john shiffert: Wayland Baptist University Case Study

For Paskill Stapleton & Lord (PS&L) 2015-16

Wayland Baptist University Case Study

Wayland Baptist University

One of the top brick-and-mortar Christian colleges in the nation, Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas (WBU) wanted to reinforce its reputation as an online Christian college, and increase enrollment in its thirteen online programs. To accomplish that goal, WBU took a new approach, and decided to look specifically for a higher education firm with website development and advertising expertise to support lead generation for its online courses. Since Paskill Stapleton & Lord (PS&L) has exactly that type of expertise, and since PS&L’s goal is the long-term enrollment health of its clients, the pairing of WBU and PS&L was a natural.


PS&L decided that what was needed for WBU’s Virtual Campus was a new, more sophisticated marketing campaign with a strong web component, and also a new level of assessment that included sophisticated data capture and the resultant metrics that would measure the effectiveness of the campaign. PS&L created a lead-generating campaign from scratch, with online and offline components, and featuring a dedicated microsite, Another key part of the online campaign is a yearlong media strategy with targeted online ads, designed to drive prospective students to the microsite.

PS&L’s approach to this type of challenge is to view digital media as tactical media that can be used to take the client to the next level. However, when it comes to online programs, it’s a solution that needs share of mind . . . that is, potential students must think “WBU Online” when considering their higher education options. With the goal of using the University’s campus-based programs to drive online programs, PS&L researched where the University had the highest visibility, and then, for the campaign’s first flight, chose those markets: San Antonio, Lubbock, Phoenix, Honolulu, and Anchorage.

Further, PS&L is closely tracking the metrics generated by this campaign, metrics that will help in the creation of an ongoing, dynamic, strategic campaign to both generate leads and allow for continual adjustments to advertising and media purchases. PS&L views media plans as dynamic documents that need to be analyzed and adjusted on a regular basis based on media performance.

Upon launching the first flight of the new WBU Virtual Campus campaign, PS&L gathered data that allowed for a drilled-down look into how the campaign was performing, and also for fine-tuning and adjusting the campaign during the initial media flight. By analyzing the media in real-time, PS&L was able to improve performance during the campaign. Typically agencies conduct post-mortem campaign testing to study what worked and what did not. PS&L was testing and optimizing the WBU campaign from the first day it was live.


With the only difference being PS&L’s campaign, in its first four months (through the end of April 2015) there have been 85 additional enrollments into Wayland Baptist’s online programs. Without even looking at the lifetime revenue increase from those 85 new students, consider that tuition in WBU’s online courses is $348 per semester hour. That’s not just a great ROI, but a program that will pay for itself in very little time, likely even before the second flight of the WBU Virtual Campus campaign finishes running.