4 Reasons the ‘Biggest Little City’ is Becoming a ‘Best Place to Live and Own a Business’

You’ve probably heard that Tahoe’s sister city, Reno, NV, is booming; here are four of the main reasons why.

Since anyone can remember, the Reno and mountain areas have, in many ways, operated as one. But, while the Tahoe-Truckee sector has been able to enjoy a consistently strong tourism industry, our biggest little sister city has limped along in recent years. Back in 2011, with its unemployment rate close to 14% and its once-strong gambling industry on the slow-fade, the future was looking uncertain for the charming historic town.

But, times they’ve been a’ changing.

Today, Reno is on the ascent, becoming what some are describing as “the new Silicon Valley.” There are lots of factors contributing to Reno’s recent good fortune, but we thought we’d give our readers a quick breakdown of some of the stronger ones from our local-ish perspective.

#1 – A Booming Tech Industry

One word: Tesla.

Well, okay, there’s also Panasonic, Ardagh Group SA, Amazon and, now, Google (sort of). But, all of this is to say, there is a crazy tech boom going on in Reno, and it isn’t looking like things will slow down anytime soon. Thanks, in great part, to the recent boom, Reno’s 2017 unemployment rate stands at 4%—a stark contrast to 2011’s grim metric.

And because this boom is characterized by next-level tech, it’s drawing in a slew of very smart millennials who are spending a very lot of money. Which brings us to reason number two.

#2 – The Good Life

Little of the Millennial money is being spent on gambling. This phenomenon is contributing to the city’s transition from “gambling city” to “nice place to raise a family.” That transition has been easy, too, thanks to the area’s spectacular natural beauty, relative affordability (at least compared to the Bay Area—for now), and proximity to year-round, world-class outdoor sports.

#3 – Outdoor Sports

With Millennials in full force, it’s looking like functional fitness has gone from fad to forever. And that has been incredibly awesome news for the Reno-Tahoe area. As the Millennials continue to migrate to Reno for tech and manufacturing jobs, the demand for year-round outdoor sports and fitness has skyrocketed. From paddle boarding to skiing, snowboarding and rock climbing (and way too many more to list), the area has no shortage of ways to get outside and get fit—while having fun. And, now, there’s definitely no shortage of folks willing to pay for it, too.

#4 – A Great University

Every great city must have a great university. And it just so happens that Reno does. In the most recent U.S. News and World Report ranking, University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), was ranked in the top 110 for best public schools and the top 150 for doctoral engineering programs. It’s also ranked a national Tier 1 university and has several Division 1 NCAA sports teams. Enough said.

Are you one of our already booming or about to boom Reno businesses? We’re just up the hill and can help you thrive providing you with full-service marketing. You can reach us at info@sjmarketing.com- we can’t wait to see what’s around the corner for you and thriving Reno!

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Pet Network Just Keeps Getting More Awesome

Local Tahoe pet rescue organization Pet Network Humane Society (who, we’re quite proud to say, is also our client) helped bring in 160 pets to make room for animals displaced in the recent hurricanes.

Yep, you heard us right. Our client Pet Network Humane Society really is that awesome. The organization led the charge in early October to free up some room in New Orleans area animal shelters, funding two air shipments of 80 pets each into local airports. Read on to learn how these heroes did it.

How 160 fur balls flew the friendly skies in search of families

To make it all happen, Pet Network joined forces with Petaluma Animal Services. The two groups then put together supplies, garnered veterinary assistance, arranged for the animals’ air transport, and assembled a coalition of Reno/Tahoe and Northern California animal shelters—each willing to house some of the pets. The team got generous support from Maddie’s Fund and the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation to top things off.

In a recent news release, Jason said, “We are calling this our ‘You to the Rescue Mission’ because it relies on the kindness and generosity of many supporters, volunteers, donors, foster caregivers, and, of course, those who open their hearts and homes to adopt a rescued pet.”

How you can also be awesome

We can all help keep the awesomeness flowing! According to experts, fostering an animal for three weeks to three months can make profound difference for overall rescue efforts. And, for those of us who just have no more room in the house, giving money is just as powerful (and just as awesome). When you consider that a few extra bucks could save the life of a pet, it puts it in perspective.

If this touched your heart like it did ours, contact Pet Network today. Here’s all the info you need:

Pet Network Humane Society

401 Village Boulevard

Incline Village, NV 89451



One more thing: Thanks, Pet Network!

About Pet Network

Pet Network Humane Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) animal shelter in Incline Village, NV, that relies on the generous donations and support of the community to continue our life-saving work of rescuing, rehabilitating, and adopting homeless and neglected animals into loving homes. Visit www.petnetwork.org for more information.

Have any heartwarming fuzz-muzzle stories of your own? Please, let us know by contacting us at info@sjmarketing.com. We can never get enough!

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3 Tips to Help Your Business Survive (and Thrive!) in the Offseason

It can feel a bit like paying the piper. We enjoy eight or nine months of business so booming we can hardly handle it, then—WHAMwhere’d all the shiny happy people go?

Truth is, the shiny happy people (and their money) are so busy doing other things, they aren’t thinking about resort-life fun. But you have the power to change that!

