Marketing performs a profound socioeconomic function in matching offerings with customer needs and preferences in an efficient and effective way. The micro-macro divide is widened by an array of commercial conducts that surround narrowly defined efficiency oriented objectives. Sustainability is therefore rarely linked to the marketing thoughts and practices. Sustainability is not associated with efficiency and effectiveness, which are sometimes considered to be self-exclusive variables, nor does it allow top-down and bottom-up interactions. The framework of sustainability raised in this article adopts a systemic approach to marketing that integrates the three major aspects of performances, inclusive of efficiency, long-term effectiveness, and distributive effectiveness. An example from the historic evolution of the pharmacy marketing system in China indicates that a narrow focus on the business-level operational efficiency and marketing success may be short-sighted and will not bring in an ideal consequence at the societal level. Implications from this case for generating sustainable outcomes with ecological and distributive effectiveness are discussed.
- marketing system
- historic review