It turns out that with some tweaks, you can create custom markers for a custom Google Map, and there are a variety of tools out there -- some allow you to choose from pre-set markers, others allow you to upload your own image for a marker.
For my test, I ended up starting a Starter Wordpress site at GoDaddy, ($3.95/mo), and then added the WP Google Maps plug-in.
Implementing this technique requires some basic digital editing skills - I happened to use SnagIt, a screen capture tool that has some basic editing functionality. I created a small icon with a transparent background:
And then a larger icon for the "info window" that you can have pop up when a person clicks on the Marker.
Then, inside the plug-in within the Wordpress interface, I created two custom markers, added basic information, and linked Yoda to his Wikipedia page, and me to my LinkedIn Page.
I think this kind of approach has a lot of options - from the way Goodwill used it (a way to invite people into checking out stories), or in a business setting, to link to customers, clients, locations, etc.
The bottom line is that I like the "people approach" of putting a picture up, and I think it's worth considering.
To try the map out I created, visit the sample blog (will be up for at least three months circa 3/25/15)