By Paula Conway – President, Founder of Astonish Media Group

You’re a young tech company and just received your first (or second) round of funding.  You’re company might have $3-$5 million on the table and you, the board, and other key members of the start-up are discussing the many ways you will launch the brand.  Will you use advertising?  Marketing? Public Relations?    If this sounds like you, here are six common mistakes that early stage start-ups fall victim to when considering their advertising, marketing, and public relations campaign.

We Need to Drive Sales, Let’s Just Hire a Publicist For starters, PR does NOT exclusively drive sales.  It certainly can, but to hire a PR firm just to drive your sales, is a BIG MISTAKE.  You need a well thought out marketing campaign to leverage your PR efforts.  Otherwise, you are quite literally throwing money down the toilet.  Sales is SHORT TERM GAIN.  Longevity is the name of the game and that’s where PR comes in.

Forget PR, We’ll Just Do Some Marketing Okay, this is not the worst idea of the day, but it is certainly not the best.  It depends on what you are selling really.  Let’s say you’ve created this awesome app and it’s the next big thing.  Exactly how do you think you are going to compete with all of the other hundreds of thousands of apps out there?  If you think marketing is going to do it alone, think again.  The type of credibility you get from public relations cannot be bought.  The right PR will position you distinctly among competitors as an expert in your field, to be taken seriously.  That little item in the Wall Street Journal is worth more than 100 digital ads, particularly if you know how to leverage it. 

Our Two-Year Old Company Made 20 Million in Sales Last Year.  We Don’t Need To Change a Thing Where to begin.  Long term branding is not just about income.  Income comes, and it goes.  But let’s be fair, what are your goals?  If you are designing the next iTunes, then you surely better take note if your website is cumbersome, vague, and hard to navigate.  Think of it this way: when you see a celebrity in the news for drug abuse, what do you think?  Sad, right?  Do you say to yourself “well, she’s a celebrity and she’s hot, so it doesn’t matter.”  No way, you know that all the money in the world wont change the fact that she’s headed for trouble.  It will catch up with her.  Get your ship in order, in every way, and then we can talk honestly.

Tell Me What I Want To Hear, Don’t Give Me Advice When you go to the doctor and tell him that your knee hurts so badly that I can’t walk and he says “let’s take an X-Ray and see what’s going on,” do you say “nah, just give me some drugs and let me go home”?  Experts, whether it be publicists, marketers, or lawyers, are paid for a reason.  You certainly earned your chops with this amazing little company you’ve just launched, but why would you pay for someone to help you and not listen to them?  Put your ego aside, and learn.  The better your brand, the more money you’ll make in the long run, and the more respect your company will garner in the marketplace.

For more DON’T’s, just call me!