Why Your ITM Rollout Needs a Great Marketing Strategy

Today’s consumers are driven by efficiency – and yearning for human connection.

Across nearly every industry worldwide, brands are striving to offer technological conveniences with a personalized touch. For many community banks and credit unions across the U.S., one solution has been Interactive Teller Machines, or ITMs. These “branches in a box” can help both rural and urban financial institutions enhance their account holder experience and brand identity. But given the overall gradual decline in the use of drive-up amenities, a successful ITM rollout requires a solid internal and external marketing strategy.

If your financial institution is trying to decide whether to invest in ITMs – or if you already have and are looking to gain more traction – read on for some valuable insights about marketing them to your community.


Effective ITM implementation requires the right marketing plan. Here are some important steps:

  1. Train Your Associates: Human-powered technology is only as good as the humans making it work. Make sure that your onscreen tellers have a thorough understanding of ITM functionalities from both the front and back ends. They’ll be called on to talk users through their transactions step by step and troubleshoot any problems in addition to providing their usual services. First impressions count for a lot, so at deployment, consider having branch staff available on the floor to educate and reassure new users, and put easy-to-follow tutorials on your website.
  2. Choose a Memorable Name: The jury’s still out as to whether ITM is a durable generic term; currently, “ITM near me” has under a thousand Google results while “ATM near me” has millions. Take the opportunity to give your system a name that will stick. Some institutions have opted for personal names (along the lines of Siri and Alexa) that evoke the technology’s human element. Regardless of what name you choose, we recommend always using it with a descriptor like Your Friendly Video Teller that conveys exactly what the ITM does.
  3. Alert: Many community banks and credit unions report that their account holders have been slow to discover and adopt ITM capabilities. Implementing a cohesive, methodical messaging strategy is vital to ensuring consumer uptake. Start by simply raising awareness across all your available channels – from in-branch signage to social media posts. You can even get your campaign started before machines are installed: consider creating a subtle “curiosity gap” to pique your account holders’ interest and raise anticipation for the arrival of these new tools.
  4. Inform: The next phase of your campaign should focus on proactively providing answers to expected questions like Why are these here now? and What’s in it for me? It’s important to align your messaging with key consumer benefits. For example, if your institution is expanding ITM placement into rural areas, lead with a tagline like We’re Bringing the Branch to You. Think about a focused digital campaign with SEO and SEM elements targeting new prospects in the regions and demographics that could benefit most from ITMs.
  5. Enable: Several recent studies show that only small minority of users are entirely satisfied with their ITM experience – while their institutions believe that a majority are. There’s a lack of trust with certain functionalities: for example, many respondents say they are comfortable making deposits but aren’t comfortable making credit card payments. Overall, older users express more discomfort. Communicating benefits is essential, but so is optimizing user experience and addressing persistent concerns. One solution could be how-to videos on YouTube that target and retarget users based on age group and engagement.

When you work with LIGHTSTREAM, you’re working with a full-service marketing team that knows community banking inside and out. For 15 years, we’ve helped banks and credit unions across the country to develop dynamic content and connect with their ideal audiences. Ready to take your brand to the next level? Get in touch today.