Riordan Manufacturing is an industry leader in the manufacturing of plastic injection molding. Currently, Riordan Manufacturing employs 550 people and has annual earnings of nearly $46 million. Their parent company, Riordan Industries, exceeds $1 billion dollars per year in revenue. Currently, Riordan markets their products predominately in the United States but are in the process of developing an International marketing campaign for several countries in Asian market with an emphasis on South Korea. Ethical business practices need to be a part of the marketing strategy implemented. When it comes to South Korea, “It is a major international economic power; it has the 15th economy in the world and the 4th in Asia, behind Japan,China and India. Its largest trading partner and export market today is China.South Korea has achieved rapid economic growth through exports of manufactured goods, and is one of the Four Asian Tigers. Major industries in South Korea today are automobiles, semiconductor, electronics, shipbuilding, and steel.”
There is 3 things need to be considered for the marketing campaign: the company, the industry, and society. The first thing to consider is the employee of Riordan Manufacturing. It is very important that decisions made within the company are done in a manor that is fair and have a positive impact on the employees of the company. For example, compensation packages should coincide with workers skill levels and experience. It could be considered unethical for Riordan to pay higher wages to workers in one section of the company and lower wages to employees that have equal work skills but work in another department. Discrimination is area that always raises questions on ethical business practices. Riordan needs to be aware of the employment laws in South Korea to avoid unethical hiring practices.
The South Korea electronics industry as a whole is another area to consider that could be affected by unethical business practices. One way that the industry or particular company could be affected by unethical practices would be through the use of false or misleading advertising. If Riordan developed advertising pieces that depicted the competition in a false or negative way would be a major ethical violation and probably have a negative impact of Riordan Manufacturing. This type of violation could also impact Riordan’s acceptance into other global markets if they create a reputation of being unethical. Major product suppliers and vendors may be unwilling to do business with Riordan if they are perceived as unethical.
The last area of concern that may be greatly impacted by unethical business practices is society. This includes consumers and everyone else that either buys or uses Riordan products. An example of questionable ethics could be selling products in South Korea that are made with less quality materials, degrading the quality and trying to sell for the same or greater price in order to reach higher profit margins. Environmental issues also typically play on ethics. Problems could arise if Riordan were purposely or incidentally polluting the environment, therefore it is important the Riordan is aware and follow environmental laws in South Korea and other global markets. Riordan marketers must also be sensitive to the differences that exist between the cultures in the US and South Korea. Advertising campaigns that are successful in the US may not have the same success in South Korea. Different cultures may have different viewpoints on what is considered right and wrong, therefore marketers will need to conduct extensive research on foreign markets and their cultures before implementing a marketing campaign.
The decision to begin marketing to the entire Asian region will have several implications on the current marketing strategy. First, Riordan will need to adjust their marketing efforts to reflect the diverse cultures that exist in different regions of Asia. Asia is comprised of many countries and with many different languages and cultures, which makes marketing more difficult. The Korea Information and Communication Trade Unions was formed to consolidate countries within Asia and create one economic market, which does some to simplify the market, but there are still differences that exist in different countries. A large multi-national market can be very beneficial to Riordan in many ways. “A company like Riordan, which deals in mass production, can distribute larger quantities of products throughout the entire region while increasing economies of scale.”
Riordan Manufacturing has been an industry leader for years because of their creative product design and ability to affectively market their products. If Riordan is to achieve success in the South Korea market, they will need to be aware of ethics as it pertains to society, the industry, and Riordan employees. Marketers need to examine the changes and adapt to the differences that exist between the US and South Korea markets in order to achieve success.
Cateora, P. & Graham, J. (2007). International Marketing (13th ed.) McGraw Hill, New York, NY.