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Steppenwolf Seeks Director of Marketing and Communications

Steppenwolf Seeks Director of Marketing and Communications

Position and Responsibilities:

The Director of Marketing and Communications oversees all aspects of audience development and retention, brand management, earned ticket sales and box office services.  Reporting to the Executive Director, serving as a member of Steppenwolf’s senior management team and working closely with both the Artistic Director, Ensemble and the Board of Trustees, the Director of Marketing and Communications leads a sophisticated and customer-centric team of eighteen full-time and more than twenty part-time staff which creates and executes strategies and tactics to meet Steppenwolf’s institutional goals. 

In addition to overseeing the strategy, planning and implementation of all marketing, public relations and sales programs to earn up to $7 million in memberships and single ticket sales annually, the Director of Marketing and Communications will work with the Marketing, Communications and Audience Services teams to develop innovative and leading-edge audience development and retention initiatives which will ensure Steppenwolf has an audience as diverse as the programming on its stages.  Further, it is the goal of the institution and the responsibility of the Director of Marketing and Communications to help launch Steppenwolf into the next 25 years of its dynamic life, and to do so with the same vigor, innovative spirit and ambition as our founders did in 1975.

The Director of Marketing and Communications will focus on growing new audiences while retaining and deepening relationships with current audiences, by leading Steppenwolf to the forefront of digital and new media marketing and engagement efforts.  Further, the Director of Marketing and Communications will work to elevate the brand of Steppenwolf within the conscious mind of our city and our nation.  With two major milestones on the horizon, including the expansion of Steppenwolf’s campus and Steppenwolf’s 50th anniversary (a mere 7 years from now), the Director of Marketing and Communications will be integral to the planning for the celebration of these two major events, as well as strategically preparing the public for the new building and the newly expanded vision of who Steppenwolf is in Chicago.

 Essential Functions include (but are not limited to):

  • Collaborating regularly with the Executive Director and Artistic Director, mastermind and supervise the planning and implementation of all marketing, public relations, and sales programs to raise nearly $7 million in earned income through memberships and single ticket sales annually.
  • Supervise the Steppenwolf’s sales projections and corresponding pricing and inventory strategies to maximize revenue and motivate sales team while maintaining fiscal health of annual operation.
  • Through the application of learning cycles (design programs, research, try, assess results and make improvements, research, try, assess results, etc) create and grow a sustainable audience base that reflects the diversity of Chicago.
  • Increase the public profile and interest in Steppenwolf both locally, nationally and internationally, including having the pulse on Steppenwolf’s brand in all major markets.
  • Create and execute innovative stakeholder communications strategies to educate and inform current supporters about activities and accomplishments.
  • Support the development of community engagement and access initiatives of the theatre.
  • Manage annual expense budgets of $2.9 million to run all marketing, publicity, sales (including box office), media and graphic design efforts and operations. 
  • Cultivate a risk-taking work environment that enables innovation and growth in new technology and marketing practices to ensure Steppenwolf’s vitality. 
  • Mobilize the communications team to “get the plan off the page” with efficiency and flexibility – measuring results and adjusting the plan to reach aggressive goals.
  • Work alongside other Senior Management Team members as a strategic thought leader on short and long-term organizational issues.
  • Collaborate with various internal departments to ensure that the patrons’ experience of the theater is welcoming, kind and comfortable.
  • Collaborate with the Development Department to integrate organizational strategy and customer relationship management in marketing and fundraising efforts.
  • Serve as staff liaison to the Marketing Committee of the Board.

Key Competencies Desired:

  • Ability to grow an audience with in a well-established mature and highly competitive market place
  • Ability to lead the use of digital media to drive ticket sales
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Team Player and Inclusive Leader
  • Strategic, Flexible and Curious Thinker
  • Ambition for achieving goals
  • Highly Ethical Conduct and Strong Emotional Intelligence
  • High Technical Capacity


The successful candidate will be a detailed, innovative and forward-thinking professional with exceptional marketing and communication skills.  A high degree of professionalism and integrity is necessary to be successful in this position.  They will be a compelling, persuasive leader with the ability to move a team forward—direct reports, executive leadership and volunteers—by inspiring and motivating people with creativity and energy.

The ideal candidate will be a resourceful, results-oriented leader with the ability to think strategically, generate new ideas and set priorities.  They will have a passion for getting things done, for not only creating but for executing and evaluating a plan of action while not losing sight of the big picture, with the flexibility to welcome and embrace change, and the ability to balance many challenges inherent in an active and lively theatre environment.  They also will be a skilled manager and an effective delegator who can build on group dynamics and set high expectations with the marketing and communications team.

The following qualifications are required:

  • Steppenwolf gives preference to candidates who have demonstrable experience advocating for equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • A comprehensive understanding of marketing theory and practice with preference given to those with performing arts experience.
  • At least ten years of increasingly responsible and successful experience in marketing or communications with a proven track record in audience development.
  • At least five years of progressively responsible and successful experience in managing, mentoring and motivating staff, and the ability to inspire staff toward accomplishing common objectives.
  • Preference will be given to candidates with experience managing audience research studies, digital marketing campaigns, brand management, loyalty and retention programs, as well as audience growth initiatives including tourism strategies.
  • Outstanding interpersonal and communications skills – characterized by the ability to listen, to speak, and to write well – with a strong commitment to audience centric communication.
  • A knowledge of theatre in Chicago and experience with Tessitura a plus.

How to apply

Interested and qualified candidates should send a cover letter and resume by following this link by June 15, 2018.


Harwood Place - Superblock
San Camillo