Seth Godin proclaims that marketing has a marketing problem, and he offers that marketing (of course) is the answer to fixing it. He suggests that any business discipline benefits most from the spreading of ideas, in other words marketing.
Somewhere along the way, people were sold that marketing [equals] advertising. Somewhere along the way, people were trained that marketers are liars (oops). And now we wonder why people are so clueless about what marketing really is. Maybe it's because marketing has a marketing problem.
Marketing is not about trickery or even insincerity. It's about spreading ideas that you believe in, sharing ideas you're passionate about... and doing it with authenticity. Marketing is about treating prospects and customers with respect, and realizing that it's easier to grow the amount of business you do with happy people than it is to find new strangers to accost.
While I think Godin is right, marketing should be all these things, the general public would probably disagree. I would say marketing actually has a PR problem because the public perception of the practice is usually quite poor. Maybe we should take Godin's advice and simply call marketing the spreading of ideas, the clarification (or shall we call it rebranding?) might just help.