It appears that tough economic times are causing more marketers to turn to email marketing as a low cost and targeted alternative to reaching customers. In fact, 60 percent of companies say they intend on increasing the number of emails they send to house lists in 2009.

That’s according to a new study from MarketingSherpa which finds that companies are going to find much more competition in their customers’ inbox in the new year.

It also seems that the vast majority of companies which see the value in email marketing plan to continue spending money on it throughout 2009.

The study finds that 75 percent of companies said they "invest a bit more each year" or "invest to stay on top" when it comes to email marketing.

Of the companies who intend to decrease their email marketing spending, the report says they seem to have a misunderstanding of how the technique works – saying it is "cheap and working" or "basically free."

"Nearly half of [the firms decreasing their spending] describe their companies as having attitudes toward email that suggest a limited view on how it works, and why it works," the study reads. "It’s not surprising, then, that these are the same organizations that don’t anticipate a healthy, growing impact from email."

The recently released AWCM Index also found email marketing to be increasing during troubled economic times. According to the index, email marketing grew 43 percent from August to November of 2008.