Wikipedia thinks ‘marketing’ means this:
Marketing is an ongoing process of planning and executing the marketing mix (Product, Price, Place, Promotion often referred to as the 4 Ps) for products, services or ideas to create exchange between individuals and organizations. Marketing tends to be seen as a creative industry, which includes advertising, distribution and selling.It is also concerned with anticipating the customers’ future needs and wants, which are often discovered through market research. Essentially, marketing is the process of creating or directing an organization to be successful in selling a product or service that people not only desire, but are willing to buy. Therefore good marketing must be able to create a “proposition” or set of benefits for the end customer that delivers value through products or services.
We think this is a more helpful, succinct definition:
Marketing is initiating and maintaining profitable relationships.
In case more clarity is needed, ‘profitable relationships’ require a value exchange in the eyes of both parties.