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Women to Watch 2007

Coleen Kuehn

MPG

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NEXT: Ann Mukherjee

As head of MPG North America's strategy group, the media agency's in-house think tank, Coleen Kuehn is pretty much the rudder that keeps a fast-moving boat on course.

Coleen Kuehn, exec VP-chief strategist, MPG


Her six-person team's charter is to remain abreast of trends in consumer behavior and the latest media techniques and channels -- then recommend, based on that research, how best to design and implement innovative media plans and programs.

"Clients are always curious about new types of media," says Ms. Kuehn, exec VP-chief strategist at MPG. "But our challenge is to recommend the right ones for each client and how each medium should be used. People who thrive in our group get bored easily and love a daily challenge."

Raised in Birmingham, Ala., in a family of five daughters, Ms. Kuehn was a competitive tennis player in her youth. At MediaCom, she helped build the agency's fledgling digital business unit while working for client Procter & Gamble Co.

"While we were grappling with how to charge for internet ads, whether on page views or [gross rating points], Coleen was urging us to take a broader view and examine how consumers were interacting with the ads," says her former P&G client, Buddy Tucker, now an independent media and marketing consultant. "She brought a dose of maturity and clarity during the height of the interactive-marketing craze."

She joined MPG in 2003, moving from an internet-only focus back into client services and strategy. Ms. Kuehn, 39, played a key role in MPG's win last month of media buying and planning on Sears Holdings Corp.'s $740 million account.

Ms. Kuehn is "spectacular at marrying business insights with consumer insights," says Charlie Rutman, CEO of MPG North America. "She never focuses on one at the expense of the other, and keeps us all grounded."

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