Building it Right From the Start: Wheaton’s Slate Implementation Success.

Located in suburban Wheaton, IL, 25 miles west of downtown Chicago, Wheaton College is an explicitly Christian, academically rigorous, fully residential liberal arts college and graduate school.

And just like all other admissions and marketing offices around the country, the Wheaton team is tasked with producing innovative strategies that get the word out to prospective students and drive enrollment.

The Challenge

In early 2022, the Wheaton team adopted Slate, the go-to CRM platform in higher education. However, customizing it for their unique processes without disrupting ongoing student recruitment posed a significant challenge. 

In particular, Wheaton was committed to upholding their tradition of having superior student outreach and determined to avoid compromises during the CRM transition

They recognized the need for assistance when facing the duality of these high standards and their internal bandwidth constraints, and turned to us–a like-minded partner in success.

The Better Way

Waybetter quickly assembled a dedicated team to build all aspects of student outreach from the ground up for all populations.

Regardless of source, when students entered the system, it was important for them to be routed to the correct campaign/portal, to see the correct call-to-action, and to be seamlessly ushered through the admissions process. 

The goal was simple — have a broad enough reach to account for all segments while ensuring the messaging tapped into each individual’s specific interests and needs.

And, here’s how Waybetter achieved it:

  1. Dissecting the Data Profile: Before the building could begin, even before the writing could begin, it was critical to understand the data being collected and stored on a record. This would dictate how we would query and isolate audiences and how the messaging could be personalized.

  2. Accounting for All Audiences: Admissions marketing never gets easier (especially with declining census figures for high school seniors). Now more than ever, it’s important to account for all audiences and make the most of every opportunity and touchpoint. And because Wheaton’s foundational data elements had an air-tight configuration, we set out to have dedicated messaging for every status (prospect, inquiry, applicant), every grad year (sophomore, junior, senior), and every user type (parent, student).

  3. The Power of Personalization: Throughout campaign messaging and the student portal, the content was not only custom to Wheaton but, more importantly, built on relevancy. Relevant to who the student is (where they live, what they want to major in, etc.). Relevant to where they are in the process and always offering next-step information. And relevant to the time of year and showcasing can’t-miss deadlines and events. In Slate, this was all made possible with the use of content blocks and liquid markup.

  4. Planning for the Future: Everything configured in Slate is another thing to maintain. And while the Waybetter team still offers monthly support to Wheaton, the construction around campaigns and portals was deliberately configured to be free of dependencies. Any Slate user could easily account for cycle-related changes making all assets truly evergreen. While this piece doesn’t necessarily impact the student experience, it does streamline administrative tasks freeing up more time to attract and retain top-tier students.

Wheaton prospective students were now being marketed to in ways they never had before. And they were applying with record-breaking numbers.

Results

This deep level of personalization across all student touchpoints didn’t just check the box for marketing best practices. It delivered big results.

0 % +
application starts since 2019
0 %
yield rate (highest since 2019)
0 % +
gross deposits YOY

“Waybetter has time and time again shown that their Slate expertise goes well beyond the needs of our projects—which is exactly what we needed.

We’ve accomplished so much in a very short amount of time and it’s provided an incredible foundation on which we’re continuing to build, both with WB’s support and on our own. I feel like we’re true partners.”