The Mid-Atlantic Bight off the U.S. East Coast is a dynamic area with a significant coastal population and a heavy concentration of coastal and waterborne activities. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS) was established to coordinate the variety of oceanographic data collectors and information providers in an effort to leverage efforts across the region and enable the efficient development of meaningful information products and decision tools. Although MARACOOS partners have experienced numerous successes over the past 8 years, traditional aspects of the historical development of IOOS continue to challenge MARACOOS' ability to provide meaningful products. The imbalance between the push of the research community and the pull from the user community results in miscommunication and less effective product development. A structured approach is needed to enhance the user community 'pull' and move toward more effective and efficient product development. This structured approach could be realized through a stakeholder engagement infrastructure and process to strengthen user inputs into needs assessments and product design. A formal stakeholder engagement infrastructure will require investments that result in more focused product development and a stronger foundation for investments into new platforms and sensors, modeling, and data management. Ultimately, the result will be better information products that lead to better decisions that help save lives and livelihoods, and maintain the quality of life in the Mid-Atlantic Region.