Everyone loves a great deal and in this day and age bargain hunting couldn't get any easier. Discovering a niche in the world of E-Marketing, Faisal M. Khatib decided to effortlessly get deals to people in the easiest way possible through online platforms. With a penchant for telecommunications and the endless possibilities it can offer to communities, Khatib established Zena Technologies and began his career in innovating current markets which eventually led him to City My Way.
City My Way offers the best deals in your hometown in one place. Currently covering GCC cities Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Muscat, City My Way aims to offer subscribers the latest offers and promotions in venues, dining, lifestyle amongst other things. What makes it even more convenient is that you can access deals through your smartphone, which counts for a large part of Khatib's long term strategy of keeping everyone in the know at all times.
Khaleejesque caught up the young technology innovator to know more about his ventures and the importance of E-marketing in creating successful online communities.
When was your company established, and how did it come about?
Zena Technologies was established in 2007 in Canada and in 2009 in Kuwait. Zena Technologies operated as agents and distributors who specialize in the telecommunications and IT markets which brought niche technologies into new markets.
My previous job was with the largest telecom operator in Canada; it invested heavily in bringing in the latest technologies and value-added services for their business and corporate clients. Through networking, I got the opportunity to meet a lot of these technology developers and companies. I decided to utilize my contacts in the Middle East to expand their services.
Marketing and preparing to penetrate any market is a hard and lengthy process. ZENA achieves your goals in the most expeditious and cost-effective manner. Think of us as being your business development marketing arm in the region. Our extensive knowledge of both Canadian and MENA markets allowed my team and I to establish the most suitable business connections for Canadian products and services that cater to both regions. We extend your reach to those markets in the most professional manner with a personal touch. That’s how ZENA came about!
Can you tell us more about the services you provide?
Well, we offer a wide range of telecommunications services from fibre optics, CCTV, system access control, and several others. Yet our day to day business includes GPS Fleet Management Tracking and the City My Way mobile application.
Our GPS Fleet Management and Tracking Solution is a turnkey fleet and mobile resource operations management and tracking solution which seamlessly integrates your fleet with the corporate network. Using wireless networks as the backbone, our service collects vital information on-board the vehicle and delivers this data live query, event tracking, task assignment, historical playback, and reporting functionality.
City My Way communicates through new innovative mediums bringing consumers the best deals in the city. We are now extensively covering movies, dining, hotels, shopping, lifestyle, and various other events and activities.
Our Mobile app and website ensures our audience is connected at all times and has access to our information when they need it! The mobile app is optimized for browsing in low bandwidth and is compatible with all mobile phones.
Specifically, what are the innovative mediums you utilize to get your customers what they want?
Not to blow my own horn, but I am an innovative medium! The idea of City My Way was simple. There is no site that told me what’s going on in the Middle East; no one has adopted the new era of technology, so people still had to go to the newspaper and magazines to get the updates on the latest offers and promotions. Me, being a young professional who cant seem to live without my smart phone, needed quick access. That's how City My Way was born. Abhi Bose (co-founder and the real genius behind City My Way) and I have adopted several new ideas in bringing subscribers and followers to the website which has been proving to be successful!
To answer the question, our most successful medium to promote our City My Way mobile app is Facebook. What is amazing about Facebook is the fan page that you can create, as it allows you to build a community around your brand, which keeps them informed with any new updates. Best of all, it gives you the opportunity to communicate and be in touch with your fans and get their opinion; this makes a major difference. In short, it allowed us to RETAIN our subscribers. We also advertise with the mobile app stores, feature in magazines and several other mediums, but Facebook has essentially given our company the opportunity to really communicate with our fans.
What do you think of E-marketing, and how can companies integrate with it in the right way?
I don't want to sound cliché, but E-Marketing is the future! It is just a matter of time until people will no longer need to buy a newspaper or purchase a magazine anymore. With Google and apple putting heavy investment into their online books and magazine apps and Google now developing Google TV, ads are coming to you and not vice versa. In the golden years, you had to find a newspaper to view the movie listings; now, and with only a click away, you can buy your movie ticket and pick your seat ahead of time right from your smart phone. Back then, no one thought anyone would carry a cell phone or a smart phone for that matter – look how time has changed!
The success of E-Marketing is all based on its low-cost and high return. Large corporations have realized how fast and how big E-marketing can bring business to their doorsteps. In Kuwait alone, there are 850,000 Facebook users. According to the Kuwait census, there were 150,000 internet users in 2000 compared to 1.5 million users in 2011, which is almost half the population of Kuwait.
The biggest challenge of all in my view is to find ways to get your customers excited about what you do. This has to be enough in order for them to not only stay on your fan list but to forward your information on to their friends and colleagues. So, the right question is how do we achieve that as well? That is where I come in offering our City My Way and E-Marketing services.
How do you plan to extend/expand your website?
We have been expanding our site internationally in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Bahrain and have plans to open in Lebanon and in Jordan. When we expand into new cities we look to partner with someone local; we offer our experience and our design and technical team and the partner provides their local network and sales. By doing this, we can keep the image and integrity that City My Way is built upon but with that important local touch.
So what are your tips when it comes to E-Marketing?
You must remember that mobile or E-Marketing is about retaining and not just acquiring. If you build a community of loyal followers around your brand or services, that is how you can be successful!
– Haya Al-Farhan for Khaleejesque