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Get hip to social media at SMM Conference

Marla Johnson Norris

The head of a leading Internet and multimedia production, design and consulting firm will lead a seminar about the effective use of social media at the Small Market Meetings Conference Sept. 26-28 in Little Rock, Ark.

Marla Johnson Norris, CEO of Little Rock-based Aristotle Inc., has a broad understanding of the ever-shifting and rapidly expanding social network and its applications. Among the topics she covers are planning for mobile technology, phone apps, quick response codes, reaching women through social media, how to build tourism trends into digital marketing and how to benefit from social media. In her talk at the Small Market Meetings Conference, Norris said she plans to cover some of the newest options in social media.

When Norris speaks, audiences seem not only to listen but also to clamor for more. Meeting planners have said that Norris’ talks were among the best presentations their groups have heard.

“The only complaint was that there was not enough time for all their questions,” said David Brown, director of America Outdoors.

The evolution of Aristotle
It all began as a group of artists, programmers and others put their heads together to develop a video in 1994. Marla Johnson Norris was among them, and when a friend turned to her and the others and said, “You all should start an Internet company,” she took the idea seriously.

A year later, after becoming a student of Internet technology, she launched Aristotle Inc. in Little Rock. Today, it is a 65-person Internet company with Norris at the helm as CEO.

The company’s client list is long and covers myriad industries: nonprofits, real estate, financial, higher education, health care and retail. Interestingly, tourism is among Aristotle’s strongest areas. The company has worked for around 50 convention and visitors bureaus or state tourism agencies, as well as museums and attractions.

Norris has always had a keen interest in research and has conducted primary research in Internet marketing.

She designed and conducted one of the first website focus groups and was instrumental in the development of the first state tourism online conversion study.

Her diligent study and the information gleaned from the research has allowed her to create marketing programs and campaigns that work.

Three majors at the University of Memphis
The Colorado native moved to Memphis, Tenn., as a child, where she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Memphis with a bachelor of arts and three majors: international relations with a focus on economic development, urban studies and political science.

She later earned a master’s in education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and was certified to teach high school social science courses.

A leader in the community
Norris is active in a number of Arkansas organizations that promote education, economic development, creativity and the well-being of its citizens.

She has held leadership positions with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, the National Council for Community Justice in Arkansas, Little Rock’s Public Education Foundation, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, International Women’s Forum, Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, the Foundation Fund Board of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the Heifer International Public Facilities Board, Arkansas Arts Center, Arkansas Research Alliance, Heart of Arkansas United Way, and the Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield Board.

She is also a member of Greater Little Rock’s Fifty for the Future and the Arkansas Executive Forum of the University of Arkansas College of Business.

Honors for involvement

To acknowledge her contributions to the community, Norris was honored with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock President’s Award, the University of Memphis Distinguished Alumnae Award, the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Women Pioneers Award, and was named a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.  In 2005, Aristotle, Inc. was named an Arkansas Community Foundation Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation.

What others are saying about Marla Johnson Norris
“Marla is the best. She opens the book on website issues. Her explanations are so understandable that the audience can’t take notes fast enough. Her knowledge and experience would be hard to match by any interactive speaker. You will need to leave lots of interactive time for her because everyone loves her connectability and wants her to address their specific need.”
Mike Mills, president
America Outdoors Association

“Marla placed in the Top 3 of 31 presenters in satisfaction ratings. Her insights and knowledge about the day-to-day issues that  face destination marketers resonated highly with everyone that attended.”
Jake Steinman, Annual E-Tourism Summit

“Loved your presentation at the CODA Conference in Little Rock about optimizing the success of your website. Thank you for such a dynamic and useful presentation.”
Catherine LeClair, American Craft Council