My mother always used to tell me, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” What I’d like to say to some self-anointed marketing mavens is, If you can’t say anything smart, don’t say anything. Please!

The InterWeb is full of lists these days. Seems that making lists has become the substitute for critical thinking. Plus, it appeals to readers’ sense of What’s in it for me? Today I found a list that struck me as completely idiotic in a way that only marketing lists can be — it’s both obtuse and obnoxious.

I receive a newsletter called “Marketing Charts,” and it usually provides a rich source of short news items that I can share on Twitter. Today, however, it featured an interview with Judy Franks, founder and president of The Marketing Democracy, whose Web site won’t even be live until Nov. 4. Now I ask you, how much credence should you give a so-called marketing company that doesn’t even have a working Web site? Right, my point exactly.

Franks shares her top 10 integrated marketing trends to watch for next year. I’ve stripped them of their explanations, which tend to make them seem sensible. You can read the whole thing here. But taken as assertive statements, they’re just smelly piles of marketingspeak:

1. Less will get done until we learn to do more with less.
2. Marketers will mistakenly “whack” a medium of the marketing mix.
3. Marketers rush to employ “social networking” strategies.
4. More data but even less “understanding.”
5. Lines between media will continue to blur.
6. Push vs. pull will become less relevant.
7. Great content will travel at the “speed of share” while “average” experiences will evaporate.
8. The adult 18-49 demo will become even less relevant as a target cohort.
9. Symbiosis will create interesting and — at times strange — partnerships.
10. 2010 will become the year of the good idea.

Lord help us if any of these predictions comes true. Seems to me you could have made up these predictions by tossing a bunch of pieces of paper with words written on them in a hat and pulling them out randomly. What exactly does “more data but even less ‘understanding'” mean?

It doesn’t mean anything, and it’s not designed to. The whole purpose of that exercise was to position Judy Franks as a thought leader, though apparently she can’t be bothered to back that up with a thought.

Don’t get me wrong, I like marketing. I find it a most interesting topic. I just don’t think you have to dress it in some wizard’s cloak of nonsensical language to make it seem magical and mysterious.

I do hope Franks is right about one thing: “2010 will become the year of the good idea.” We could use one of those right about now.

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