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Unveiling Freebie Marketing Strategies: IELTS Reading Passage With Questions & Answers

Updated on 09 February, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team


Freebie marketing, a strategy as old as commerce itself, involves offering a complimentary product or service to entice customers and boost sales of a related product. As we delve into this passage, IELTS candidates will gain insights into this prevalent marketing tactic, enhancing their reading skills for the IELTS test.


Freebie marketing, also known as the 'razor and blades' business model, is a common strategic approach that involves offering one item at a low cost or for free in order to increase sales of a complementary item. The term originated from King C. Gillette's innovative business model, where he sold razors at a low price to boost the sales of disposable blades.

This marketing tactic relies on the psychological principle that obtaining something for free can create a sense of obligation in the customer, often leading to further purchases. Additionally, freebies can act as a teaser, giving customers a taste of what they can expect from the company's full range of products or services.

However, companies must tread carefully, as the cost of the giveaways should not overshadow the profit margins from the subsequent sales. Freebie marketing can also lead to customers expecting free goods on a regular basis, potentially devaluing the perceived worth of the products.

In the digital age, freebie marketing has morphed into offering free trials or freemium models, particularly in the software industry. Users can access basic features at no cost, while premium features require payment. This approach not only allows users to engage with the product but also builds a customer base and gathers valuable data for future marketing strategies.


Q1. What does freebie marketing aim to increase?

A. Customer service costs

B. Sales of a complementary item

C. Production expenses

D. The value of free goods

Q2. Which psychological principle does freebie marketing exploit?

A. Reciprocity

B. Scarcity

C. Authority

D. Commitment

Q3. Fill in the blank: Freebie marketing originated from the ‘razor and blades’ business model, where razors were sold at a _____ cost to increase blade sales.

A. minimal

B. significant

C. variable

D. fixed

Q4. True or False: The cost of giveaways in freebie marketing should always be higher than the profits from subsequent sales.

A. True

B. False

Q5. Fill in the blank: In the software industry, freebie marketing often involves free _____ or freemium models.

A. updates

B. trials

C. subscriptions

D. consultations

Q6. What is a potential risk of freebie marketing?

A. Increased brand loyalty

B. Customer expectation of continuous free goods

C. Better product quality

D. More customer reviews

Q7. Fill in the blank: Freebie marketing can potentially devalue the _____ worth of the products.

A. perceived

B. actual

C. intrinsic

D. financial

Q8. True or False: Offering free trials is a new approach that emerged with the advent of digital marketing.

A. True

B. False

Q9. What advantage does the freemium model offer to companies?

A. Decreased customer interaction

B. Immediate profit on basic features

C. Building a customer base

D. Elimination of production costs

Q10. Fill in the blank: Giving away free items can create a sense of _____ in customers, leading to further purchases.

A. confusion

B. obligation

C. dissatisfaction

D. indifference

Answers and Explanations:

A1. B. Sales of a complementary item

Explanation: Freebie marketing is designed to enhance sales of a complementary item by offering another item at a low cost or for free.

A2. A. Reciprocity

Explanation: The principle of reciprocity is at work in freebie marketing, where customers feel a sense of obligation to make a purchase after receiving something for free.

A3. A. minimal

Explanation: The 'razor and blades' model, which is the foundation of freebie marketing, involves selling razors at a minimal cost to boost the sales of the blades.

A4. B. False

Explanation: The cost of giveaways must be carefully balanced against the profits from subsequent sales to ensure the strategy is economically viable.

A5. B. trials

Explanation: In the context of software, freebie marketing typically takes the form of free trials or freemium models, allowing basic use without payment.

A6. B. Customer expectation of continuous free goods

Explanation: One of the risks of freebie marketing is that it can lead to customers expecting to receive free goods regularly, which can be unsustainable for the business.

A7. A. perceived

Explanation: If customers become accustomed to receiving freebies, it can lower the perceived value of the products, as they might start to expect that they shouldn’t have to pay for them.

A8. B. False

Explanation: Free trials are not a new concept with digital marketing but have been a part of freebie marketing strategies for a long time, adapted to the digital format.

A9. C. Building a customer base

Explanation: Freemium models are advantageous for companies as they build a customer base by offering basic services for free while charging for premium features.

A10. B. obligation

Explanation: The concept of obligation comes from the reciprocity principle, where customers may feel the need to reciprocate the gift of a free item with a purchase.

IELTS Reading Tips:

Tip 1: Skim the Passage

Skim the passage to understand the general idea before diving into the questions. This helps in quicker retrieval of information when answering specifics.

Tip 2: Understand the Question Types

Familiarize yourself with different types of IELTS reading questions like multiple-choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blanks to handle them effectively during the test.

Tip 3: Don't Overlook Keywords

Pay attention to keywords in both the questions and the passage, as they are crucial for matching the question intent with the relevant part of the text.

Tip 4: Manage Your Time

Allocate your time wisely, giving yourself a limit for each question so that you have time to review your answers at the end.

Tip 5: Practice Contextual Vocabulary

Build your vocabulary with a focus on understanding words in context, which is vital for answering questions accurately and avoiding traps set by similar words.

By applying these strategies to your IELTS reading test preparation, you can approach the 'Freebie Marketing' topic with confidence. Remember, understanding the concept and the structure of the passage is as important as the detailed information within it.

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upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

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