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TIA: Tennessee Inventors Association in Knoxville Tenn and Oak Ridge TN
Oak Ridge and Knoxville, TN  

November 2013 Elections

Meeting Date: 
November 23, 2013

The agenda for the November 23 TIA meeting included the TIA annual elections. Our featured speaker was Dr. H. Lee Martin.

Dr. H. Lee Martin is the Entrepreneurship Program Leader at The University of Tennessee. He is a successful entrepreneur holding 20 patents. He has received two Research and Development RD100 awards for innovation in product design and started a company that went public in the NASDAQ exchange. The company used new technology for providing virtual internet home tours. Dr. Lee's background is mechanical engineering and his presentation, “Thoughts on Marketing” emphasized the fast feedback closed loop control system approach applied to marketing.

There are many venues to market your product such as magazines, newspapers, trade shows, telemarketer, infomercial, Direct Mail, Email, AdWords. Some of these venues have slow cycle times like magazines and newspapers and do not provide feedback. To sale your product effectively, a fast cycle time and sales metric feedback is essential. Google AdWords offers great statistics tool called Google Analytics. Google Analytics is designed for marketers and you can use this tool to tune your marketing strategy. Google Analytics gives you closure rate daily for site sales. Google makes their money by charging your for clicks.

How do you enter the market against overwhelming odds? Dr. Lee referred to the Beachhead a Normandy Story. This is a military strategy that focuses on winning small strategic territories that later become strongholds for further expansion. In start ups, the goal is to take the broad market later. The strategy is to attack the least protected markets. The Plan is to focus all efforts on one spot and win and consecutively, expand from gained territory.

How does your product reach the customer?

The old days used the Physical Distribution Channel. There are many ways to send your product to the customer using physical distribution channels. The product is made at the factory and then is send to Dealers or Resellers or Direct Sale Force or System Integrators or Retailers.. and then your product arrives to the user. Now, a great amount of product sales are made online using virtual distribution channels (VDC.) VDC's is a path carried by the internet which connects a seller to a buyer. Some of these channels are banners, links, and blogs that directly connect the seller to the buyers page.

Dr. Lee recommends reading the book, “Good to Great” written by James C. Collins. Good to Great contains a leadership strategy called the hedgehog concept. When a fox attempts to eat a hedgehog, the hedgehog roll into a ball and protects himself from the attack.

The hedgehog protects himself by focusing on one thing and doing it well.

Great companies figure out what they really want to do (passion for their endeavor,) dedicate themselves at doing it really well (world class excellence) and figure out the key elements to making a profit at the endeavor (economic engine.)

Dr. Lee demonstrated the slide of a closed loop control system applied to marketing. The system feeds a market stimulus to the function Ernie. Ernie reacts to the stimulus as a sales response and the response feedback returns to the system and function (Ernie) reshapes to improve sales response. The process continues until the sales improve. Measured sales feedback statistics are obtained with Google analytics. The strength of the control loop is the feedback.

closed loop control system applied to marketing

Election Information

Elections were held during the November meeting. The newly elected officers and board members are:


  • Carl Papa, President
  • A,J. Beal, Vice-President
  • Anne Alexeff, Treasurer
  • Mariano Ruiz, Recording Secretary
  • Holly Shaw, Corresponding Secretary

Board of Directors:

  • Keith Waters
  • Dale Burress
  • Martin Skinner
  • Bob Gant