In today’s show, Riley Bass Au.D., holds it down solo while Chris is on vacation. The topic for the show is Generational Dynamics and Audiology, with special guest Samantha Ross, a Generational Dynamics Expert from Audigy Group.
Did you miss our series on Transitioning from Student to Provider? Catch up on what you missed by visiting our special series page.
Listen to the Episode Below
Read the transcript:
RILEY BASS: Welcome to the podcast. As always, my name is Riley Bass, and Chris Cox is out today on a very much deserved vacation with his family. In his place, I have a very qualified guest with me today.
She is a generational dynamic expert and works very closely with the cultural alignment of all of our teams up here. Her name is Samantha Ross. Welcome, Samantha. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your specialty and what you do here.
SAMANTHA ROSS: What I do here. The way I started out at Audigy was working with the cultural alignment team. The stuff that we focus on is generational dynamics. We do an assessment called the R3. We also work on something called Leadership Boot Camp.
But I’ve spent a lot of time in my last two years at Audigy working with Seth Madison who is a generational dynamics expert. And I’ve learned a lot from him as we’ve moved forward with our own generational program here at Audigy.
RILEY BASS: Would you say that you’re now a generational dynamic expert?
SAMANTHA ROSS: Yeah. I work with one and I am one.
RILEY BASS: Perfect. That’s exactly what we need here.
SAMANTHA ROSS: I’ve studied under the masters, basically what I’m saying.
RILEY BASS: So why, in all these studies with the master that you have done, why would you say it’s important to know about generational dynamics?
SAMANTHA ROSS: We have three generations that are currently working in the United States- the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. And all of these generations communicate differently. It’s important to study just so that you can communicate effectively with the people you work with.
RILEY BASS: A generation is defined by the events that happen in the world during your adolescence, and that’s that time from when you’re around 8 to 20, when you’re really forming your opinions about the world and your ideals about family life, about work, about everything that’s going on around you culturally, those different events that happened shape how you view the world and how you view others around you. And in the last 100 or so years that we’ve been studying these generations that are currently around, some pretty significant things have happened and some pretty significant advancements in technology have really impacted the way these generations are interacting with one another.
SAMANTHA ROSS: The oldest generation that we have right now is– they’re called the Traditionalists, and they were born before 1946. Baby Boomers were between 1946 and 1964. Those are the majority of the Millennial parents’ generation. Then there is Gen X, who were born 1965 to 1975.
Millennials, which is one of the largest groups of generations in the workforce right now, were 1980 to– some people say 1995, but it can also go to 2000. There’s a little bit of a range of ages or differences, depending on who you look at, who’s studying the generation. And then Gen Z is the last generation that is currently– well, they’re done being born. It’s 2000 to 2015, sometimes to 2020. The difference between the age, date ranges, is because back in 1946 to ’64 there wasn’t such a dynamic difference in what would happen in your adolescence. But nowadays, as we are advancing in technology, things happen so much quicker that there’s a lot bigger range between ’80 and 2000, and 2000, 2015.
RILEY BASS: Right. That makes sense. My little brother is 17, and he I feel like has grown up in a much different world than I have, but technically we’re both considered to be Millennials.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Correct.
RILEY BASS: So let’s break these down a little bit by each one and talk about what defines each generation as independent from the others. So looking at Traditionalists, these are those people born before 1946. A lot of these are our grandparents, and even more of those are our patients. These are the people that we’re seeing in our office coming in for help, and they have a very different view on the world than probably you or I do as Millennials.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Correct. A lot of the Traditionalists lived through the Depression, so they’re extremely conservative. They are very aware of how they spend their money. They are very loyal to institutions, such as the government, because a lot of them were in the Army or had the adolescence where they knew someone who was in the service. This was also the time of Pearl Harbor, so that was a big influencing factor of their adolescence.
RILEY BASS: I think of World War I coming and going, going through the Great Depression. And then World War II, which really rocked the entire world, starting with Pearl Harbor and going forward, they issued rations on the country, and food wasn’t readily available for everyone. The draft was issued, and pretty much every male had to go and serve the country. And it was just a time where everyone had to really buckle down and really focus on what was important.
I also think of this as the time when there was a very nuclear family. You know, dad worked probably long hours at a factory, some type of labor job. And mom stayed home and took care of the kids, and she cooked, and she kept the house. And that mom was always at home in those families.
