Defender of the Independent Dealer

There are product launches and then there are the Joe Clayton product launches. For a number of reasons, we’ll take the latter almost any time.

Clayton, the CEO of Dish, has been around awhile, but he still manages to bring a showman’s flair, a youthful spark of excitement and a contagious passion for whatever he’s pitching. The CE industry today needs more that type of marketing, which was on full display at the rollout of the DISHnet broadband service that Clayton recently launched at Cowboy Maloney’s flagship store in Jackson, Miss.

There are a few reasons why Clayton chose Cowboy Mahoney’s for the rollout, which featured a hoard of press, the mayor of Jackson, and a big barbecue for select customers who were entertained by Skylar Laine, a hometown American Idol finalist.

Clayton is old pals with the Maloney brothers and a good portion of the consumers that shop at the retailer’s 12 stores throughout Mississippi live in the type of rural areas that DISHnet targets. But the main reason is that Cowboy Maloney’s represents the strong independent CE and MAJAP retailer that is so vital to the industry. Clayton knows that. By hosting a major launch at Cowboy Maloney’s, as he did when he was heading up DirectTV and Sirius Satellite Radio, he sends a message to the entire industry that validates the importance of the independent retailer.

Despite the tough climate many independents face today, Clayton well understands the staying power they have in the industry and the communities they serve. He knows that for a significant product launch the independent will use its deep ties and connections within the community to bring out the press, the city officials and deep-pocketed clientele needed to spread the word and to ensure the new offering gets a proper introduction. Most independent retailers have built up those ties, bonds and relationships over years and, in some cases, generations. That is something the big boxes can’t do.

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