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Why PR Trumps Marketing for Startups

As Bill Gates once quoted: “If I were down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.”

In the fast-paced world of startups, the race for attention and market share is relentless. Marketing often takes centre stage, captivating startups with its promise of immediate sales and customer acquisition. However, overlooking the power of public relations (PR) can be a costly mistake. While marketing, with its direct impact on sales figures, may seem like the more appealing choice for resource-constrained startups, PR holds a brand’s reputation, establishing credibility and trust among key stakeholders. This intangible asset is the cornerstone of long-term growth, a goal that often eludes startups.

Startups, as new entrants in their respective fields, face the challenge of establishing credibility and trust in the eyes of potential customers and investors. They essentially play a perception game, where their reputation is paramount to their success. This is where PR steps in, armed with its ability to shape positive perceptions and build brand awareness through earned media and third-party validation.

Unlike marketing, which focuses on paid advertising and targeted campaigns, PR offers startups a cost-effective alternative to reach a wider audience. Organic media coverage, strategic partnerships, and thought leadership opportunities provide startups with a platform to tell their brand story and expand their network, all without breaking the bank.

While marketing is tactical and geared towards immediate conversions, PR takes a long-term approach to brand building. By nurturing relationships with key influencers, fostering a sense of community, and encouraging transparency, PR lays the foundation for a brand’s reputation that will serve it for years to come.

The perceived slow pace of PR may seem counterintuitive for startups eager for rapid growth, but its compounding benefits make it a smarter early investment compared to marketing. Once a strong brand perception and a loyal community are established, marketing efforts become significantly more effective.

The tortoise pace of PR may feel counterintuitive for resource-strapped startups who want to scale quickly, but its compounding benefits make PR a smarter early play over marketing. Once brand perception and community are established, increased marketing becomes more effective. For startups playing the long game, PR needs to be the first beat, not just an afterthought. It is the foundation upon which a sustainable and impactful brand is built, ensuring that not just today’s customers but also those of tomorrow are drawn to the brand’s unique value proposition.

“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” – Richard Branson.


Author: Tahsin Reza, PR Professional at Backpage PR


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