Before the Panda update, you could have built it for do-follow backlinks and collective traffic, which meant more articles, more traffic. Article syndication was never really a good option for various reasons.
And after the Panda update, things have become scary. Check this James Martell article by the way.
Do think before you leap, newbies!
Note: Even the so-called "experts and biggest proponents of article marketing" DON'T do that. You can know that by doing a backlink search of their websites. Once in a while is acceptable. But DON'T let them fool you by saying that article marketing is the REAL DEAL when it isn't!