Every company or setup whether its large scale or small scale needs targeted audience or market to expand the service or product respectively. On the basis of demand the supply is provided a specific crowd who demands for the supply. Market research basically comes in two parts first one is as we known, some companies don’t have to choose a specific target audience as their product/service is consumable by all kind of people. Second comes under a restricted or format as they have only specific number of demand and targeted audience.
Digitalization made the traditional marketing easy even more for vendors as well as for customers. Internet marketing factor came in introduction since digitalization and is now ruling all over the globe.
Here we came across such an internet marketing company. MEC workshop started its journey in 1996 in Beirut providing clients internet marketing services including: online marketing, including digital, apps, e-commerce, NFT marketing, tokenization, etc, mixed with on-ground marketing with solid market insights
In this interview with Monica Chikhani, Founder & Managing Director of MEC Workshop, we shall know more about the company’s growth and journey through the hurdles and challenges.
1. What do you think are the responsibilities of an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur, in my opinion, is everything in a company, from an accountant to a business development relationship officer, creative mind, business expert, salesperson… She wears different hats to ensure his/ her business runs well and goals/ vision are achieved. AN entrepreneur does anything in his power to grow his/ her business and equally be a mentor to all his/ her employees, keeping their energy positive by motivating them to do better and share his/ her vision
2. Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
I started my entrepreneurial journey in 1996, taking a small office in my Dads firm. I had zero capital, but this did not stop me from venturing into what I knew was my calling. Today, 26 years since I founded MEC, I look back at all the setbacks I overcame to get to where I am today. I kept on believing in MEC’s vision and pushed very hard to keep persevering in what I believed through growing my skills to be able to add value and solutions to every challenge MEC Workshop faced.
You always found me leading the team in every challenge to show them it can be done when you have the right mindset and dedication. With this mentoring technic, I raised a solid team with strong bonds that no heavy tide could break apart. My recipe for success is Skill + action + belief = 100 success
3. What are the key achievements of your entrepreneurial journey?
My crucial achievement in my entrepreneurial journey is my discipline. It is easy to lose focus, specifically if you are your boss. But being dedicated, perseverant, and very disciplined in how I conduct business and approach clients made me who I am today. I consider myself a unique person given my knowledge, skills and business proposition. Given that I am a mix of a Creative Director, Client relationship Officer, Business Development Officer, Experiential Officer, Strategist, Negotiator… you name it, I learned to make sure whenever I am seated at a table. As a result, I bring value and solutions without the need to tell my prospective client, I will get back to you on this.
4. How do you look after your employees? What makes your team unique?
I treat my team as family. Families have strong emotional bonds, which I have with my team. I firmly believe when you glorify and endorse your team for even the slightest growth and look after their own career growth vision they will feel that they belong. And belonging turns any team member into an advocate for your company. What makes us strong, yes, us, as I am part of my team, is that we stand by each other, support each other, and are all solution-oriented. I taught them to look at every mistake, every setback, and every challenge as an opportunity for growth, removing the fear of failure got the MEC Workshop team to deliver beyond anyone’s expectations
5. What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
I believe to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be a great leader. And leadership comes through the ability to walk the talk and lead by example, which is why I work as an integral part of my team in both setting the direction and landing the work.
1. Tell us about the company – MEC Workshop.
I launched the MEC workshop in Beirut, as mentioned earlier in 1996, with zero capital. Taking office in my dad’s firm. I used to do everything; I was an accountant, salesperson, graphic designer… you name it; I did it. I knew I had a lot to give back to the advertising and marketing industry, so I searched for that opportunity that launched MEC, the Badaro Phone book, which opened many doors for me and introduced me to many leads that turned into clients. I also collaborated with freelancers to support me with the project as the company grew to rely on dial-up internet and phone calls.
At that time, I was challenged by the business proposition I was offering. People did not know I was already ahead of the competition, which only started operating like us in 2020 when COVID-19 hit the globe. But by that time, we were the professionals that knew how to work remotely even without zoom. Our services skyrocketed with the technology we were offered because of the pandemic. How? We replaced companies employees, as companies needed to release them because of budget cuts due to the pandemic.
Our value proposition and structure came in handy when companies had a full fledge cloud agency working as part of their team with zero overhead cost. Today, after 26 years, MEC Workshop came a long way since its founding in Beirut. We have Offices in Lebanon, UAE, and KSA with a team from all across the globe that caters to all our clients, from multinationals to start-ups.
2. What were the initial challenges you faced?
My initial challenge was setting the process of communication between the team. As mentioned earlier, in 1990, we had barely dial-up internet. Next, I had to ensure feedback and deliverables were up to client expectations and meet deadlines with no delays.
3. Which was that point that triggered the growth of the company?
Asian Football Cup logo, which we won after a global pitch. Our logo was awarded the 1 st prize, which was used across TV and BTL materials which gave MEC Workshop a pig advertising propaganda that nailed us Coca Cola Asian Football Project. We also received an award for the project’s quality and achievement.
1. What are the products/services the company focuses on? How are your services
Different from those in the market?
Our products/ services vary continuously as they follow the customer’s needs and market trends. And that is what makes us very different from our competition. We are 100% customer-centric and proved it by walking the talk. When we first started, we were only a BTL workshop. Why workshop? Because we roll our sleeves and work, and secondly, because we work for agencies by white labelling them, I opted for the MEC Workshop to remove any doubts of competition.
Then we moved into experiential marketing, giving a unique customer experience that starts from the client’s office to their customer. We made people live the talk, feel it and build a strong emotional link to the product/ brand. Today, our core services are online marketing, including digital, apps, e-commerce, NFT marketing, tokenization, etc., mixed with on-ground marketing with solid market insights through our research team that keeps our initiatives/ services 100% customer- centric.
2. Healthcare is a very vast industry. How do your services cater to the needs of the people?
Yes, healthcare is a vast industry, and I can also say very delicate one. You cannot market such an enterprise as you market fast-moving consumer goods such as Nescafe. And because MEC Workshop is 100% customer-centric, as mentioned earlier, understanding the need of patients their frustrations, and their expectations and testing it on ourselves first makes our solutions unique. I have a moto that I push to my team if you are not the first one to buy what you are trying to sell me, do not sell it, period.
Creating rapport is also essential in this industry with both client and customer, that connection, understanding gives us a vast library of insights and knowledge that helps us grow the clients bottom line. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, many agencies/ brands tried to take advantage of the situation to make money, and some did quite a lot. But the patient, communities and countries were the ones who paid the price tag for such initiatives.
Healthcare is an industry that cannot be taken lightly, and only a few agencies/people can make a difference in their marketing strategy and approach to bring a win-win solution to all parties involved.
3. What are your views on the healthcare industry and its digitization?
Digitization/ Ai is a fact that we need to come around to. Not riding that wave will make that healthcare organization lose a lot of assets, investors and clientele. Nevertheless, it is also essential to keep this human interaction between patient and doctor/ institute in these crucial moments when any human being needs to feel care.
This emotional connection not only gives comfort but makes us who we are as human beings with feelings, not robots. No matter how we can make robots behave like humans, they are not humans. GOD created us as a unique species that no human to date can replicate God’ s creation.
4. How do you decide to take the company further regarding your products/services?
Based on our research and data, we are currently working on different fronts focusing on Meta advertising and marketing with a touch of MEC Workshop customer-centric personalized experience.