Managing an association and delivering member services increasingly rely on smart technology use. In recent years, a number of digital tools has emerged specifically designed to enrich interactions and streamline the way we connect with our members. While these tools fall under the broader umbrella of Marketing Technology, or MarTech, their application in associations is vital for fostering strong member relationships. 

As we look to the future, it’s clear that the success of associations will be deeply influenced by how effectively they adopt and integrate these technologies, with the most successful associations being the avid users and early adopters of powerful innovations.

However, to maintain a competitive advantage, association marketers must use these tools in a logical and efficient way that provides the most value to their members. 

With more than 10,000 MarTech solutions available on the market today, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused.

So, how do you choose the right marketing technologies for your membership business?

In this article, we’ll outline the building blocks of a sustainable MarTech Stack for associations and show you how to evaluate your existing technology infrastructure. 

Table of Contents

What is MarTech

In essence, MarTech (Marketing Technology) is the term for the software and technology tools used to plan, execute, and measure marketing campaigns and digital experiences.

MarTech tools are used to automate marketing processes, collect and analyse data about members’ behaviour, and provide various means of reaching and engaging with your target audience.

While MarTech tools can be effective to some degree on their own, their power and potential multiply when they’re stacked togetherThat is, using marketing technologies systematically to address data and business needs at each stage of the customer journey.

Only by synchronising all software pieces and making them work as one ecosystem, can you achieve a seamless user experience and improve marketing operation efficiency.

The suite of tools a company leverages for marketing processes is known as the MarTech Stack.

These tools work together to address every stage of the marketing cycle: attracting, engaging, converting, managing, and understanding your members. They also make collaboration across teams simple and intuitive.

Why is MarTech important?

MarTech offers obvious benefits, such as automating processes and saving association teams’ precious time.

Associations that make smart, strategic investments in MarTech can build a comprehensive suite of tools that integrate seamlessly.

Here are its other benefits:

  • Consistent messaging across channels
  • Marketing automation and reducing manual activity and human error
  • Connecting marketing applications and data from all touchpoints
  • Real-time and actionable insights about target audiences and success of your marketing initiatives
  • Deeper understanding of prospects, customers and members

How to Create Your MarTech Stack

Now that you know how MarTech can benefit your association, here are three steps to selecting the core marketing tools for your MarTech Stack.

Review Your Marketing Strategy

When creating your MarTech Stack, it can be tempting to immediately look at the coolest new tools available. But this risks your software defining your marketing goals, not the other way around.
Therefore, it’s essential that you review your marketing strategy and define your technology needs around those goals.

Identify what data your business really needs by considering both its current status and where you’d like it to be in the future. Consider the level of business growth that you expect over the next three to five years.

Ask yourself:

  • Which technologies can help my team achieve our strategic and marketing goals?
  • Are there any vendors or solutions that I should add to the stack to support these goals?

Running an audit of the MarTech solutions you already have can help define your requirements and technology needs. You should end up with a solid list of all the technologies that various groups in your organisation use on a regular basis.

While compiling this list, be sure to include any piece of software used by any employee on your team. Also, make sure to check with other stakeholders to see if they’re using any technologies that relate to marketing needs by conducting interviews or submitting worksheets.

Look for gaps that aren’t being filled by your existing strategy. You may find countless technologies that are overlapping or underutilised. Let this inform your strategy, and the technology you’ll use to execute it.

You should be able to match every vendor solution to a discrete marketing goal. If you can’t verify its usefulness within your organisation, reconsider its place in your stack.

Remember, your MarTech Stack should be the power collective that fuels the growth of your association. This means that it should serve your existing strategy, not the other way around.

Identify Building Blocks

Finding the right collection of tools for your marketing stack is never easy, as it’ll always depend on the strategy and goals you’ve defined for growth.

Using the member digital journey mapping tool may be a great start in identifying the technology you need.

Scott Brinkner, author of the Chief Marketing Technologist Blog, breaks MarTech down into six categories: Advertising & Promotion, Content & Experience, Social & Relationships, Commerce & Sales, Data, Management.

However, if to look at a different angle, all marketing technology applications support the following business functions: Grow – Engage – Analyse & Optimise.

No matter the size or life stage of your membership, growing your audience (lead generation) and converting your followers and subscribers into members, is most likely a key part of your marketing strategy.

There are many different ways to grow your audience (and we looked through some of them in one of our previous articles), but marketing technology can be helpful for your digital marketing lead generation initiatives, such as search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, social media marketing, landing pages, webinars and so on.

Identify what acquisition channels and techniques are most effective for you, then look for the technology that automates, optimises and makes your job more efficient.

Once you’ve got people to your website, convinced them to sign up for your newsletter or maybe even sign up for your membership, the challenge is keeping them interested in what you have to offer.

Some examples of MarTech that can support you at this stage are email marketing software, marketing automation platforms, CRM and customer tracking & engagement tools, membership administration, online community & chat box, software and retargeting software.

Building a successful marketing strategy means continuously monitoring, analysing data, and optimising your campaigns and marketing activities based on that data.

Web analytics software, business and content intelligence platforms, and conversion rate optimisation tools can help you make the most of your membership initiatives.


After you’ve completed the above steps, your MarTech requirement list should be complete.

To make the process easier to understand, you can place your MarTech on your member digital journey map as touchpoints.

Once that’s achieved, you’re ready to start implementing your new MarTech Stack. When choosing the software, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Application delivery: On-premise, hosted or SaaS
  • Application sophistication: Cost to run, team skills, depth of data provided
  • Integration: Connectors/adaptors, API, manual
  • Owned & run by: Marketing, IT or 3rd party (support available?)
  • Replacement: Unique functionality, overlapping with other software
  • Application hosting and support: Australia, USA, other
  • Time to value: 1-3 months, 3-6 months, 12+ months

How to Evaluate Your MarTech Stack

If you already have a stack in place – but are looking for a new way of doing things – then you’ll need to evaluate the current state of play.

Start by looking at how your current stack is contributing to your marketing goals and think about which tools and platforms you should keep, and those that should be replaced with a better fit. You should also look for any tool features that overlap.

In essence, a successful marketing technology stack hinges on multiple moving parts working with one another. By layering your software solutions in a coherent way, you can achieve the unique business goals that define your company as well as reach and engage the modern consumer.


At MemberBoat, we excel in optimising your technology stack to its fullest potential. Through comprehensive use assessment and technology review, we ensure your MarTech tools are perfectly aligned with every step of your member journey, enhancing engagement and driving growth. Ready to transform your member experience with technology that works as hard as you do? Book a call with us today to start the conversation.