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Don’t Call It a Comeback: How Monetizing Mobile Carrier Data May Be the Industry’s Salvation
// Mary Sloss - September 16, 2016

I’m a big fan of comeback stories. One of my personal favorites is America’s childhood star turned bald maniac, Britney Spears. As soon as she attacked the paparazzi with an umbrella, it seemed her career was over and the downward spiral would never end. Fast forward to 2016: she’s back and better than ever. Her net worth is $185 million, she headlines a show in Vegas, and landed no. 6 on Forbes’ list of top-earning women in music in 2015, right between Sasha Fierce.

As much as I could go on about my infatuation with Britney’s comeback – and I could – there’s a point here. She’s a powerhouse, and her story is not-so-distant from some of the most popular comeback stories in business: GM, Apple (remember the market-flopping Newton and when Jobs was fired by the board), J.Crew, and Ford, to name a few.

These companies persevered against the odds and staged remarkable comebacks. They evolved their brands, blending creativity and innovation while investing in top talent to fuel their turnarounds. A turning point for Ford, for example, was when former CEO Alan Mulally bluntly stated, “We have been going out of business for forty years.” He consequently inspired the entire company to become their “best selves.” From this, the One Ford vision was established and by the time Mulally retired in 2014, Ford was the no. 2 top performing automaker in terms of U.S. sales.

Now one of the nation’s most mature industries is experiencing a similar shift. Global mobile network operators continue to fight declining revenues from voice, messaging, and data services. They also don’t know how to create value from their data. They have the oil, but they don't have the rig to drill.

The path for this industry’s comeback: mobile adtech investments. As noted by TechCrunch, “Mobile operators are in a great position to provide mobile ad services because of their intimate connections to millions of customers.” By partnering with adtech companies, MNOs can turn around declining profits by monetizing their most valuable asset: customer profile data.

At Pinsight, we’re currently doing this with the biggest supplier of our goods: Sprint. Utilizing verified first-party data, we have the oil and the rig, making us experts in monetizing valuable MNO data. We bring the supply, demand, and technology needed to monetize carrier device inventory, all while implementing industry-leading privacy practices (read about how we partner with Sprint, as well as other major MNOs, to create value from their data in this recent AdWeek article).

As reporter Adam Cohen-Aslatei observed, “If a wireless carrier can capture just a fraction of the U.S. mobile ad market, it could outperform the competition. The opportunity is massive and brands are taking notice.”

This is one comeback story I can’t wait to see come to fruition. And luckily, no reporters have been harmed with umbrellas in the process (yet).