two blue itm or atms

Marketing ITM Technology at Your Credit Union

Think of an interactive teller machine (ITM) like a smart phone.

ITMs are more high-tech, more capable and more convenient than their soon-to-be outdated counterpart, the ATM. And like a smart phone compared to a flip phone, ITMs are going to be everywhere soon.

If your credit union hasn’t begun researching ITMs and forming a plan to implement them, you’ll soon be behind the curve.

If you’ve explored ITMs or you’ve even begun implementing them in your branches, the next hurdle is effectively marketing them. Of course, this isn’t as simple as marketing a new rate on your HELOCs or a money market account. You’re introducing new tech into your branches, and you need to prepare your users for it.

online marketing for credit union itm/atm

Display ad for Credit Union of America’s ITM, TAP Teller.

The ITM is a win-win for both you and your members. It helps financial institutions stretch personnel further, offers expanded service hours and adds capacity to your in-branch services. In short, ITMs replace traditional ATMs and provide more capabilities plus a live teller on screen.

ITMs came onto the scene in 2015, but were mostly found in less populated areas. The beauty of these machines is not just the added functionality, but also the ability to “send” tellers (housed in a video call center off-site) to nearly any branch instantly. Members can use these machines for all the standard ATM functions, as well as for depositing cash and checks, making account transfers and loan payments, and ask general account questions.

It provides the personal touch of speaking to a real person with the convenience of the drive-through lane. Additionally, most institutions are able to offer extended service hours through ITMs.

Introducing ITMs to Your Market

Even if you’ve started planning for ITMs in your credit union or you’ve even made the call to bring them to branches, you’re still not out of the woods yet.

ITMs are a major step in banking technology and need to be carefully introduced to your market. Remember, these devices will make up a majority of bank and credit union service points in the near future. And you need to think that far ahead!

To get the most from this new tech, there are a handful boxes you must check to make sure the rollout process is a smooth one for employees and members alike. You’ll need plans for:

  • How you’ll market ITMs
  • Education (internal and member-facing)
Marketing the Launch

Q+A cards for customers, explaining CUA’s new ITM system

Making members aware and comfortable with this new tech will be one of the biggest challenges in implementing it.

A strong brand will bring familiarity to anything that comes into your branches. Extending your brand to your ITMs is as easy as it is important. Wraps—like with standard ATMs—should be the first step in branding your ITM.

If your credit union is among the first in your market to adopt this technology, consider a unique name for your ITM terminals. The term “Interactive Teller Machine” is mouthful that isn’t overly memorable and, more importantly, doesn’t reflect your brand. A short, pithy, memorable name goes a long way in creating comfort with the machine.

Educating members and staff about the benefits and usage of ITMs won’t actually happen until you roll the devices out, of course, but this planning should run hand in hand with your marketing plan. Banks and credit unions finding the most success with ITMs are actually integrating helpful and instructional content about their ITMs into the marketing itself. Making your members’ first experience with ITMS a smooth one is the best way to ensure they’ll continue using it.

When you’re ready to tell members that ITM technology is on the way, you’ll want to follow the classic “Alert, Inform, Enable” marketing model.

The obvious first step comes with simply alerting members that you’re introducing new tech into your institution. You can start communicating the benefits right away while raising awareness. Once the news of your new tech has broken, it’s wise to start proactively informing members about the nuts-and-bolts questions in your communications: Why is this here? What’s in it for the member? How does it work? Where and when can I use? Think of the member and what they’ll feel when they’re first exposed to the ITM—how can you improve those feelings?

ITM Marketing Best Practices

It’s impossible to overstate how important is to inform, educate and engage members about this new tech. That’s why the banks and credit unions getting the most out of them are using every marketing avenue at their disposal to introduce ITMs.

If you’re forced to choose, where are the most effective avenues? Social media is a natural fit for ITM marketing; it’s free communication with the people who will use the technology, and it’s where they go for news and updates about your institutions. Similarly, in-branch advertising—especially at teller terminals—is an obvious avenue. Keep in mind that branch visitors will almost certainly spend the most time with ITMs in the future.

Here at PLAY Creative, our financial clients introducing ITMs have gone so far as to unveil them with campaigns that are par with their largest yearly campaigns for things like auto loans and CDs. This will include emails, social media posts, digital ads and the full gamut of in-branch collateral like teller handouts, lobby posters and monitors, drive-through banner stands and environmental displays.

Other successful ITM promotions we’ve seen include:

  • “Grand opening” events
  • Press releases
  • Sponsored social media announcement posts
  • Billboards
  • Commercials
  • Promotional checks, buck slips and drive-through envelopes
Physically Branding the ITM

If your promotions have introduced the ITM, clearly identified the benefits of it and helped educate members on how to use it, you’ll have much more freedom in how to brand the machine itself. The number of “so what does this thing do?” type of questions you receive early on will be a good barometer of how effective your marketing has been. So if you’re comfortable that you’ve adequately introduced the machine, it’s time to make it yours.

As we mentioned earlier, naming the machine helps tie your brand to the technology, helping members equate it to your brand specifically, not the financial industry as a whole. The custom wrap really drives the brand home with this.

Outside of the wrap, think of the device like any other fixture in your branches. It can be a home for nearly signage and promotional material. We’ve seen credit unions use floor branded floor decals marking a path to the new ITM, then included pop-out signs on the ATM introducing it as the “new teller.”

Almost all of the early adapters have also added text for a brief set of features, benefits and instructions to their ITMs right on the ITM wrap. This is of course in addition to their logo and taglines and, for many, branded patterns and even some fresh branded ITM logos.

As for messaging, the proven strategy seems to dictate focusing on three main benefits of the ITM:

  • Working with a real, live teller
  • Extended hours
  • Convenience

Want to see more examples of our work promoting ITMs? Drop us a line—we’d love to share our expertise with you!

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