SAMANTHA ROSS: The other thing that I would point out about a Traditionalist is there are oftentimes when it comes to– as you were saying, a lot of the Traditionalists are your patients that you see, they’re very trusting of authority, just from, again, how they were raised. So when they come in to see you in your clinics, they’re going to listen to everything that you have to say, all of the recommendations, so you really need to sit down with them and go through all of their options so that they know what they have. Because in other generations, like Gen X, as we’ll talk about, they will come in with all their research done, whereas Traditionalists expect you to tell them what they need.
RILEY BASS: Right. They’re very trusting of expertise. And they’re very loyal. Once you establish these as your patients, they’re going to continue to come back to them if you build that relationship.
There are some things you can do to ruin those relationships, and one thing that everyone has to watch out for is just the way you talk to them. They don’t like that slang. They don’t like, especially, vulgarity, which sometimes, as Millennials, it rolls off of our tongue far too easily. But that might not be the best idea to say those things around these patients.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Or even some words that you wouldn’t think would be vulgar might be vulgar in that situation.
RILEY BASS: Right. They also don’t like to talk about their feelings. The world was in turmoil when they were adolescents, and they were taught to keep their nose to the grindstone and do what they had to do. And that it wasn’t OK to feel sad or to feel hurt, because you had to be strong for your country and your family.
And so it’s hard for them to say when you ask, how do you feel about this hearing loss that they might have, they don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to tell you that they have feelings. They don’t want to admit that they have something that’s tugging at their heartstrings. That’s something they internalize.
So what would you say are some good ways to connect with these patients as far as if you’re going to do some type of marketing towards your Traditionalist patients, what’s something that they might be interested in?
SAMANTHA ROSS: One of the biggest things I think of when I think of Traditionalists is loyalty programs, because, again, as I said earlier, they were very loyal growing up to the military, to their family, to their churches. That is what they were raised doing. So a loyalty program is great, because you’re saying I recognize the fact that you have continually come back to see me over and over. I care about you. I care about your care. So because you’ve done this, I want to recognize you.
And it depends on what way you want to do that. There’s lots of different ways that you can recognize them. But that’s one of the biggest things I can think of when it comes to marketing to a Traditionalist.
RILEY BASS: I think definitely the loyalty programs, things like free batteries, they hold those near and dear to their heart just because it’s not something that’s overly expensive, but it’s something that you’re giving them as a free service. I also think that reaching towards the family, they’re very family-oriented. They’re very dedicated and close to their families. So I think that that’s something you can really relate to with your Traditionalists patients.
Looking forward a few years, we get into our next generation, which is the Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers are those people that are born between 1946 and 1964, again, in that period right after World War II when all the soldiers came home.
We were victorious in the war. Everything was happy. It was just time to make up for all of that lost time where we were suffering.
SAMANTHA ROSS: And have families and children, lots of children.
RILEY BASS: So you talk about these being the original, the helicopter parents, that were very involved in their children’s lives, and they were very participatory in everything they were doing as they grew up. But one of the things we started to see as this generation continued on is that the U.S. went back to war, this time in Vietnam. And what were the repercussions on the Baby Boomer generation as part of being subjected to the Vietnam War?
SAMANTHA ROSS: As the Boomers were going into Vietnam, it created an attitude of dissension, and this caused a lot of this population, this generation, to not be as loyal to the government as their parents were, to be a little more distrusting. And that’s where we get things like Woodstock, and this “make love, not war,” and this kind of hippie vibe, where they branched out, and they wanted to do things their own way, or they were able to take in the big picture and maybe not be as, you know, following loyally behind what their parents did.
RILEY BASS: Right. This was also the generation where we saw a lot of civil rights activists and civil rights movements–
SAMANTHA ROSS: Women’s rights.
RILEY BASS: — women’s rights, African-American rights. This was Martin Luther King, this was his time. Things were changing, and we weren’t just going to accept the government at their word anymore. We were going to really rebel against them and tell them why things needed to change.
And I think this was the first time that Americans felt that they could really stand up to those people, because they had seen this government that was all-powerful and all-mighty had failed them and had really dropped the ball when it came to Vietnam. And it was a disaster. And it was not a good time for America to be in that place politically. And so Americans lost trust in the government.
SAMANTHA ROSS: And authority in general.
