Striking differences, and one similar dream has created the extraordinary duo that came together only by chance. While complete opposites, with one being a nerd and into anime, and the other being a “pretty boy” and having love for the luxurious; Michigan natives, Eric Thomas (28) and Marcus Burrell (29), formed the unlikely partnership after coming across each other at Black Expo at Cobo Center. In 2015, a mere year ago, Marcus and Eric established Saga, a marketing agency located in Detroit, Michigan. It is not your average agency with the intent of making people purchase things they do not want, but instead with the ambition of telling stories, one in particular being “Detroit 67,” about the Detroit 1967 riot, also known as one of the most violent urban revolts in the 20th century. Effortlessly wanting to understand and change the world, Thomas and Burrell would form a partnership and friendship, allowing them to find the problem and its solution. “We both believe in greatness, we both believe in success, we both believe it doesn’t matter what it takes to get there.”
Inspired by the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, as well as learning from their family members who own businesses, Thomas and Burrell are trying to make a difference in the world. They do this through connecting with clients on an emotional level, using Saga Marketing to tell them why they matter. With four fulltime staff, fluctuating between eight or nine, and in the summer increasing up to fifteen to twenty, Thomas and Burrell have kept themselves busy with multiple projects. With a dramatic telling of the 1967 Detroit riot that took place over five consecutive days, Thomas and Burrell also focused their attention on how Detroit Central Cities transitioned their attention to focus even more on the less fortunate, settling 60 million dollars in housing more of its veterans. Thomas being the story teller, and Burrell being the businessman, these two extraordinary men form quite the marketing agency, unique in every way, allowing them to dream endlessly and do what they love whole-heartedly. With Thomas’s creative talent in telling stories, and Burrell’s strategic talent in keeping the numbers together, they complement each other well, which is one of the main reasons for their profound success.
Thomas previously created ideas for campaigns, and Burrell was a bank manager and financial adviser. While Burrell grew up in Southfield, MI and Thomas the rough city of Detroit, this did not stop them from combining both of their networks and turning them into one sustainable network. With Thomas and his pressing questions of why people hate or enjoy the things they do, and Burrell with his business and money making mindset, both of them had one vision for Saga, and that is coming up with a solution to a problem. It is their odd differences that not only make them a unique duo, but even more so, makes Saga Marketing a unique business, being that it has its own unique approach to solving problems.
Having a combined 30 years of experience in the world of business is a plus; and the pair have already chalked several milestones, but they already wish to see Saga Marketing move to the next level. In just a few years’ time, the goal is to turn Saga Marketing into an organization that carries out experiments assessing peoples’ behavior and monetizing train of thought. “We created a light, and we are growing inside of that light.” Making the transition from their full time jobs, crossing paths by chance, and finding out they share a similar dream despite being opposites, is something many would call quite the journey, Eric Thomas and Marcus Burrell decided that it was time to finally break out of their comfort zones. Refusing to be satisfied with the way things currently are in the world, they took each of their striking differences, and put them together into something that allowed them to find a problem, solve the problem, and thus become young, brave, and influential entrepreneurs.
Interview by JEAN TATUM
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