Do the Ends Justify the Means?

Do the Ends Justify the Means?

Over the last month I have been battling a major ant problem at my apartment in Santa Barbara. Usually the rainy season drives a few of them indoors so at first I wasn’t too worried. After a several days, “a few” turned into hundreds and I knew I needed to take action. Being the environmentally conscious guy I try be, I looked for green products that would treat my ant situation. I tried something called Orange Guard from Whole Foods. While it killed the ants if you sprayed it directly on them, it did nothing to prevent their swarm from returning. In fact, I felt like they were belittling me and my Orange Guard. I could almost hear their tiny ant laughs as they mocked my environmentally friendly, yet useless, deterrent.

After trying several other tactics that failed equally, I knew I needed to give in to the pest control dark side. Yesterday I sprayed my apartment doorways and other entrance crevices with Raid. Sure, I know it’s a nasty mix of chemicals and all sorts of bad stuff, but I didn’t know what else to try. The ants were infesting my pantry, marching in lines all over my kitchen and bathroom floors and even overtook my messenger bag because it had a bag of half-opened M&Ms in it’s pocket. Something had to be done and you know what? It worked. I have been ant-free for the last 24 hours because of the Raid.

This got me thinking about the ends justifying the means. Sure, Raid wasn’t my first, second or even third choice to deal with my univited houseguests, but in the end it’s the only thing that worked. It got me thinking about marketing and applying that same model. Should you try a marketing tactic that you’re not altogether comfortable with if the end result is a success? How far outside the boundary would you step? What implications could it have on overall brand perception?

Affiliate Marketing immediately comes to mind in this case. So many companies made a fortune in the affiliate space selling products and using marketing tactics that were questionable at best. Yet, these companies made millions of dollars. Did the ends justify the means? Did these affiliate networks act in the best interest of their shareholders? Did they do longterm damage? Can it be undone?

Would you use a questionable marketing strategy if you knew it would result in a short-term financial win?  Have you ever been put in a situation to do so? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Tom Arnold

    Hi Scott, I’ve ‘moved over’ to your blogg from having listened to Cliche for several years. I think i will find your articles very interesting. I wondered whether it was possible to have a link or popup over phrases that i (we) may not be familiar with? such as affiliate marketing. Sure i can google it but wondered whether it was something easy to add or explain in your great words.

  • Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your comment. Glad you decided to come over and check out the blog. I will look into a plugin that translates words onsite for you. I imagine others would find it useful as well.

    Take care.