Tip 1: Fund a Few Fests

Folks love festivals, especially when the fests are seasonally themed. One of our clients, Camp Richardson, uses the down season to host events like “Oktoberfest” and “Fall Feast.” If you can conger up anything involving craft beers, live music, tasty food, and a solid annual theme, you’ve got a money-maker on your hands.

Tip 2: Don’t Let Your Blog Bog Down

If it’s awesome, your company blog is one of the best ways to keep your business top-of-mind. Think about what your customers are up to right now. Then give them relevant content with just a dash of promotion. Are you an upscale restaurant? Write a winning recipe blog, then let them know Oktoberfest is right around the corner. Ski shop? Give them a piece on equipment maintenance, then mention your upcoming offseason blowout sale. We love the use of one of our client’s Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel’s use of their blog to promote upcoming halloween specials and holiday activities.

Tip 3: Pretend the Offseason Doesn’t Exist

Another one of our long-standing clients, Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, has found a great way to turn make-believe into make-money. Refusing to believe in the “offseason,” they call it Tahoe’s “secret season.” Then they leverage the changing leaves and dropping temps as a perfectly romantic setting for hot drinks on the lakefront deck and unforgettable bike rides through the fall forest. (Makes you want to go, doesn’t it?)

Above all, don’t forget promotion. You can put together the best event or campaign in the world, but if you don’t promote, there’s no point.


Have you generated booming business in the offseason? Well, let’s hear about it! Share your secrets with us at info@sjmarketing.com

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Tourism Marketing: How Archetypes Can Help Create Authenticity


Tell a Story to Create a Connection in Tourism Marketing

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away they all lived happily ever after.

As human beings, we crave stories because we’re brought up on them. They’re how we communicate with one another. So, it’s only natural that we want to connect with a place, an idea, or a brand through a story. And, an essential element of a story is a strong cast of characters based on commonly understood archetypes: “The Hero,” “The Caregiver,” “The Lover,” “The Rebel.”

As marketers, brand makers and designers, we can use this innate, human need for stories, characters and connection as a powerful ally. Often, we see brands singularly leverage archetypes. Trader Joe‘s is “The Every Person,” embodying a belief in equality and community. TED is “The Magician,” working to transform your ideas and point of view.

But, what if your brand is more than one archetype? What if it takes several of these universal characters to create a personified version of your organization. What if it takes a combination of many?

That’s the situation we at SJ Marketing explored as we created a new campaign for the Carson Valley Visitors Authority (CVVA). The agency is the designated tourism marketing organization for Gardnerville, Genoa, Minden, and Topaz Lake — four rustic Nevada communities rich in culture located south and east of Lake Tahoe. As we developed a strategy for the CVVA, we sought to answer a couple fundamental questions: Why do people come to the Carson Valley? What motivates them?

Get Inspiration from People Who Live There

To find the answers, I hit the road with Cathy Davis, the brand manager on the account. We visited different businesses and museums, talking to everyday people about their experiences.

Our takeaway was that there are a lot of reasons you would want to visit Carson Valley—none of which scream at you as you’re driving through town. There were exceptional experiences hidden behind ordinary exteriors. You had to find them.

Bring Archetypes Together to Strengthen the Story

As we began to develop the “Find Your Wild” tourism marketing campaign with the CVVA, it became apparent this uniqueness couldn’t be conveyed with a single archetype such as The Explorer. Instead, we went beyond the most typical 12 Jungian archetypes and looked at the 60 types explored in “Archetypes in Branding: A Toolkit for Creatives and Strategists.”

From those types, we narrowed in on five that truly embodied and connected with the area:

  • The Adventurer: Fearless. Risk taking. Focus. Daring. Spontaneity. Hunger for a new experience.
  • The Athlete: Strength and power. Discipline, Competence. Bravery. Honor. Achievement orientation.
  • The Entrepreneur: Confidence to be led by vision. Talent for innovation. High tolerance for ambiguity and complexity. Skill as a self-starter.
  • The Explorer: Independence. Bravery. Freedom. Self-sufficiency. Nonconformity.
  • The Sovereign: Rank. Tradition. Benevolence. Assumed authority. Inherited responsibility. Nobility. Stability.

These would be our guides to the Carson Valley area — our Legends of the Valley. Then, we set out to find actual people who lived and worked in the Carson Valley and personified those archetypes.

Meet the Archetypes in the Tourism Marketing Campaign

The Explorer: J.T. Humphrey


We captured J.T. Humphrey, a local wildlife and outdoor photographer, in his natural element. Photo Credit: Jeff Dow Photography

The Athlete: Kate Blake


We followed Carson Valley mountain biker Kate Blake as she rode with Mr. Rose in the background. Photo Credit: Jeff Dow Photography

The Sovereigns: J.B. and Marie Lekumberry


We managed to wrangle J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room owners J.B. and Marie Lekumberry in between Picons and Basque dinners. Photo Credit: Jeff Dow Photography

The Entrepreneur: Dana Gaworski


We pulled up a stool next to Dana Gaworksi, a bartender at Nevada’s oldest watering hole, the Genoa Bar. Photo Credit: Jeff Dow Photography

The Adventurer: Cole Pinther


We snapped SoaringNV pilot Cole Pinther right before he soared into the valley’s azure skies. Photo Credit: Jeff Dow Photography


Each of these Legends of the Valley became archetypes in their own right. And through each of these people, visitors can find their own escort to the Wild Side of Nevada.


