The Five Phases of a Marketing Campaign Life-Cycle

In a previous article we discussed marketing campaign roles and responsibilities. Today you will learn about a typical campaign lifecycle that is a foundation for a campaign management methodology that works well for a small number of campaigns run by a small team but can also scale to support a larger team running many campaigns.

At a high level, each campaign has five key phases:

Phase When It Happens Key Outputs
Initiation Annual /quarterly planning
  • Campaign Proposal approved
  • Campaign Calendar updated
Planning Weeks 12 – 11 before Start date (two weeks in total)
  • Campaign Plan prepared
  • R-Chart prepared (as part of the Campaign Plan)
Development Weeks 10 – 2 before Start date (nine weeks in total)
  • Landing pages and all other assets prepared
  • Legal paperwork prepared
  • Testing/experiments set up
  • Media plan in place; media pre-paid if required
Execution Between Start and End date
  • Business goals achieved!!
  • Campaign plan and assets tweaked as required
Close-out Weeks 1 – 2 after End date (two weeks in total)
  • Final report prepared
  • Marketing Knowledgebase updated
  • Campaign assets and documents archived



1) Inevitably, there will be opportunities and/or needs for campaigns when the whole lifecycle takes much less than three months, however even for these “opportunistic campaigns” it is very important to go through all five phases.

2) The Key Outputs part will vary from team to team and will be influenced by the type of campaign.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the typical campaign phases.

Initiation Phase

The Initiation phase can begin at any time and normally takes up to two weeks depending on the workload of the people involved.

What By Whom
Campaign idea is submitted Anyone
Idea is approved or declined Product Marketing Manager
If declined, idea is archived Product Marketing Manager
Campaign Owner appointed Product Marketing Manager
Person who submitted the idea is informed of the outcome Product Marketing Manager
Campaign Proposal is prepared Campaign Owner
Campaign Proposal is reviewed Product Marketing Manager
Campaign Calendar updated Product Marketing Manager


Planning Phase

The Planning phase begins 12 weeks before the Campaign Start date and normally takes up to two weeks depending on the workload of the people involved.

What By Whom
Campaign Proposal is reviewed and updated Product Marketing Manager with Campaign Owner
Campaign Manager is appointed Product Marketing Manager
Campaign Plan is prepared and presented for approval Campaign Manager, in consultation with Campaign Owner and others as required
Campaign Plan approved Product Marketing Manager


Development Phase

The Development phase begins 10 weeks before the Campaign Start date and lasts until one week before the Start date of the Campaign (a total of nine weeks).

What By Whom
The “development part” of the Campaign Plan is done The campaign team, coordinated by the Campaign Manager
Business readiness signed off one week before the Start date Campaign Manager


Execution Phase

The Execution phase lasts between the Start and End dates of the Campaign.

What By Whom
The Campaign is run and optimised The team, in accordance with the Campaign Plan
Results are reported Campaign Owner


Close-out Phase

The Close-out phase begins after the End date and lasts for two weeks.

What By Whom
Final campaign report prepared Campaign Manager and Campaign Owner
Final campaign report archived Campaign Manager
Marketing Knowledgebase updated TBD
BAU for new customers begins As per the Campaign Plan


In the next article on campaign management we will look at some useful templates that you can adapt to meet your specific needs.