It’s the first monday of the new year and even if you aren’t usually a person to make new year’s resolutions, chances are you are still thinking about doing things slightly differently in 2009 than you did in 2008. It’s a new start and that’s the beauty of the first few weeks in January. They are a time when you can swear off the mistakes of last year and choose to do things differently. It also presents a big opportunity for marketing. Here are three ways that you could use "resolution marketing" to position and promote your brand in the new year:

  1. Help break a bad tradition – There is no better time to attack a competitor that your potential customers may have been doing business with for a long time and get them to switch. Utility services like home telephone service or car insurance are often things that people have chosen some time ago and stuck with more out of convenience than any long term loyalty. Target those customers with a compelling reason to break their old (and therefore outdated) tradition and consider switching to you.
  2. Offer small "resolution victories" – Many surveys being promoted in media this week could tell you the major resolutions for most people in the US and likely around the world. They range from common things like losing weight and working less to more niche dreams like finally buying that yacht or taking a trip to the Pyramids. No matter what the resolution, people want to feel good about moving towards their goal. Nothing does this as effectively as a "resolution victory." These are the small steps along the way to fulfilling a resolution. This could mean purchasing a Lonely Planet guide on Egypt, or choose Subway for lunch instead of that slice of deep dish pizza. Neither is about achieving the resolution, they are just small steps along the way, but still offer a powerful bonding moment with your brand if you can offer them.
  3. Create useful how-to content – Many resolutions are about education or optimization – in other words, how can I learn to do something new or do what I’m already doing more effectively? Both are perfect opportunities to use content to deliver a useful message that links back to your brand. So if you’re selling tea, for example, don’t just talk about your new flavor, offer some education on an afternoon tea ritual that can be done in a cubicle and transform your afternoon. As long as the content you’re creating is useful, it will be relevant and likely to be passed along.

Over the next few weeks, we all have a short time to use resolution marketing before it won’t work anymore. Before you accuse me of being pessimistic, I’m not saying that everyone will forget all about their resolutions in a few weeks. But I’m pretty sure that deep dish pizza place near your office will have a lot more business for lunch at the end of this month than they will have at the beginning of it.