More than a sibling rivalry: How Baltimore compares to San Francisco

It’s Super Bowl week once again, with this year’s clash featuring the Harbaugh brothers (John and Jim) leading their respective teams (the Ravens and 49ers) for a shot at football supremacy. The idea of brothers pitting their teams against each other led us to ponder some interesting matchups and differences between the two Super Bowl cities, according to Jordan Bartel of the Baltimore Sun .

Read Jordan’s full and very humorous side-by-side Super Bowl city comparison.


San Francisco


Football coach

John Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh

Someone named Harbaugh


The Charm City

The City by the Bay

San Francisco


Francis Scott Key

Golden Gate

San Francisco



San Francisco


Trademark food


Rice-A-Roni(They say “it’s the San Francisco treat”)


Movie setting



You decide


Using Mosaic® USA, a lifestyle segmentation solution developed by Experian Marketing Services, we’ve taken the comparisons a step further and have devised a statistical methodology to highlight key differences between consumers living in Baltimore and San Francisco. The Mosaic segments provide an inside view of demographic, lifestyle, and other behavioral related characteristics that make consumers from these two cities vastly unique.

Let’s start with Baltimore. Here are five consumer segments that are heavily over-represented among Baltimore households compared to San Francisco. The segment’s share of Baltimore households and an index value comparing the share in Baltimore to the segment’s corresponding share of U.S. households are shown in parentheses. For example, an index of 150 means that the segment’s share of households in Baltimore is 1.5 times greater than its corresponding share of U.S. households.

  1. Aging of Aquarius (4.8% / 185). These are upscale boomer-aged couples living in city and close-in suburbs. They are more likely to attend live theater, belong to art associations (museum, symphony, etc.), read business and finance magazines and play golf.
  2. Aging in Place (4.4% / 173). These are middle-class seniors living solid, suburban lifestyles. They are more likely to belong to AARP, listen to classical music, belong to a country club and take cruise ship vacations.
  3. Boomers and Boomerangs (4.1% / 221). These are comprised of baby boomer adults and their teenage/young adult children sharing suburban homes. They are more likely to belong to the Republican Party, have a graduate degree, have a home equity loan and read USA Today.
  4. Urban Ambition (3.6% / 259). These are young, Generation Y singles living in urban fringe areas. They are more likely to live in a single person household, watch NBA basketball, buy lottery tickets and use public transportation.
  5. Generational Soup (3.3% / 287). These are young affluent couples and multi-generational families living a wide range of lifestyles in suburbia. They are more likely to own a 529 College Savings plan, watch college football, belong to a PTA/parent’s association and listen to jazz music.

Collectively, the above five segments represent slightly more than 20% of Baltimore area households but only 9% in San Francisco.

Now let’s take a look at San Francisco. Here are five additional segments that best differentiate consumers in San Francisco from those in Baltimore.

  1. Silver Sophisticates (8.5% / 823). These are mature, upscale couples and singles in suburban homes. They are more likely to live in a household with a retired adult, watch news and documentary TV shows, visit museums, belong to an environmental organization and play tennis.
  2. Progressive Potpourri (7.0% / 574). These are mature, multi-ethnic couples with comfortable and active lives in middle-class suburbs. They are more likely to be registered as an Independent voter, own a foreign vehicle, go to a comedy club and read science and technology magazines.
  3. Full Pockets, Empty Nests (5.7% / 494). These are empty-nesting, upper middle-class households with discretionary income living sophisticated lifestyles. They are more likely to own a hybrid car, donate to political organizations, have a brokerage account, participate in fitness weight training and watch college basketball.
  4. American Royalty (4.6% / 613). These are wealthy, influential and successful couples and families living in prestigious suburbs. They are more likely to read the Wall Street Journal, attend concerts, participate in downhill skiing, work from home and own a luxury vehicle.
  5. Urban Edge (4.1% / 488). These are younger, up-and-coming singles living big city lifestyles located within top metro markets. They are more likely to visit entertainment/arts websites, use online banking services, listen to R&B music, go mountain biking and have an interest in foreign travel.

Collectively, the above five segments represent about 30% of San Francisco area households but only 5% in Baltimore.

How can some of this knowledge be used from a marketing perspective? Advertisers targeting households from the baby boom generation, including Boomers and Boomerangs and Aging of Aquarius, have much to like about Baltimore. For example, to effectively reach the boomer audience, a media planner within the health care industry might place greater value on the Baltimore market for allocating advertising expenditures.

San Francisco contains an abundance of highly affluent, upwardly mobile households with upscale tastes, including American Royalty and Silver Sophisticates. A luxury retail marketer might be highly motivated to rank San Francisco as the most preferred geographic locale for future market expansion. Dramatic differences in the profiles of this year’s Super Bowl cities help to illustrate the importance of knowing your audience and using appropriate targeting tools to reach and communicate with prospective customers. Most Super Bowl ads are geared towards a far-reaching and undifferentiated audience. The goal is to leave a lasting impression by reaching as many consumers as possible, and as a result, targeting is of minimal concern. But outside of the Super Bowl, today’s most effective marketers understand the economic benefits of precision targeting using highly differentiated market segments.

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