Project Lifecycle

Each marketing project has a life cycle that generally consists of five consecutive stages: 

  1. Initiation
  2. Strategic development
  3. Creative development
  4. Final approval
  5. Print production and delivery


To initiate a project with the Marketing and Creative Services team, request a marketing consultation with Chris Decker at

Please be prepared to answer the following:

  • What is the project’s purpose and who is the target audience(s)?
  • What are you trying to tell your audience or get them to do?
  • Will the project have other related print or electronic elements?
  • How will the project be distributed or delivered?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is your desired deadline for delivery?
  • If the project is a printed piece, do you know what quantity you will need?

Strategic Development

Once the marketing team has been assigned, we will contact you to schedule an initial launch meeting. The meeting’s purpose is to clearly define the scope of the project and the roles and responsibilities of each team member.

Discussion topics could include:

  • The project’s purpose, goals and target audience(s)
  • Scope of the project
  • Budget (if over $5K, the University of Maryland requires a competitive bid)
  • Planning for creation and maintenance of websites
  • Your role as a member of the team
  • The service you can expect and will receive from your Smith MarComm team members
  • Photo requirements
  • Project delivery deadline and delivery instructions
  • Method of distribution (e.g., mailing)
  • Recommended tactics and execution

Some of these items may be addressed in subsequent meetings.

Once the launch meeting has been held, we will create and distribute a creative brief and project timeline. The brief is an agreement between us. It defines the goals, objectives and project parameters, such as due dates, deliverables and creative direction. All members of the creative team as well as other MarComm colleagues involved in the project reference the brief to ensure that marketing support is aligned with the creative approach and agreed-upon objectives. If an estimate for contracted work exceeds $5,000, Smith MarComm manages this aspect of your project for you by soliciting competitive quotes from a selection of pre-qualified vendors.

Creative Development

The marketing and creative services team manages creative development, which encompasses various phases including research, conceptual development, writing, copyediting, design, proofreading and photography or videography. While each project is unique, this stage typically includes ongoing communication, approvals and meetings with you and some or all of the creative team as necessary.

Content and approval deadlines will be listed in the project timeline. This is important to maintaining the schedule. It is expected that copy that is submitted is accurate, complete, and has been reviewed by your team, including the final decision-maker. Extensive editing of the text in layout form is both costly and time-consuming. 

Once we have agreed on a design direction, we will discuss your printing options and make recommendations.

This is usually the longest phase of the project timeline and can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the requirements of the project.

Final Approval

As the creative development phase nears completion, the marketing and creative services team will supply a final proof for review and approval.

The final approval stage allows you the opportunity to make any necessary adjustments. However, with effective and timely communication throughout the creative development phase, adjustments at this stage should be minimal. While we will make every effort to complete the job accurately you are responsible for final sign off on the project.

Before a project goes into production, we’ll require the following:

An e-mail clearly stating:

    • Your approval
    • Confirmation of quantity
    • FRS# for the printing of your project (if required)
    • Delivery/mailing instructions for the project

Print Production and Delivery

This is the final phase of your project. During this phase, we will prepare your project for printing and monitor it throughout the print production process so you receive a quality product on time.