–Michael Leonardini, Creative Director, SJ Marketing

Michael is an award-winning designer and creative director with executive management credentials in digital and traditional marketing. He has assisted Fortune 100 corporations in the design of strategic brand identity and integrated brand campaigns. Michael has created national and international marketing and branding programs for world-class consumer and business-to-business organizations for over 20 years.

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How to Reach New Customers With an Evergreen Facebook Ad

Most online advertising platforms have developed some aspect of self-service to make it easier than ever for anyone to set up an ad campaign. So, you could probably spend a few hours per platform figuring out how to do this yourself, but would you be maximizing your spend? Would you be targeting the right people? Would you know how to analyze campaign stats to determine what’s working and what isn’t — or even execute an A-B test? That’s where the digital strategy team at SJ Marketing can be your most valuable asset. Ensure your marketing dollars bring you the most return by trusting our digital experts to provide the strategy for your online success.

With almost 1.8 billion users, Facebook’s ubiquitous reach is well…even more ubiquitous. But, reaching even the fraction of those users who match the profile of your business’ target audience is increasingly more challenging. Organic reach on the site has been on the decline since 2014, and last year Facebook warned that organic reach could dip lower than 2 percent. The way to break through this barrier is by putting money behind your content. But, how do you know which option to choose? Facebook offers a bevy of paid options from advertisements to sponsored posts, but today I want to talk to you about creating an evergreen Facebook ad to promote your company.

What Is An Evergreen Facebook Ad?

An evergreen Facebook ad is an advertisement that runs continuously for your business. It can have either a seasonal message or a year-round message if your information doesn’t change much. The key is that the premise of the ad doesn’t need tweaking so you can keep running the ad. Here are some examples of a few evergreen ads:

Resort Hotel Uses a Year-Round Branding Video Ad

Regardless of the season, our client Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel (LTRH) wants potential visitors to know that their location, value, and amenities are top notch in Tahoe. Back-to-back shots in the video show skiing and golf—the “Surrounded by all things Tahoe” really is true. LTRH is steps from the lake, skiing, golf, and casinos. As the in-market audience changes, the ad stays relevant.



Tahoe Wedding Sites Targets the Newly Engaged with an Evergreen Facebook Ad

Pairing Facebook’s “Recently _____” status along with a frequency cap can make sure an ad only hits relevant potential customers. For our client Tahoe Wedding Sites, ads highlighting South Lake Tahoe to newly engaged future brides and grooms stay green year-round.


An Evergreen Facebook Ad To Target Winter Wedding Couples

Facebook’s ad formats, such as the carousel, allow you to showcase different aspects of a business. The added depth of the ad interaction adds a complexity that can allow multiple seasons, amenities, benefits, or photos to be featured. This gives an advertiser the option to account for seasonality and a longer flight up front. We use this format to promote slower-season weddings year ’round for one of our resort clients.


How Can An Evergreen Facebook Ad Help My Business?

A very successful evergreen ad will continually drive sales by creating residual leads. Because the post is up for a long time, it will continue to gather likes and comments. A post with dozens of likes and comments can create credibility for you with new users and potential customers.

When Should I Use An Evergreen Facebook Ad?

An evergreen Facebook advertisement is most effective when it’s part of your larger lead generation strategy and sales funnel. For example, when a user clicks on your ad, it should take them to a landing page with a compelling call to action (CTA) that allows you to capture that person’s email. Once you have the user’s email address, you can connect with them when you want—not only when Facebook’s algorithm allows you to.




For this strategy to work, it has to be just that — a strategy. Too often I see businesses create a Facebook ad targeted to the right demographic with great messaging, but the link the ad clicks through to doesn’t match the advertisement, or it doesn’t include a converter or CTA. From the evergreen ad to the landing page, your campaign needs to be specifically designed for someone who is meeting your business for the first time. Your goal should be to get them into your email list so that you can start communicating with them outside of Facebook.

Choose Your Own Evergreen Ad-venture

Still on the fence about if you should use this type of ad for your business? Here’s a chart that can help you decide:




By using an evergreen advertisement to collect emails, you can leverage the hyper-targeting abilities of Facebook in a long-term way. Once you can connect directly with new customers, you can control the conversation with them rather than Facebook. If you want help setting up this kind of strategy for your business, SJ Marketing has your back! Fill out our contact form, and we’ll be in touch soon.


–Brianna Sheck, Studio Manager, SJ Marketing

An MS in Integrated Marketing Communications and a BS in Technical Communication with a minor in Journalism were the beginning of Brianna’s career in digital and traditional marketing nearly 15 years ago. Today, she enjoys “wearing many hats,” combining strategic support with creative concepting, from project management to media planning to graphic design.

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