Tulsa hero

The University of Tulsa

The challenges were unprecedented. So were the results (although not completely unpredictable).

The Challenge

The Opportunity

In the Fall of 2020, no college or university could predict the impact COVID-19 would have on 2021 enrollment. The University of Tulsa (TU) was no exception. Rather than take a “wait and see” approach, the university’s interim president and Marketing & Communications team decided to use the utter uncertainty as an opportunity both to address long-standing brand challenges and to go on the offense in terms of recruitment. They just needed a partner to help them make it a reality.

Tulsa Logo

The Solution

With just five months to meet enrollment goals, SimpsonScarborough launched an admissions-focused microsite for TU as well as an omni-channel, branded digital ad campaign to:

  • Drive undergraduate enrollment
  • Increase awareness of and engagement with the TU brand across Oklahoma and the region
  • Integrate messages about affordability and accessibility to mitigate common misperceptions of private universities as expensive and elitist
  • Strengthen perceptions of the city of Tulsa

To increase the likelihood of success, we used performance metrics to to continually optimize both the media strategy and creative and track progress toward the campaign’s goals.

Brand guidelines
Brand guidelines
Brand guidelines
Tulsa Field
Scope of work

Scope of Work

Scope 0

Stakeholder interviews, materials overview, and brand and competitor audits.

Scope 1

Message development, creative concepting and execution, and media strategy for a five-month digital media campaign. Assets included branded digital media and guidelines, as well as the media launch, monitoring, reporting, and optimizing.

Scope 2

Campaign microsite plus search engine and conversion rate optimization.

The Results

Despite the many challenges and unknowns that plagued this unprecedented recruitment season, in just five months, the branded digital campaign achieved every measurable goal set forth at the outset of our partnership with the University of Tulsa. And then some.


  • Reached Fall 2021 admit goal early (January), just two months into the five-month campaign
  • Record number of both applications and admits from the state of Texas, a primary focus of the campaign
  • $34.16 cost per acquisition, driving down the cost of acquiring qualified prospects


  • 24.5M impressions in five months
  • 5,180 conversions
    • 609 undergraduate application clicks
    • 70 transfer application clicks
    • 995 clicks to “schedule a visit”
    • 164 clicks to “contact an admissions counselor”
    • 77 clicks to “request information”
  • 24,964 unique sessions
  • 150,016 pageviews

Essential insights. Delivered monthly.