Despite rough economic times and news that the U.S. is officially in a recession, a majority of companies will expand their spending on content marketing in 2009.

That’s based on a research study released today from Junta42.

The study found that 56 percent of companies surveyed intend on increasing spending in the new year, with 31 percent saying they expect spending to "increase significantly."

"More and more marketing professionals now realize that tomorrow’s marketing is all about developing a conversation with customers," said Junta42 founder Joe Pulizzi. "Without valuable, relevant and compelling content, that’s pretty much impossible. The numbers show that."

Only 13 percent of companies said they expect to decrease spending in 2009, with only 4 percent seeing a significant decrease.

This survey backs a number of other studies released over the last month that show online marketing will expand in 2009 in spite of the economic situation.

eMarketer predicted this week that all forms of online marketing except classified and sponsorships will increase next year. Its forecast sees search marketing to grow to $12.3 billion in 2009 – a 14.9 percent increase from 2008’s $10.7 billion.