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Direct Marketing » Case Study | 29.05.2014

Much more than hot air - The Danish Board of District Heating’s free magazine


The Danish Board of District Heating (DBDH) is the body charged with promoting Denmark’s expertise in municipal heating and cooling systems around the world. And the organisation says that its quarterly publication, Hot/Cool, is one of the best ways of achieving this goal.

The free magazine carries articles written by engineers and technical experts from DBDH’s 43 member companies, which range from consultant engineers to heat-pump manufacturers.

“Hot/Cool magazine is a great way to showcase our members’ expertise.”

“The magazine is not just about advertising: we aim to provide interesting reading and we hope that our counterparts in other countries can learn from it,” says Lars Hummelmose, chief executive of DBDH.

In Denmark, about 60 per cent of the population are connected to district-heating systems, which take advantage of excess heat from the likes of waste incinerators, power plants and general industry. District heating accounts for 98 per cent of heat demand in Copenhagen, where DBDH has been based since it was set up in 1978.

"With a new EU directive for greater energy efficiency, we are looking at western Europe and expect to see growth in Germany and the UK.”

Expanding opportunities DBDH’s target markets are largely countries which already have some district-heating infrastructure, such as Russia, eastern Europe and China, Hummelmose says. “But with a new EU directive for greater energy efficiency, we are looking at western Europe and we expect to see growth in Germany and the UK.”


Conferences are a good opportunity to win subscribers

DBDH’s main activities involve organising trade visits and conferences where its members can address potential customers. “We now have around four conferences a year in China,” says Hummelmose, “and have recently visited Arkhangelsk and Murmansk in Russia.” Conferences are a good way to sign up new subscribers for Hot/Cool, adds DBDH marketing manager Kathrine Windahl. “We have a large database of contacts, many of which have been on there for five or 10 years,” she says. “Hot/ Cool has an estimated 7,000 readers per issue.”


From the creation over the delivery to the undeliverable items management

DBDH puts together the magazine’s content, often based on readers’ suggestions, and uses an independent graphic designer and production firm to create the finished product. Windahl says: “The production company then coordinates the distribution with Asendia, which is great because we don’t have to get involved.” Asendia has been working with DBDH for only the past year, but the relationship has already been productive, says Hummelmose. “Asendia returns any undelivered magazines to us, so we know which are ‘dead addresses’ and can take them off our database,” he explains. “This is very important for us, as the magazine is quite expensive to distribute.

“Handling undelivereable magazines is very important for us, as it is quite expensive to distribute.”

Our previous supplier did not do this.” Hummelmose admits that it is not easy to measure the success of a tool such as Hot/Cool – but he adds that the fact that DBDH members continue to finance it suggests that they are happy with the value it gives them. “Often they use it to communicate with their own customers: they take it with them to meetings to showcase the articles they have written themselves,” he says. “The first time I visited China with DBDH, everyone knew us from the magazine.”



Sector: Energy
Location of company: Denmark