RILEY BASS: Right. So we see a lot of Baby Boomers as bosses, as people that we work for. And we talked about that a few weeks ago when we talked about cultural integration into a practice.
But let’s talk about Baby Boomers as patients. We said 10,000 are retiring per day, every day in America. And that’s a lot of people that are ending their time in the workforce. And they’re also reaching that age where they’re our patient demographic. So what are some good ways to reach these patients that maybe we weren’t thinking of?
SAMANTHA ROSS: Some of the ways that we can market to Baby Boomers or things to keep in mind when you are talking to them is that they still want to maintain a very active lifestyle. Even though a large majority of them are retiring, there’s a lot of the population of generation Baby Boomers that are looking for ways to not retire. And this is a way that we can help them stay in the game.
Boomers have been known to be workaholics. So even though the average retiring age in the past has been kind of mid 60s, that’s not necessarily true anymore. Boomers want to stay. They want to work, even if it’s just being a part-time thing where they spend part time working and part time with their grandkids. The ability to affect their hearing and give them a better lifestyle, that’s the best way to reach out to them, if you talk about keeping that relationship with your family, being able to still go on camping trips, or just be a part of everyday life.
RILEY BASS: Right. And going along with the not being ready to retire, I think one of the things about Baby Boomers is they don’t ever want to appear old, even when they’re getting close to that retirement age, and they have grandchildren, they don’t want to look old. And having those options, they think of maybe their parents had hearing aids 30 or 40 years ago that were big and bulky and cumbersome, and that’s what they have in their mind as the image of what a hearing aid looks like or what it’s going to be like. And I think letting them know that there are going to be sleeker options that are going to be smaller and more digitalized that aren’t going to be these big clunkers that they probably think of that are going to be adaptable for their lifestyle if they’re still working, if they’re active with their grandkids, if they are out in the community doing stuff, they’re not going to be burdened by wearing something. And I think that that’s important, is the adaptability of the devices themselves.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Absolutely.
RILEY BASS: Let’s jump forward, again, to Generation X. I remember when I was a kid people would talk about Gen X and MTV and all those things. So what makes the Gen Xers, Gen Xers?
SAMANTHA ROSS: Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980, and during this time there was a lot of unrest in our country. The way that they often describe Gen Xers is that they were born with the survivor mentality. They were watching things on television like Nixon and the Watergate scandal. They saw the Challenger disaster. A lot of them remember watching the space shuttle explode when it took off when they were in middle school or high school.
And then things like at the end of the Gen Xers’ adolescence, we have people like Bill Clinton and everything that was going on in the White House with him. There was just a lot of things happening where as they were growing up, they were realizing you can’t really trust everything that’s going on, or what you see on TV.
Additionally this is the time in our country when divorce became really prevalent. So the majority of Gen Xers had divorced parents and would spend one weekend with mom, one weekend with dad. They were going back and forth. So like the institution of marriage was falling apart. There’s just lots of different things that they saw.
And the way that they coped with this was by becoming very independent. They would come home from school and do their homework on their own, let themselves in, make their own dinner, put themselves to bed, while their parents, their Boomer parents, who, again, were kind of known as workaholics, sometimes were at work, working to get ahead in the game.
RILEY BASS: Right. This is really the first generation that saw both of their parents leaving the house to go to work during the day. And these people that had been idolized, that were the icons of the country were crooks and were liars. And you think of, obviously, the Watergate, and you think of the scandal with Bill Clinton. OJ Simpson, you know, he was a major sports icon, and all of that unraveled with him.
And it was just all of these people that were idolized, and people put trust in, and people looked up to, they weren’t these great people that we thought that they were. And I think that they just stopped being jaded by the idea of someone and really looked at people for who they were and that that wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows–
SAMANTHA ROSS: Exactly.
RILEY BASS: — to say it lightly.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Exactly. And another thing about Generation X is that they came about in a time period when technology was advancing really quickly. So this is when you see, like, cassette tapes go to CDs– or even before that. Records, I guess, to cassette tapes, and then CDs. And then we had–
RILEY BASS: Walkman.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Walkman. Yeah. Walkmans. That’s when MTV showed up.
RILEY BASS: Back when they still played music videos.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Back when they still played– and then there was, like, Nirvana, and all this, like, teenage rebellion. But also this idea of being very independent. So when you do end up having Gen Xer as a patient, a lot of times the best way to reach out to them is to really play to that idea of independence and freedom, because Gen Xers are all about freedom and the ability to make their own choices.
