Put simply the controlling idea of any product or service is the main reason and of your target customers would make the purchase, in essence you are describing the strongest element of your value proposition in one statement.
The most famous example of this is when the Apple iPod first came out with the tag line: “1000 songs in your pocket”.
Now this seems a fairly terrible claim to make about any product but back then it was revolutionary.
It connected with both technophiles (a large segment for apple) and those that liked the convenience of having their music on hand on the go.
For your product or service once you know what your target segments are you can begin to hone in on your controlling idea.
If you sell gardening services you might have a controlling idea that goes something like “spend time enjoying your garden, not working on it”.
Or if you sell weight loss supplements it could be “lose weight naturally, without hard work”.
These are just two examples and will be different from how you might construct your controlling idea.
Once you’ve got it in place it needs to become a key element of all your marketing campaigns being used across all your channels relevant to the segment you are targeting.
The added benefit of doing this is that you will give your customers the language they can use to describe your value proposition to other customers without being aware they are marketing on your behalf too!
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