Jeff Cartwright | The Innovator 25 North America 2022

Jeff Cartwright

Chief Growth Officer
Morning Consult

New York, NY

“Innovators break through barriers, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, and chart the course of a team, business and industry."

With Jeff Cartwright as chief growth officer, global decision intelligence company Morning Consult has grown from small startup to global enterprise tech unicorn in less than six years. Economists and analysts from the company appear as expert voices on pressing issues and emerging trends in media CNBC, CNN, CBS, Bloomberg and in the New York Times, among others.   

A former comms strategist for The Atlantic and National Journal, Cartwright oversees marketing, comms, content and creative to build a runway for Morning Consult’s expansion and engagement, as well as working with stakeholders on key growth initiatives. During his time at the firm, he’s built and led a company analyst division to offer strategic and industry-specific intelligence to top leaders, producing detailed monthly and quarterly reports and weekly industry trackers to help leaders better understand changing consumer perspectives. 

He describes being a part of Morning Consult, which brings together proprietary high-frequency data with applied AI to better inform decisions on what people think and how they will act, as ‘a master class in innovation’. 
How do you define innovation?
Innovation is the ability to identify new ideas and nurture them to fruition – quickly. Innovators break through barriers, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, and chart the course of a team, business, and industry.

In your opinion, which brands and/or agencies are most innovative in their approach to PR and marketing?
Innovative brands use quality data in their approach to PR and marketing. These brands identify opportunities quicker, respond faster and communicate stronger messages.Those brands operating without access to real-time brand, issue and audience tracking risk operating in their own feedback loop, and fail to disrupt or truly innovate.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
Being part of Morning Consult has been a master class in innovation. Over the past seven years, I’ve had a front row seat at a company defining the Decision Intelligence category – applying high-frequency survey data to help leaders answer their toughest questions. It’s no small task and requires constant innovation to help leaders make better decisions in today’s fast-moving world.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
The best thing I can do to get out of a creativity rut is to step away and distract myself – whether that’s going for a jog, playing the piano or cleaning the house. The best moments of inspiration come when you aren’t thinking about the task at hand.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Innovation stems from smart decision-making, which, in turn, stems from leveraging high-frequency, quality data. That data is your best resource not only for making decisions but getting a seat at the table. The efforts of other functions – marketing, sales, and product included – have been rooted in data for decades, but the true impact of public relations efforts has proven harder to measure at times. Now, public relations and communications professionals have the advantage of forward-looking, high-frequency survey research to fuel their innovation.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
If we are in a dream scenario, touring my multi-platinum album across stadiums all over the world – ha! In reality, I’d probably make a pretty good hype-man for NYC.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
The return of live entertainment post-pandemic has been incredibly inspiring and is a reminder that compelling storytelling is at the root of building a strong connection with your audience – that’s true for a play as much as it is a brand.

How would you like to see work culture, and the role of the office, evolve?
At Morning Consult, we embraced team member choice in our hybrid work model, empowering our more than 500 team members to choose where and how they want to work. We tripled in size since before the pandemic, and after holding focus groups and conducting internal surveys, we knew our experience needed to support their choice.

As the role of the office continues to evolve, trust in team members’ choice needs to grow too. Some businesses have yet to empower their teams to make the decisions best for them in terms of their working environments, which in turn creates an environment inherently lacking in full support.