And as we had the Baby Boomers, who would go in and listen to you and just take authority for what it is, and also the Traditionalists, and say, OK, whatever you suggest is probably what I should be doing, Gen Xers will come in with a list of all of their options, everything they’ve already researched, and they’ll tell you what they want.
RILEY BASS: Right. They saw the biggest surge in technological advancement during this generation. If you think of when they first started kindergarten, they might have had those giant old computers that could only play like old-school Oregon Trail, and to now, you know, when they’re adults, and we have so much technology in our phones. And they’re very into texts, and gadgets, and having cool stuff, and making their entire house be computerized, is what I think of with this generation, is everything that– they’ve watched this advancement as it went.
It wasn’t something that they just knew. And it wasn’t something that was new to them. They sort of were growing up as technology was growing up as well, so I feel like they were sort of right alongside it.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Right. And they stay ahead, and they pay attention to what’s going on. So the best way to speak with a Gen Xer when it comes time to choose some sort of hearing technology is to give them all of their options, explain to them why you think all the different– what the benefits are of each one, and then let them make that decision versus telling them.
RILEY BASS: Right. This is going to be a big time for those features, especially connectivity and options for different types of lifestyles and stuff. I think this is going to be a really big time. They’re going to be super-stoked if they can wear their hearing technology while they go snowboarding on the weekend, or while they’re at a rock concert they’re going to be able to use this technology for different things that’s not just what you think of when you think of hearing technology.[MUSIC PLAYING]
All right, Samantha. There is one more generation we’re going to talk about today. And I personally think it’s the coolest, but maybe that’s because I am part of it, and I’m fitting the stereotype right now.
SAMANTHA ROSS: You’re so narcissistic right now.
RILEY BASS: That is the Millennials.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Correct. Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000. And depending on where you were born in that time span, you could go anywhere from Myspace or even AOL Instant Messenger. [SOUND EFFECT] A lot of people still remember their screen name. What was yours, Riley?
RILEY BASS: Cheergirl402. I was a cheerleader in middle school, so–
SAMANTHA ROSS: Cheergirl402.
RILEY BASS: Yes. I remember that. What was yours?
SAMANTHA ROSS: Mine was thebestsoylatte. Don’t worry, I was only 12. I wasn’t drinking lattes.
RILEY BASS: You didn’t even know what a soy latte was when you were 12.
SAMANTHA ROSS: I didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t. It wasn’t until years later when I worked at Starbucks, I had a soy latte, and I was like, this is delicious.
RILEY BASS: I nailed it on my AOL name.[LAUGHTER]
SAMANTHA ROSS: Exactly. So you start with those, or recognizing the sound of “you’ve got mail,” and getting really excited, because that meant you had an email. You could be all the way in that beginning generation, or the beginning of the generation, to up to 2000, when you had things like Harry Potter or Snapchat.
RILEY BASS: Snapchat.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Exactly. Some of the latest Millennials started with Snapchat.
RILEY BASS: The Twitter.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Twitter. Exactly. MP3 players, all of these things. So basically all these things we’re talking about are very technologically based.
So we are a generation that are used to instant gratification. We can look anything up on Google at any time and have the answer right in front of us. We’re very aware of what’s going on in the world because we had access to news 24/7 anywhere in the entire nation, or world, or universe. So we are a very inclusive generation, because we’re aware of all these things that are happening with people our age on the other of the world.
But even though we have a lot of amazing qualities, there are some stereotypes that we have gathered along the way. Womp, womp, womp, womp. For example, Riley, do you have one?
RILEY BASS: One of these things is entitlement. We view the world as a network where everyone is connected on the same level, whereas our Baby Boomer bosses, or our Gen X bosses, they might view it more as a hierarchy where you have to earn your way to the top, where we say, why can’t I just go straight to the top?
It’s that– if you ask a Baby Boomer how to jump, they’ll say, how high? And if you ask a Millennial, they’ll say, like, why? Why should I jump? What’s the reason for it?
When we were kids, and you were on a soccer team, everyone got a trophy, even if your team lost every game. It was that inclusion, which is a really great thing because we did learn to include everybody and that everybody is equal and everybody is capable, but it also made us think that just because we’re–
SAMANTHA ROSS: We showed up.
