In a recent press release from Gartner promoting their Content & Collaboration Summit 2014, Gartner states that the “business consumer requires a digital workplace”.

The concept of a “digital workplace” seems straightforward enough, but is the term “business consumer” one that’s currently in everyday use and both easily and readily interpreted?

Until recently, there has always been a line drawn between B2B and B2C with the understanding that the buyer in each of these models requires to be dealt with differently by sales and marketing. Traditionally, also, the buyer has been reliant upon the sales person for that crucial information that would help them grow their business or trim their waistline, depending on what camp you sat in.

The times, however, as is often the case, “are a changin’”. With the democratisation of information and the easy 24/7 access to knowledge via the internet, the walls of these traditional text book models have been slowly chipped away and eroded. What we have been left with is the dawning realisation that all of business, whether B2B or B2C is simply dealing with people – although it may not always be apparent that they are human. Through this shift in how we find and consume information the B2B buyer has emerged as the “business consumer”.

In the press release (you can read it here, Gartner’s VP Matthew Cain defines the “business consumer” as “an employee for whom business activities are one part of a wider lifestyle”. He goes on to say “individuals do not stop being consumers when they go to work. Business consumers often make more consumer-like choices in their workplace computing tools and styles to increase efficiency”.

So, what does this have to do with content marketing and what does content marketing have to do with sales and buyers?

Well, it seems that bring your own device (BYOD), bring your own application (BYOA), mobile application development, and the 24/7 access that we have both in business and as consumers is here for the foreseeable future – it’s the new “normal”. This evolution in communication does not mean that sales people, buyers and marketers have become extinct, but it does mean that the way we can engage with buyers, whether they would have been in the B2B or B2C model or not, has evolved, and this is where content marketing, or engagement through content, comes into play.

Understanding the business buyer as a consumer allows the creation and curation of the information that the buyers is seeking and the placement of that information in the virtual places where the buyer lives digitally. Using online collaboration tools allows two-way communication and a sharing of knowledge to ensure the informed business consumer gets what they want and enables the sellers to sell.

Content marketing, the digital workspace and the business consumer are all connected. Recognising this connection is key to doing business digitally.