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Ten-minute chat
  1. Amanda Melvin

Abstract

Amanda Melvin is senior product manager at MSD Animal Health, which is supporting the Afya Serengeti rabies prevention project.

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What does your job involve?

I'm responsible for the marketing of our Nobivac range of vaccines. This involves building partnerships with vets through a range of support services and working with charitable organisations, including the Afya Serengeti rabies prevention project.

How did you get to where you are?

My interest in marketing developed at university where I was introduced to the veterinary industry through a work placement. I joined MSD Animal Health in July 2010 as a marketing assistant and in December 2012 was promoted to equine product manager. I completed a postgraduate diploma in marketing and I was then given the opportunity to develop my digital marketing skills, managing the company's pet owner platform, MyPetonline, and developing Chameleon – our customer relationship management service for vets. More recently I've been given the role of senior product manager for Nobivac vaccines.

What do you like about your job?

The best part of my job is building relationships with people in the industry and meeting real-life needs through our products and services. Awareness of the importance of preventative healthcare can saves the lives of people and animals, and I get a huge thrill out of working within a creative and professional team to communicate that message. This involves a wide range of preventative health projects such as Afya Serengeti, working with Sarah Cleaveland and her team at the University of Glasgow and Mission Rabies, to promote World Rabies Day, September 28.

Why is the afya project important?

It supports the aim of eliminating rabies in countries that couldn't otherwise afford the vaccine and where thousands of people die every year from this terrible disease, many of them children. Rabies is preventable and vaccination can save the lives of people and dogs, so MSD donates a rabies vaccine for every Nobivac vaccine used in a vet practice.

What has been your role in supporting this campaign?

Promoting World Rabies Day and Afya Serengeti to vets and pet owners in the UK. We want them to engage with the programme so we can extend the breadth of the projects that supply vaccination as well as developing educational activity in the Serengeti, Tanzania, India, Malawi and Sri Lanka. It is my role to provide UK vets with the resources they need to get involved.

What do you enjoy most about working for MSD?

I love working with vets, scientists, customers, charities and our marketing team as they are passionate about caring for pets – I gain insight and experience from all of them. I am inspired by these people who are constantly looking at new ways to innovate and promote preventative healthcare for pets.

What was your proudest moment?

Winning the Veterinary Marketing Association Young Marketeer of the Year Award 2014 for my work on the Keeping Britain's Horses Healthy campaign. The campaign raised the profile of preventative healthcare among UK vets and horse owners and I was involved from its inception to its launch. It involved partnering with experts within the industry to develop a strategic campaign. It has strong support and has been successful in raising awareness of the importance of good horse healthcare.

Amanda Melvin (left) and David Sutton with the Mission Rabies team

What advice would you give others wanting to work in a similar role?

To get as much experience as possible, even if it's volunteering for a while. Work closely with your customers, spend time in understanding them through active engagement.

If you weren't a senior product manager what might you do instead?

I've always been fascinated by behaviour so I would probably choose a career involved in psychology – maybe as a consumer psychologist.

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