If you’re an online fundraiser, odds are your sweet spot demographic is a woman in her mid-50s or early 60s.

Unless you personally match that demographic (Alia and I each bat .500 in that regard), your personal instincts about how to communicate may be leading you down the wrong path.

According to research on the content habits of baby boomers, there are some distinct strategies you’ll want to put in play. If you’re 30, or a dude, not all of these will be intuitively obvious:

  • Right brain over left. While nearly all of us make decisions based on emotion, people in their middle years acknowledge it more openly and are more receptive to appeals to intuition or wisdom. Younger folks have more of a “rational” bias and are more receptive to bullet points of benefits and other proof points.
  • Facial recognition. As people get older, they get better at reading facial expressions. You immediately can tell a “posed” smile from a genuine one. That means authenticity matters more in imagery. There used to be a Surveymonkey landing page featuring a woman with a smile so fake it would take me a few seconds to get over my irritation every time I saw it.
  • Distinctions without a difference. Boomers are less likely to accept claims of uniqueness. Differentiators need to be compelling if they are going to help your cause stand out from the crowd. Brand builders, take note.
  • That authenticity thing again. Authenticity and deeper meaning matter a lot to baby boomers. With younger folks, appeals to tribal identity tend to carry more weight.

It’s always important not to over-generalize. You might be a baby boomer woman and none of this speaks to you. Or you might be a Gen-Y man and the boomer rules seem to apply.

But in marketing, we’re always playing the odds, and knowing these tendencies can help shade things consistently in your favor.