The pace at which the Internet continues to affect communications is nothing short of dramatic. Nearly every type of information is now instantaneously accessible, downloadable and hyperlinked. As we adapt to absorbing ever greater volumes of information, and to the rapid rate at which it comes at us, our preferences as consumers of information are changing.
Recent mutual fund industry regulations supporting electronic delivery of shareholder communications reflect a larger trend that extends to virtually any business that maintains contact with its customers. As consumers become more Internet savvy, businesses must better understand their customers' changing preferences in how they receive information, and communicate in a way that serves these preferences, whether via traditional print and mail or electronic, interactive delivery. Companies that position themselves to provide effective communication with their customers through a range of channels will win out over those entrenched in traditional roles.