Many small and midsize businesses are champing at the bit to ring in 2011, with expectations of improving economic conditions and smoother sailing ahead. But before we count down the clock just yet, it's often prudent to take a quick look back at where we've been. Therein lie the lessons learned -- and hopefully a few causes for celebration, too -- that can build the foundation for future success. Although we may have to wait until next year -- or 2014, even -- to see how all of that political a
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Speaking of SMB marketing: A rather large concern, Google, began to throw its weight around in local business advertising this year. In April, it re-launched its local products as Google Places, which includes free listings for businesses. In October, it added Boost to the mix, offering (in select cities) paid, localized search on maps and in other results. (Boost's pilot launch just happened to coincide with Microsoft's announcement of a unified account platform for Bing and Yahoo! advertisers.) Most recently, Google has taken to the streets -- actual, physical streets! -- of Portland, OR, with a marketing campaign that will put its new local recommendation engine, Hotpot, to the test.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.