ATMs for financial brand marketing

What does the younger generation mean to financial institutions? They mean everything, and bank and credit union marketers recognize this fact. In the past two decades, there has been a heavy focus on Millennials as they graduated college, entered the workforce, and began moving up into management. But today, the oldest Millennials are in their early forties, and marketers realize it is time for that same focus on the future to take on the challenge of a new generation.

And what do young people want? They want 24/7, surcharge-free, self-service banking whenever and wherever they need it. And that self-service banking is more than an easy-to-use mobile application. It also means fast and convenient access to cash – at the ATM.

In addition to being rampant mobile banking users, Gen Z also has a heavy preference for cash and ATMs. Nearly half of Gen Z (45%) prefer to use cash. Another thirty-three percent believe cash makes them feel like they have more control. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to discover consumers 18-34 report visiting an ATM to get cash more than seven times per month. Fortunately, the continued popularity of ATMs among the younger crowd is a huge boon for financial institution marketers. Here are three reasons banks and credit unions should leverage ATMs in their marketing strategies. 

ATMs improve brand footprint, recognition, and convenience

With so many younger consumers using relying on self-service cash access, the ATM is the perfect location for targeted outreach. Oddly enough, now is the perfect time to dust off some of the oldest tricks in the financial institution marketing playbook – things like surcharge-free networks, off-site ATMs, and ATM branding.

Branch-based ATMs provide longer operational hours on-site, but Gen Z doesn’t have time to be stopping at the brick-and-mortar branch. The young adults of today have many of the same habits as those of the past – eating out, visiting bars, attending college classes, and stopping at the convenience store. According to recent independent studies with Experian, young consumers are the heaviest users of one of the largest convenience chains in the United States.

Fortunately, there are several ways banks and credit unions can provide access to banking in the places this generation frequents most. Surcharge-free access to cash is one opportunity to expand to meet the needs of younger account holders quickly. Many surcharge-free ATM providers and networks offer customized access options down to the region, state, city, zip code, or even location. Some go above and beyond with additional resources or materials to help their bank and credit union members promote convenient, surcharge-free cash and account access digitally via social media and mobile applications.

Partnering with reputable ATM operators, like FCTI, to place off-site ATMs is another easy way to reach out on college campuses or at popular places of employment. These off-site locations provide a measure of safety for users while promoting the institution’s brand as convenient and relevant to young consumers.

Branding at an ATM is something to seriously consider when thinking about reaching Gen Z consumers. This isn’t the old-school ATM branding of the past, with static ATM wraps and some window signage. While those strategies have their place, today’s young consumers are drawn to the digital out-of-home toppers and on-screen messaging more advanced ATM operators provide. Today’s gas stations and convenience stores boast over 31 million viewers for their in-store advertising – a perfect venue for banks and credit unions to attract some attention.

ATMs offer low-cost acquisition and retention opportunities

Brand presence is not the only benefit ATMs bring to the table. When young consumers are getting cash, where are they looking? What are they walking away with?

The ATM screen and ATM receipt are two of the most underutilized, cost-effective marketing opportunities financial institutions have at their disposal. ATM users literally stare at each screen as they make their way through a transaction and grab the receipt along with their cash – a guaranteed 1:1 impression.

In addition, recent ATM technology from providers like FCTI offers the ability to target specific BINs. So, banks and credit unions can offer hyper-targeted advertising directly to their account holders. This proprietary software allows financial institutions to leverage unique ways to reach current and potential account holders. Retention strategies like contests, rewards to drive engagement, and promoting additional banking products, are just a few. For acquisition, financial institutions can target surcharged ATM users from competing banks or credit unions with messaging around surcharge-free access, bonuses for new account openings, or other incentives.

ATM receipts are yet another opportunity laying in wait for the savvy financial institution. Retailers have been using receipts for years for anything from offering discounts to requesting reviews. Studies show people don’t just throw receipts away. They typically sit around in cars, wallets, purses, or kitchen drawers for later viewing. Messages printed on ATM receipts provide brand recognition, and an opportunity to offer something unique to current and potential account holders.

ATMs are the perfect CTA testing ground

For financial institutions looking to find messaging that resonates with younger consumers, the ATM is a location ripe for use. Today’s ATM environments have everything needed to determine what works best, especially the right age group for your audience.

In addition to captive users, ATM technology can offer segmented messaging rollouts by zip code, county, city, and even down to the individual ATM location. It’s easy to couple that level of targeting with some custom messaging, links or QR codes, and unique landing pages for a complete A/B testing landscape.

Targeting the younger consumers in bespoke, cost-effective ways is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Despite how “old” the idea may seem, today’s ATMs provide a wealth of marketing opportunities through branding, digital advertising, convenient access, and hyper-targeted messaging. And, with all of these unique marketing options, these “throwback” machines can offer a surprisingly cost-effective and efficient way to reach out to the current and potential Gen Z account holders.