‘Tis the season to reflect on the year that’s quickly coming to a close. Definitive lists of all kinds abound, from Facebook Top 10’s, Amazon’s 10 Best-Selling Books and, of course, Baby Center’s 100 Most Popular Baby Names (hello Sophia and Aiden).

In that spirit, I offer up my own list of sorts: The Content Management Surprises of 2011. So without further ado…

Marketing Drives the IT Agenda & Re-Emergence of Web CMS

Back in 1999, marketing drove business to the web and fostered the emergence of a new class of software, Web Content Management. Web CMS went on to become mission critical infrastructure owned and managed by IT to support both external and internal Web initiatives.

Now, in 2011, with the imperative to differentiate in multi-channel digital experiences to build brand and drive demand, marketers are again at the forefront of pushing the IT agenda, driving new innovation and new demand in Web CMS. In the age of the social and mobile consumer, all roads now lead back to Web CMSs and their core publishing, working and dynamic delivery services.

DAM Becomes the Topic du Jour for Digital Marketers

Originally focused on internal production efficiencies and governance, secure storage, archival and retrieval of brand assets was a core departmental initiative in the early 2000s for many enterprises to lower costs associated with digital asset production and distribution. Now, in 2011, Digital Asset Management has become the centerpiece of an enterprise's brand strategy and multi-channel brand experience.

As organizations look to build engaging experiences -- including video and targeted multimedia banners, teasers and ads for different campaigns, segments and geos -- DAM becomes less a departmental system for internal efficiencies and more an enterprise platform for fueling new online marketing campaigns.

Context Marries Data & Content for 1:1 Personalization

1:1 personalization was always the vision. Executing against that vision was the central challenge of CMSs.

In 2011, we suddenly saw organizations and vendors rally around the notion of context and how to track and personalize experiences as users interact and hop between channels like the web, mobile and social. 2011 became the year of context -- marrying deep customer insights and analytics to content for delivering an optimized experience.

Social Becomes Central to Marketing Agenda

Social has been the playground of marketing for a number of years -- starting first with blogs, then various Facebook pages and then forays into Twitter.

In 2011, social became front and center for CMOs as the means for understanding customer sentiment and driving engagement. Today's marketing organizations now take a "social first" attitude, directly correlating social media campaign performance to real business results.

Convergence of Marketing Technologies into Emergent Digital Marketing Platform

In 2011, with the added demands on marketing organizations as they transition from more traditional offline brand marketing to new online demand marketing, enterprises around the globe "woke up" to the fact that they were relying on dozens of different systems for specific elements of the demand-generation function across brands and across regions.

In 2011, the central surprise was how complex the marketing technology landscape was, and the rapid convergence of vendors and customers around the notion that Marketing needs to be re-platformed for the digital age with new, unified systems for creating and managing multi-channel campaigns tying to personalized customer experience on the web, mobile and more.

Agree or disagree? More to add or would you like to dispute any I’ve included? Let me know your thoughts below or ping me on Twitter @kevinc2003.

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