For the first time, small businesses can use QuickBooks to market themselves online by listing their businesses on Google Maps, creating and managing advertising campaigns with Google AdWords and posting their products for sale on Google through Google Base - a free product listing service. Integrated into QuickBooks 2007, available this fall, QuickBooks customers will have the ability to attract new customers using Google, the world's leading search engine.
"Intuit is committed to partnering with best-in-class companies to help solve important customer problems," said Steve Bennett, president and chief executive officer of Intuit. "By partnering with a leading company like Google, we bring together Intuit's strength in creating easy-to-use solutions with Google's Web expertise to offer leading-edge online services to help small businesses attract new customers."
I've attended a couple of conferences recently where e-marketing pros locally are saying that most small firms still are not aware of how they can use the web.
Some very large percent of the searches on G are said to be for local info--I think it was about 25 percent. That's an opportunity lost for G and the local biz and the consumer. Something needs to be done. Perhaps the interface with Quickbooks (God love them and my accountant) will help. Too bad it's just G, however. It would be simple enough to submit to others as well. I would assume that G is paying Intuit for this service. Yahoo and others would be wise to take a look at it.
This direct-to-distribution path is dejavu for me.
I saw first hand the decline of travel agencies in the early 2000's with the rapid popularity of online travel sites that allowed consumers to go direct to travel vendors (airlines, hotels, cars, etc) and skip the middle man (travel agent).
If Yahoo and others follow, SEM agencies may suffer a similar loss in business. SEM agencies should prepare a contingency plan.