Mennens employee working with lifting equipment


Mennens, specialists in steel wire rope, lifting technology and fall protection, partnered with us to further develop their brand and online presence. 

A multi faceted digital marketing partnership that keeps growing

Mennens is a B2B operating company that specializes in steel wire rope, lifting and hoisting equipment and fall protection. More than 135 years (since 1888) of knowledge and experience turned Mennens into the market leader in the Benelux. Mennens is also part of the Lifting Solutions Group of Axel Johnson International.

Our story for Mennens began with a discovery project for Axel Johnson International. Mennens liked our approach and reached out to us to support them with analytics, dashboarding & SEO and creating a KPI & measurement plan. Our partnership has kept growing ever since and new initiatives and opportunities emerged naturally.

Results of this partnership

Conversions & Leads

Visits via social 

Applicants/month via recruitment campaigns

Conversions & Leads


Visits via social 


Applicants/month via recruitment campaigns


The Challenge

Mennens employees together with the team from The Reference on the balcony at the Ghent office

Mennens wanted to become the preferred choice on digital for steel wire rope, lifting and hoisting, and fall protection solutions and products. Decision makers, influencers, buyers, and potential employees needed to see Mennens as a thought leader, a unique solution and 360-degree company that offers them the right information or solution, at the right time, at the right place.

In order to do that, they needed a partner to help them further develop their online strategy and presence. Since we strive to make a difference in every challenge we take on, we could not be more eager to be their partner for this project.

In 2017, we decided to professionalise our digital marketing. We chose The Reference as our partner. A very good decision that put us on the digital map.

Luc Willaert, Managing Director Mennens Belgium

The solution

What started with a project to get more insight into the effect of Mennens’ digital initiatives, grew into a multifaceted digital marketing partnership.

In 2017 we created a measurement plan and supported Mennens in setting the right KPIs. We offered the means to gain insights through analytics and built custom dashboards to keep track of these KPIs. Based on this data, we could optimize their search engine marketing efforts through SEO and SEA initiatives.

This introduced Mennens to our IMUNA project methodology, which stands for Initiate, Measure, Understand, and Act. In this methodology, we have regular status meetings and discuss the best steps forward, based on actual insights.

Through this way of collaboration, we have built a relationship of trust and partnership with Mennens, which resulted in new projects concerning email marketing, SEO, content creation and social campaigns. The executive webmastering that we take on allows us to make recommendations with regard to UX and CRO as well.

Mennens employee

Backed by results

The results of this close collaboration speak for themselves. Not only did we generate an overall increase in leads by 24%, but we also saw 230 completed chat conversations over a 6-month period and an increase in visits via social by 230.1%. Also, through paid search, the number of requests for quotations grew by 8.5%. 

The Reference is our trusted partner on digital. Together, we set the lines to put Mennens even better on the map digitally. They know how to strike the right cord and like to think proactively. I am happy with the cooperation and the quality!

Michel de Vos, Marketing Manager Mennens Group

More on the horizon

Our collaboration with Mennens has a lot more in store, with experiments concerning marketing automation through HubSpot. We also ensure Mennens stays compliant with privacy regulations via OneTrust CookiePro while working with relevant data through Google Analytics 4. 

Recently, we also began working more closely on a strategic level with parent company Axel Johnson International. This means that we conduct comprehensive group-level strategic analyses and provide clear statements of work to the local subsidiary companies.

How we made this work

Mennens employee

The mutual trust resulted in a naturally growing marketing track and more initiatives and opportunities. A brief recap through time seems appropriate to us.

Back in 2019, we started designing newsletters, setting up an abandoned shopping cart system and other ways to generate leads through the website. This is where the seed was planted for the marketing automation component, which we recently picked up again. Thanks to our close collaboration, Mennens also selected us that year as their preferred partner for an SEO migration and analytics implementation when they transferred their group's websites to a new CMS.

Mennens website and mobile screenshot

In 2020 we started with growth marketing. Instead of allocating large budgets to one component, we experimented with small tests and iterative learnings to identify the most efficient ways to grow the business. By doing this, Mennens was able to outsmart the competition instead of outspending them.

We wanted to position Mennens as a continuous innovator of high-quality products & solutions using the overall online channels.

Matti Vissers, Digital Marketing Consultant

example of job ad for Mennens

In 2021, we started with content creation. Since Mennens takes its role as a thought leader seriously, knowledge sharing through content creation made a lot of sense to them. Thanks to well thought-out content clusters, we put Mennens' expertise on the map and provide thoughtful answers to challenges their customers are facing.

Around that time, we also began to engage more on social media. This to share job openings with potential employees and distribute the know-how content that was written out. Next to a monthly content calendar through Hubspot, budget was also allocated to boost posts through advertising and send them out to targeted audiences. Finally, we also launched a fully automatic textual chatbot with Hubspot that can be integrated on different pages on the Mennens website, allowing Mennens to offer a 24/7 customer service.

Something that does not belong on the timeline but has been important since the beginning of our collaboration is our analytics and dashboarding service. Thanks to data, we can monitor the impact of our efforts and make informed adjustments. For example, we created an automated dashboard to follow up on technical website issues, as well as everything regarding page titles, page speed, etc.

The services that made this happen

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Looking for a partner for your next digital project? Feel free to get in touch. We would love to hear how we can support you! 


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