The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy is a nationally ranked pharmacy school, but there was something they were missing — a way to better enable their application process via Inbound Marketing.

Welcome to the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy

The University of WisconsinMadison School of Pharmacy is a global leader in pharmacy education, research, and service in pharmaceutical, social, and clinical sciences. Their goal is to educate and professionally develop pharmacists and scientists.

Nationally, the University of WisconsinMadison School of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 10 pharmacy schools. The School of Pharmacy is recognized for its academic rigor and quality of degree programs, world-renowned faculty, breadth of research, extensive alumni network, and legacy of innovation (they were the first pharmacy school to offer a baccalaureate degree in pharmacy). Combined with their dedication to experiential learning and outstanding student outcomes, it's easy to see why they are nationally acclaimed.


The School of Pharmacy's Challenges

Despite their ranking and success as a top PharmD program, the University of WisconsinMadison School of Pharmacy still had challenges they were facing. There were three main challenges that they wanted to turn into strengths:

  1. An Incomplete Understanding of Their Applicant Personas: When prospective students apply to the School of Pharmacy the majority of their information is collected at once. Using this data, UW–Madison School of Pharmacy wanted to develop an understanding of where their leads and applicants were coming from, who they were and how they were completing the application process.
  2. Their Pool of Applicants Could Be Larger: The School of Pharmacy was by no means struggling to receive applicants. But, they knew they could cast a wider net if they improved their marketing strategy.
  3. A Complete Lack of Lead Nurturing: Many prospective students would begin the PharmCAS application (the application for pharmacy school) but never complete it. Or worse, never even begin to apply in the first place. Because they had no lead nurturing strategy, the University of WisconsinMadison School of Pharmacy was missing out on multiple opportunities to convert prospective applicants into actual applicants.

The majority of these challenges stemmed from one key factor, UW–Madison School of Pharmacy hadn't enabled their marketing efforts via inbound. But that was going to change soon.


Choosing a Partner - Why Campaign Creators? 

The University of WisconsinMadison School of Pharmacy wasn't interested in partnering with a digital marketing agency with a background in education. They viewed the typical marketing style of higher education as outdated and unable to produce the results they wanted to see. Instead, they wanted to partner with an agency that would bring in a different set of perspectives and solutions.

Campaign Creators interested the School of Pharmacy because they are a customer-focused marketing agency with the ability to nurture leads and drive conversions for their clients. UW–Madison School of Pharmacy partnered with them because they knew that they would not be getting a one-size-fits-all higher education digital marketing strategy, but instead a hand-tailored, conversion-driven strategy that would help them overcome their challenges.


The Goals

Aligning with their challenges, the University of WisconsinMadison School of Pharmacy had three main goals in mind. They wanted to form concrete buyer personas, increase the reach of their marketing, and most importantly, improve their lead nurturing so that more prospective students would begin and complete their PharmCAS application. Plus, they needed a way to enable marketing strategies to reach these goals, which was via the help of Campaign Creators.


Develop Buyer Personas

The School of Pharmacy wanted to get a clear picture of who their ideal buyer personas are. In other words, they wanted to know exactly who began and completed the PharmCAS application. They wanted to know these personas' demographics, what events they attended, what emails they received, and any other pertinent information.


Increase Marketing Reach

UW–Madison School of Pharmacy's second goal was to increase the reach of their marketing efforts to improve both the quantity and the quality of the leads in their database. This increase in reach would effectively increase the number of students they could nurture which would directly affect the number of students that complete the PharmCAS Application.


Develop a Lead Nurturing Strategy and Drive Applications 

As we said, the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy had absolutely zero inbound marketing in place. This was something that they knew they had to change and wanted to do so through the creation of a lead nurturing strategy which would encourage prospective students to look into the program, begin the application process and ultimately complete the application.


How Were These Goals Achieved?

While this was a multi-step process that took collaboration from both Campaign Creators and the University of WisconsinMadison School of Pharmacy, there were two main activities that helped the School of Pharmacy achieve their goals. They were...

  • The creation of a buyer persona overview, which contained information on:
    • Contacts who were nurtured to begin their PharmCAS application
    • Contacts who began their PharmCAS application
    • Contacts who were nurtured to complete their PharmCAS application
    • Contacts who completed their PharmCAS application
    • Contact who were nurtured to both begin their PharmCAS application and complete their application
    • Contacts who were nurtured to complete their PharmCAS but did not begin their application
  • The launch of their Fall 2019 Enrollment Campaign, which contained:
    • 4 Landing Pages
    • 27 Emails
    • 5 Workflows
    • 1 Website Pop-Up


The Results? Marketing Enablement!

With the completion of these two activities, and a multitude of other projects, meetings and processes put in place, the University of WisconsinMadison School of Pharmacy officially began enabling inbound marketing. Not only had they been converted to inbound, but they were also seeing results from it.


The Fall 2019 Enrollment Persona Overview

The creation of the Fall 2019 Persona Overview gave the UW–Madison School of Pharmacy insight into everyone who was enrolled in their Fall 2019 Campaign. This allowed them to see who they were nurturing, where they were coming from, and who was completing the application. The data allowed them to see contact characteristics, such as:

  • What colleges they were coming from;
  • How many of them attended the open house event;
  • How many contacts had heard from them prior to the campaigns;
  • Their School year;
  • Their Demographics;
  • How many of them were new contacts;
  • And more.



With this data in hand, the School of Pharmacy has been able to get a clear view of who their contacts are and will be able to segment them for future campaigns. This will allow them to send more targeted messages to the contacts, improving their lead nurturing and driving applications.


Fall 2019 Enrollment Success

There were two main goals of this campaign: to enable students to begin their application and then for those who began their application to finish it.

First, prospective applicants were encouraged to apply through a multi-email drip workflow that gave both early decision and non-early decision applicants crucial information about how to apply, why they should apply, and why they should choose the University of WisconsinMadison School of Pharmacy. The implementation of this campaign allowed the School of Pharmacy to start a conversation with a large number of prospective applicants, both increasing the quantity of applicants and the quality of applicants.

In the Application Start Workflow:

  • 1,418 students were enrolled;
  • Of those, the campaign saw a conversion rate of 8.5% among students who began their application after receiving the nurture emails;
  • There was an open rate of above 31% and an average click-through rate of 2.73% on the top 3 performing emails.



Next, there was the Application Complete Workflow, which was a multi-email drip campaign targeted at students who began their application but did not finish it.

In the Application Complete Workflow:

  • 620 students were enrolled;
  • Of those, the campaign saw a conversion rate of 37% among those who completed and submitted their application;
  • There was an average open rate of 62.5% and an average click-through rate of 6.36% on the top 3 performing emails.

Influenced Contacts





In the end, through the implementation of their Fall 2019 Enrollment Campaign, and lead nurturing as a whole, the University of WisconsinMadison School of Pharmacy saw completed applications pacing ahead of the previous year. All thanks to the hard work of both the School of Pharmacy and Campaign Creators to develop an effective inbound marketing strategy.

Interested in implementing lead nurturing tactics into your inbound marketing strategy? Check out our How to Create a Lead Nurturing Campaign guide to learn how to successfully nurture your leads into customers.

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Originally published January 30, 2019, updated December 20, 2019
Tags: lead nurturing inbound marketing