Marketing is basically your interaction with your consumer. This interaction with your consumer is done so that you can get the consumer to purchase your product or service. Basically that is what marketing is all about, getting the customer to purchase your product or service!
There is a tendency to confuse “marketing” with other terms like “advertising” or “publicity” etc. However, advertising is only a small part of marketing. Advertising is one of the ways in which you can get the customer to purchase your product or service. There are many other ways. Like "publicity" though newspapers will increase awareness about your product or service and thus may get the customer to purchase your product or service.
The point is that marketing is a mixture of all the activities of advertising, promotion, publicity, deciding the look and feel of the product, how it will be sold and sent to the consumer etc. All of these are the different parts of marketing. They are not marketing.
Marketing can be thought of as a mixture of all these activities that will get the consumer to buy your product. In fact, this gives us one of the important terms related to marketing called "marketing mix". Marketing mix, as stated above is a mixture of all the above stated activities designed to get a particular set of consumers to buy your product. These terms will be explained later in much more detail.
This article is written for small business who want to increase their customers though marketing as well as large business who plan to target even the whole country as their target market. Besides that, it serves as a good text, that will give you a practical understanding of what the marketing process is all about.