waddington, Founder & President, Truth Tree

Last year, I predicted YouTube Shorts and TikTok content curation would be “the thing” for school marketers. While more schools have a presence on both platforms, it didn’t take off the way I thought it would. 

I’m excited and anxious about 2024. How will schools evolve and grow as the demands of marketing increase?

Let’s read what our experts think.

Aubrey Bursch, Founder & CEO, Easy School Marketing
In 2024, I foresee a heightened significance of social proof in the decision-making process for prospective students and parents. Understanding this shift, schools should prioritize enhancing their online presence. It’s crucial to ensure that the social proof presented across various platforms in a Google search reflects positively on the school. Maintaining a positive and accurate narrative about the institution across these online spaces is essential to leave a favorable impression on prospective families.

Bart Caylor, President, Caylor Solutions
Looking to 2024, the integration of generative artificial intelligence (AI) into education is poised to create a significant shift. AI’s (think ChatGPT) potential to transform educational practices offers immense opportunities for those adept in its use while presenting challenges for those unprepared for its rapid advancement. Managing this change, particularly in the context of economic fluctuations and demographic shifts in K–12 education, will be a critical task for leaders. They must proactively adapt to the evolving demands of this new era.

Hillary Lupusoru, Creative Content Strategist, Truth Tree
With Merriam-Webster’s 2023 word of the year being “authentic,” authenticity is poised to remain a key force in school marketing for 2024, reflecting a cultural emphasis on genuine experiences. By prioritizing transparency, educational institutions empower parents and students to make informed decisions, fostering deeper connections and mutually beneficial relationships within communities. As we move into 2024, the continued prominence of authenticity in school marketing promises a more genuine and enriching experience for all.

Karl Boehm, Founder and Chief Marketing Strategist, Spiral Marketing
In 2023, private schools faced a complex landscape marked by technological advancements and mixed economic recovery. As we enter an election year in 2024, the rise of technologies like ChatGPT will continue influencing content, both in homework and online. Additionally, advertisers are increasing their spending to cut through the noise. This situation necessitates that schools differentiate themselves creatively in their outreach. Schools must also focus on community engagement, resilience, and adaptability. Addressing key areas such as digital literacy, environmental education, and global perspectives is crucial to prepare students for a rapidly evolving world.

Angie Ward, Founder & President, Enroll Media Group
We predict that schools are going to more widely accept that video needs to be used as a recruitment tool beyond the website, YouTube, and social media. There will be an increased demand for reaching families through OTT/CTV methods. 

We also predict school marketers will experience greater demand for showing return on investment (ROI) for their marketing efforts. The tools to measure ROI are becoming more accessible and easier to use, and marketers will be held accountable for their investments in a more data-driven manner.

Rob Norman, Best Boy, Inspired School Marketers
School leadership will continue increasing their allocation of assets, both in budgets, salaries, and personnel, to the MarCom departments so that they can do their job more effectively. Seth Godin, one of the world’s leading marketing experts, might agree that the need exists.

Chris Pryor, Founder and Principal, LeadTeam Partners
I predict elite high school student-athletes will begin exploring the possibilities around NIL (name, image and likeness). The impact for school administrators with these particular families will be that they will first consider the financial upside of joining one independent school over another. NIL money will have a direct impact on enrollment, financial aid and retention as its availability grows among high-school athletes. 

Brendan Schneider, Founder and CEO, SchneiderB Media
I’m sad to predict that we will find schools that fail to adopt a marketing mindset (a strategic approach to student recruitment, a focus on fostering deep parent engagement, and consistent efforts to build and maintain brand awareness) AND fail to attribute accountable to the marketing mindset across different stakeholders, including school leadership, the marketing team, and teachers and staff, will, unfortunately, close this year.

Anastasia Chichinadze, Director of Technology and Innovation, Truth Tree
As the reliance of millennial and Gen Z parents on online reviews increases, it might surpass the impact of traditional word-of-mouth referrals. Some of the easiest and most cost-efficient strategies for schools to capitalize on online reviews are using student and parent testimonials in paid ads (assuming they’re already doing PPC) and showing testimonial widgets on most-visited web pages.

Tara Claeys, Founder & Owner, Design TLC
I think this year is going to bring a new focus on accessibility for websites. This trend is already a priority in Europe, where new laws require that websites meet various accessibility standards, such as color contrast, navigation, and link behavior. I predict this will be slow to be implemented in the U.S., but independent schools will need to start thinking about this, especially if they reach an international audience. AI will also become more widely used for website content generation, especially elements like SEO meta descriptions. From a design standpoint, we will see large, bold type and animated sections to add more life, interactivity, and movement to school websites. 

Trevor Waddington, Principal, Truth Tree
We’ve got SEO, SEM, SMM, and PPC as digital marketing acronyms (among others). 2024 will usher in the age of AIRO- Artificial Intelligence Results Optimization. Need an explanation? Go to ChatGPT, Pi.Ai, or the best AI chatbot today and ask it to name the top 5 schools in your school’s town, city, or region. If you’re not on the list, you need to work on your AIRO.

Identify your school’s next digital marketing move.