What HVAC marketing campaigns were the best of the best in 2021 — and what can other contractors learn from them? That’s something that training and development organization Nexstar Network aims to highlight each year through the Spotlight Awards program.

The winners of the 2021 Nexstar Spotlight Award winners have several things in common.

“Don’t underestimate the power of the basics,” said Melanie Tauring, Nexstar Network marketing coach. “Insights and ingenuity can take basic marketing tactics and make them shine. It doesn’t take large marketing budgets to make an impact within your community, with your employees, and in your business.”

Burton AC, Heating, Plumbing and More in Omaha, Nebraska, earned their way to the winners’ circle with their insights, inspiration, and results.

“Burton’s team noticed a common theme and was inspired by customer comments in their reviews — how kind the technicians were to their dogs,” Tauring said. So Burton’s decided to help the dogs while promoting system checks. Partnering with the Nebraska Humane Society, Burton’s donated 10 pounds of dog food for every system check performed for a total of 3,500 pounds. Their work paid off, with inbound calls up 25% year-over-year and revenue up 11% year-over-year.

Campbell & Company caught the judges’ attention by taking an otherwise mundane tactic — search engine optimization (SEO) — and making it shine. Focusing their efforts on four goals, Campbell & Company was able to increase their first page visibility and local organic traffic. As a result, their revenue went up 32%

“[This was] a significant bump in organic leads and revenue, proving that when you focus and are purposeful, you can optimize even the most common tactics,” said Tauring.

While many residential service companies celebrate milestone anniversaries, Crisafulli Bros.’ 80th birthday initiative gave customers a reason to celebrate, too.

“Crisafulli Bros proved that direct mail can be a powerful tool to appreciate their customers and drive revenue,” said Tauring. “A simple thank you-card with an $80 gift card inside garnered them a 22.5% response rate and over $1.5 million in revenue.”

Fox Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical took an existing Nexstar marketing piece called Cash for Clunkers to new heights. During the shoulder season, Fox was able to leverage the used-car program to drive calls and revenue. They experienced an increase in clicks, open rate, time spent on their website, engagement, revenue, and new customers, “proving you can flatten out the slow times,” Tauring said.

The program drove $1.1 million in revenue for Fox and a 48% increase in new customers

Mike Williams Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning and Sewer proved that award-winning work doesn’t have to take a lot of money; it just takes creativity and innovation. As the worst of the pandemic subsided, Mike Williams took it upon themselves to assist teachers and parents faced with transitioning back to the classroom. Partnering with six different schools, they spoke with the teachers to find out what items would be helpful to give students, then hand-filled reusable bags and dropped them off at each location.

“Their goal was to simply help, and they did while also tracking revenue to the coupons they included in the bag,” said Tauring. “A win, win, win!”

It's likely that all residential home services companies need more technicians. This was the case for TR Miller Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing who needed to staff up for their upcoming season. Finding quality candidates is challenging and can be expensive but with some creative thinking, collaboration, and Nexstar’s help, TR Miller was able to interview 27 potential candidates, hiring five of them. Their guerrilla marketing approach kept costs down, resulting in the cost of just $200 per person hired.

“Their teamwork and ingenuity caught our attention and pushed them onto the winners’ podium,” Tauring said.

Each of the Nexstar Spotlight Award winners partnered with their agency and/or Nexstar coach to develop and make the most of their marketing ideas, Tauring added.



  • Burton AC, Heating, Plumbing and More
  • Campbell & Company
  • Crisafulli Bros.
  • Fox Plumbing Heating Cooling Electrical
  • Mike Williams Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Sewer
  • TR Miller Heating Cooling Plumbing