RILEY BASS: — there, that we’re entitled to have the same things as people that have put in their time, have put in their work over the years. And we talked about that a little bit a few weeks ago with the From Student to Professional podcast, is that just because you come in as this brand new doctor, that you are no better, and you have earned no place higher than anyone in the practice.
They can also be perceived as being know-it-alls. We grew up on and around the Google. I seldom remember a time before Google. Well, even before there was Google, there with all the other weird search sites that nobody uses anymore, like Dogpile and AltaVista. I don’t think anybody knows those anymore. In fact, I’m not even sure how I just came up with them off the top of my head.
SAMANTHA ROSS: I was actually– I don’t– I barely remember that.
RILEY BASS: Right. Like nobody’s like, let me AltaVista that.[LAUGHTER]
Nobody would do that. It’s all Google.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Yes. All Google, all the time.
RILEY BASS: All Google, all day. So you know, there’s ever been, like you’ve had a question when you have a conversation with friends, and you’re like, I don’t know who the actor is in that movie. Well, in 10 seconds you can figure out who it is. You don’t even have to type it into your phone anymore. You can just ask Siri and she’ll tell you.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Instant gratification.
RILEY BASS: Right.
SAMANTHA ROSS: We love that.
RILEY BASS: So because of that, we sort of have that know-it-all mentality that we know the answers to everything. And if we don’t know them, we can pretend for 10 seconds while we look it up.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Exactly.
RILEY BASS: Which can sometimes be perceived a little bit negatively as we think we’re better than other people and than other generations because we’re smarter than them. And that’s definitely not the case. We’re just better at using the internet, maybe.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Right. Exactly . So that’s the kind of relationship, whereas you have to be very careful with Boomers that you don’t automatically equate them to your parents, with Gen Xers you have to be careful that you don’t offend them with your epic knowledge of everything.
RILEY BASS: Everything in the whole world.[MUSIC PLAYING]
So we talked about a lot today. But surprisingly, we have barely scratched the surface. We would definitely be more than happy to talk to you anymore, answer questions you have about this. We have a wide variety of knowledge on this topic.
It’s also something you might see at our Teen Summit. If you have not submitted your application, do that, ASAP. If you don’t know how, ask me. As always, I can be found on Twitter, @rileyb659. Samantha, what’s the best way for our students to get in contact with you?
SAMANTHA ROSS: Well, you can find me, of course, through Audigy at my email address. My name is Samantha Ross, as we have established. So my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most exciting thing that we have to talk about, or I will have to talk about with you, is our new course on generational dynamics. It’s a 101 course. It’s four videos that are kind of just the main overview of all the generations that we have out in the world today.
And then we have a 102 course that’s coming very soon that is 15 videos. They’re really exciting. We worked really hard on them. They star a lot of your favorite faces at Audigy Group, and include–
RILEY BASS: Including me.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Including Riley. And they also star our most favorite, Seth Madison, who is the generational dynamics expert that we all go to for anything like this. He will also be at Teen Summit, which is really exciting, and so will I.
Again, get those applications in as soon as possible. Do it. Do it.
RILEY BASS: But seriously, guys, thank you so much for tuning in. As always, you can reach out to us any time you want. If you do want to see those videos, shoot myself or Samantha an email, and we will get those to you as soon as possible. If you have any questions or any topics you’d like us to cover on the podcast, please feel free to reach us at Twitter, @rileyb659 or @b_podcast.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Instagram.
RILEY BASS: Oh, Samantha would like it if you would follow her on Instagram because she doesn’t do the Twitter. Samantha, why don’t you tell them your Instagram handle.
SAMANTHA ROSS: It’s another way to get in touch with me, if you would like to. My Instagram handle, you will be able to find through the Audigy Instagram handle. It’s just easier to go through the Audigy, because mine is hard to–
RILEY BASS: We’ll put a picture of her on the Audigy Instagram–
SAMANTHA ROSS: Prepare yourselves.
RILEY BASS: — and tag her–
SAMANTHA ROSS: Yes.
RILEY BASS: — so that you guys can find her, and you can also link her smiling face to her voice that you’re hearing on the podcast.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Right. Exactly.
RILEY BASS: So this has been the longest wrap-up of all time. We will get out of your hair, guys.
SAMANTHA ROSS: It’s a record.
RILEY BASS: Have a great day. Have a great week. And we will talk to you next week. Bye-bye.
SAMANTHA ROSS: Bye.